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March 11, 2009


Manufacturing your bogus Wikipedia story on Wikipedia

Obama and Aaron Klein

Here's a beautiful example of the conservative media's protracted freakout over Obama: Aaron Klein, a writer for WorldNetDaily, wrote a story about Obama's Wikipedia page and how it lacks some of the controversial elements of his political career. Things like whether he was actually born in America or not, which as far as I can tell is not actually controversial except among people who also believe that Obama is secretly Muslim.

So Fox News picked up the story, noting Klein's discovery that a Wikipedia user called Jerusalem21 had been banned from Wikipedia after changing the Obama entry to reflect this supposed doubt over his birthplace.

From Wired's story about who this Jerusalem21 might be:

Of more interest is the identity of the mysterious Jerusalem21, whose courageous disregard of Wikipedia's ban on fringe material provided WND's Aaron Klein with his smoking gun in the first place, spawning what will soon be a national wiki-scandal.

Curiously, it turns out that Jerusalem21, whoever he or she might be, has only worked on one other Wikipedia entry since the account was created, notes ConWebWatch. That's Aaron Klein's entry, which Jerusalem21 created in 2006, and has edited 37 times.

Eventually Aaron Klein admitted that Jerusalem21 is his research assistant. Klein works in the Jerusalem bureau of WorldDailyNet, and I guess his assistant likes blackjack.

Wired also looked back at other edits to Obama's Wikipedia page, and one bit about his (minimal) association with William Ayers that got edited