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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default Journalists are stupid

    http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/200905...kipedia_hoaxer

    DUBLIN - When Dublin university student Shane Fitzgerald posted a poetic but phony quote on Wikipedia, he said he was testing how our globalized, increasingly Internet-dependent media was upholding accuracy and accountability in an age of instant news.

    His report card: Wikipedia passed. Journalism flunked.

    The sociology major's made-up quote which he added to the Wikipedia page of Maurice Jarre hours after the French composer's death March 28 flew straight on to dozens of U.S. blogs and newspaper Web sites in Britain, Australia and India.

    They used the fabricated material, Fitzgerald said, even though administrators at the free online encyclopedia quickly caught the quote's lack of attribution and removed it, but not quickly enough to keep some journalists from cutting and pasting it first.

    A full month went by and nobody noticed the editorial fraud. So Fitzgerald told several media outlets in an e-mail and the corrections began.

    "I was really shocked at the results from the experiment," Fitzgerald, 22, said Monday in an interview a week after one newspaper at fault, The Guardian of Britain, became the first to admit its obituarist lifted material straight from Wikipedia.

    "I am 100 percent convinced that if I hadn't come forward, that quote would have gone down in history as something Maurice Jarre said, instead of something I made up," he said. "It would have become another example where, once anything is printed enough times in the media without challenge, it becomes fact."

    So far, The Guardian is the only publication to make a public mea culpa, while others have eliminated or amended their online obituaries without any reference to the original version or in a few cases, still are citing Fitzgerald's florid prose weeks after he pointed out its true origin.

    "One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack," Fitzgerald's fake Jarre quote read. "Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head that only I can hear."

    Fitzgerald said one of his University College Dublin classes was exploring how quickly information was transmitted around the globe. His private concern was that, under pressure to produce news instantly, media outlets were increasingly relying on Internet sources none more ubiquitous than the publicly edited Wikipedia.

    When he saw British 24-hour news channels reporting the death of the triple Oscar-winning composer, Fitzgerald sensed what he called "a golden opportunity" for an experiment on media use of Wikipedia.

    He said it took him less than 15 minutes to fabricate and place a quote calculated to appeal to obituary writers without distorting Jarre's actual life experiences.

    If anything, Fitzgerald said, he expected newspapers to avoid his quote because it had no link to a source and even might trigger alarms as "too good to be true." But many blogs and several newspapers used the quotes at the start or finish of their obituaries.

    Wikipedia spokesman Jay Walsh said he appreciated the Dublin student's point, and said he agreed it was "distressing so see how quickly journalists would descend on that information without double-checking it."

    "We always tell people: If you see that quote on Wikipedia, find it somewhere else too. He's identified a flaw," Walsh said in a telephone interview from Wikipedia's San Francisco base.

    But Walsh said there were more responsible ways to measure journalists' use of Wikipedia than through well-timed sabotage of one of the site's 12 million listings. "Our network of volunteer editors do thankless work trying to provide the highest-quality information. They will be rightly perturbed and irritated about this," he said.

    Fitzgerald stressed that Wikipedia's system requiring about 1,500 volunteer "administrators" and the wider public to spot bogus additions did its job, removing the quote three times within minutes or hours. It was journalists eager for a quick, pithy quote that was the problem.

    He said the Guardian was the only publication to respond to him in detail and with remorse at its own editorial failing. Others, he said, treated him as a vandal.

    "The moral of this story is not that journalists should avoid Wikipedia, but that they shouldn't use information they find there if it can't be traced back to a reliable primary source," said the readers' editor at the Guardian, Siobhain Butterworth, in the May 4 column that revealed Fitzgerald as the quote author.

    Walsh said this was the first time to his knowledge that an academic researcher had placed false information on a Wikipedia listing specifically to test how the media would handle it.
    Stay out of it, dude.


    I am Van Halen.

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    I would not say that journalists by and large are stupid. If anything, in this day and age they are lazy. Stories today are rarely fact-checked, yet considering they are rarely even spell checked anymore, this should not come as a surprise. The truth is, newspapers are dying, as people apparently have been sold upon the idea of expedience over quality. So where are the qualified journalists going to go, when they can be replaced by dimwits with access to the internet?

    Since no one appears to be paying much attention to anyway, allow me to introduce the near future "Mr. and Mrs. Well-Informed Citizen"...

    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  3. #3
    Good Enough wham bam will rock's Avatar
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    Very well said, Chef.

    Speaking of Mr. Judge, if you haven't, check out his movie 'Idiocracy' and witness the future of our society.
    "Never is just reven spelled backwards." -House

    "Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?" -THE Rob Gordon

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wham bam will rock View Post
    Speaking of Mr. Judge, if you haven't, check out his movie 'Idiocracy' and witness the future of our society.
    I had scenes from that film running in my head as I typed the post!
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    I love that movie.
    Stay out of it, dude.


    I am Van Halen.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk
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    05.31.14 @ 08:17 PM
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    Since I've been back in college, every class has a "No Wikipedia" rule for term papers.

    Why anybody uses it as even a secondary source is beyond me.
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
    Since I've been back in college, every class has a "No Wikipedia" rule for term papers.

    Why anybody uses it as even a secondary source is beyond me.
    I pull it up all the time if I want quick facts on something or if I want a quick general understanding of something or who someone is. There's better information on there than it gets credit for having. Would I use it on a term paper? Hell no...but it is a great example of both the continuing dumbing down of society as well as the ability the establishment has to control information for nefarious reasons. It really is as simple as editing the wikipedia pages. It's so much easier than Orwell ever imagined to control the past and to control people's understanding of events...or to even erase events.
    Stay out of it, dude.


    I am Van Halen.

  8. #8
    Sinner's Swing! graeme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken9500 View Post
    I pull it up all the time if I want quick facts on something or if I want a quick general understanding of something or who someone is. There's better information on there than it gets credit for having. Would I use it on a term paper? Hell no...but it is a great example of both the continuing dumbing down of society as well as the ability the establishment has to control information for nefarious reasons. It really is as simple as editing the wikipedia pages. It's so much easier than Orwell ever imagined to control the past and to control people's understanding of events...or to even erase events.
    Your point about Orwell's prophecy is just about bang on. We always thought that "THEY" would do it to us, but if you go back to the book and then look at what is really happening, it's pretty obvious that THEY didn't need to do too much. In fiction, as in life, we have allowed ourselves to be our own worst enemies, through laziness and expectation of a certain type of life.

    We are now getting everything we deserve.

    I've always said it: It begins with education. And self-education.

    I've always hated that phrase that runs basically along the lines of "My grandfather fought for my country so that I could live the way I do today", usually accompanied by a house and car on unpayable credit, a 7000inch plasma idiot-maker and a perfectly manicured set of fingernails holding some dumb-juice as we applaud our marginally elected leaders taking away every one of our freedoms bit by bit, probably laughing as they go saying : "No way. It can't be this easy. Surely?"

    I say bollocks.

    Most grandparents would look at their offspring and shake their heads ruefully and mutter something in their graves along the lines of :

    "You just don't get it, you lazy, ignorant fuckhole. Why did I bother?"
    A man could lose himself in a country like this.

    My blog at http://tollins.blogspot.de/

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by graeme View Post
    Your point about Orwell's prophecy is just about bang on. We always thought that "THEY" would do it to us, but if you go back to the book and then look at what is really happening, it's pretty obvious that THEY didn't need to do too much. In fiction, as in life, we have allowed ourselves to be our own worst enemies, through laziness and expectation of a certain type of life.

    We are now getting everything we deserve.

    I've always said it: It begins with education. And self-education.

    I've always hated that phrase that runs basically along the lines of "My grandfather fought for my country so that I could live the way I do today", usually accompanied by a house and car on unpayable credit, a 7000inch plasma idiot-maker and a perfectly manicured set of fingernails holding some dumb-juice as we applaud our marginally elected leaders taking away every one of our freedoms bit by bit, probably laughing as they go saying : "No way. It can't be this easy. Surely?"

    I say bollocks.

    Most grandparents would look at their offspring and shake their heads ruefully and mutter something in their graves along the lines of :

    "You just don't get it, you lazy, ignorant fuckhole. Why did I bother?"
    yep. You and me brother...let us lead the revolution...or just go get a beer.

    There's that great line in The Beatles Hard Days Night where the old man tells them "I fought the war for your sort!" And John yells back "I bet you're sorry you won!!"
    Stay out of it, dude.


    I am Van Halen.

  10. #10
    Outta Space Cowboy Scotty's Avatar
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    As a professional journalist myself, this story is more than disheartening.

  11. #11
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    While we are on the subject, I'll throw in this column from my favorite sports reporter:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9...s-journalists-


    We must acknowledge that we're part of the story, reinvent our rule book and turn our reporting, analyzing and investigative spotlights on each other. We need to be held accountable. We're no more virtuous than Bernie Madoff or Rod Blagojevich. Every day we pretend that we are, we throw away additional prestige and integrity.

    Because of columns like the ones I wrote this week about A-Rod hunter Selena Roberts, I'm not all that popular with my sports media brethren. I'm a traitor.

    The truth is I've been one from the moment I entered the profession in 1990. As a kid, I grew up reading the Indianapolis Star and was highly suspicious of the motives of the writers covering my favorite team, the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers stunk, but the coaches and executives responsible for ruining the team were never asked the hard questions I wanted answered.

    When I decided to become a journalist, I carried with me the baggage of reading the Indianapolis Star for more than a decade. I didn't trust the motives of sports writers. So as early as 1993 or 1994, I started criticizing sports writers in my column. As best I can remember, Mitch Albom and his book about the Fab Five were my first targets. At the time, I worked in Ann Arbor and covered the Fab Five. Albom's book about the team read like good fiction to me, and I basically said as much in print.
    ...Anyway, since then, I've publicly expressed my professional differences with many of America's shortest sports writers Mike Lupica, Scoop Jackson and the industry's most disingenuous, Jay Mariotti. When I believe the media have been duped, I write that it's a shame many Detroit writers were used by Pistons president Tom Wilson to run Larry Brown out of town in favor of Flop Saunders or that it's disappointing to see the national media co-sign for Charlie Weis' premature contract extension when the Great Weis Hope had clearly done far less in his first 10 games than Tyrone Willingham.

    My jabs are never personal. As little respect as I have for Lupica, the Barry Bonds of sports writing, I've never shared all that I know about his despicable treatment of the support people he sees as easy-to-replace underlings.
    ...Some of my critics are troubled by my focus on ESPN. They wrongly believe I'm hostile toward ESPN because I split with/was fired by the network. I chose to liberate my mouth from ESPN because the network's business relationships with all of the major sports leagues stand in the way of free, creative speech. I'm occasionally hostile toward ESPN because it's an arrogant, reckless, destructive monopoly, and I still enjoy being a journalist from time to time. American journalists, last I checked, should be occasionally offended by arrogant, reckless, destructive monopolies. They're generally seen as threats to democracy and our way of life.

    No one can deny that ESPN is the most powerful institution in the sports world.

    It is more powerful than the NFL, Major League Baseball or the NBA. The network decides who is and isn't a star, what stories receive attention and which stories are ignored. The Worldwide Leader decides when games will be played.

    Some journalists foolishly believe it was a big deal that Paul Tagliabue got ESPN to cancel "Playmakers" or that David Stern pushed Stephen A. Smith off "NBA Shootaround." Those are small, public skirmishes that ESPN loses almost intentionally so that no one recognizes its overall dictatorship.

    And dictatorship is the proper description. Despite its obvious power, the mainstream media virtually ignores ESPN. We leave the coverage of the most powerful institution in sports to basement bloggers and a handful of harmless, press-release-rewriting embedded sports writers.
    ...The money that has flooded the sports world has seeped over into sports journalism. A-Rod's celebrity and enormous contract mean there's a major payday for the writer who uncovers the most dirt on the star. If she plays it right, Selena Roberts might get a TV show out of her gossipy book. To insist her motives in hunting Rodriquez are purely journalistic is to insist that you know nothing about human nature.

    My motives are not always pure. I need to be scrutinized and questioned. The personal nature of my column is my attempt to expose my motives and agenda so that you can judge how seriously to take my opinions. I'm friends with Jeff George. I respect and love his family. That (and sarcasm) is at the foundation of my undying support of his football career.

    If you read my column regularly, you realize I have far worse warts. I used to smoke pot. I listen to some of the same gangsta rap music that I criticize (not nearly as much as I used to). I'm not opposed to making it sprinkle at a strip club. I like to gamble in Vegas. My sense of humor is X-rated.
    One of the best things that I have read about journalism in a while. I wonder how much of this goes on in the rest of the news mediums?
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  12. #12
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Axx. Sucka and I have been singing the guy's praises for several years now, particularly after he held his own on an episode of ESPN's Sports Reporters, where he pretty much told Mike Lupica to shove his baloney up his ass. It was a terrific thing to witness, even though it lead to Whitlock being pressured to resign by ESPN.
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  13. #13
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    Axx. Sucka particularly after he held his own on an episode of ESPN's Sports Reporters, where he pretty much told Mike Lupica to shove his baloney up his ass.
    Mike Lupica........................MikeL??? Ummmmm................

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  14. #14
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wham bam will rock View Post

    Speaking of Mr. Judge, if you haven't, check out his movie 'Idiocracy' and witness the future of our society.

    The future is now, is it not?

    HH<---Great flick, and I see things happening around us RIGHT NOW------
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  15. #15
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graeme View Post
    Your point about Orwell's prophecy is just about bang on. We always thought that "THEY" would do it to us, but if you go back to the book and then look at what is really happening, it's pretty obvious that THEY didn't need to do too much. In fiction, as in life, we have allowed ourselves to be our own worst enemies, through laziness and expectation of a certain type of life.

    We are now getting everything we deserve.

    I've always said it: It begins with education. And self-education.

    I've always hated that phrase that runs basically along the lines of "My grandfather fought for my country so that I could live the way I do today", usually accompanied by a house and car on unpayable credit, a 7000inch plasma idiot-maker and a perfectly manicured set of fingernails holding some dumb-juice as we applaud our marginally elected leaders taking away every one of our freedoms bit by bit, probably laughing as they go saying : "No way. It can't be this easy. Surely?"

    I say bollocks.

    Most grandparents would look at their offspring and shake their heads ruefully and mutter something in their graves along the lines of :

    "You just don't get it, you lazy, ignorant fuckhole. Why did I bother?"
    Well said, Graeme.

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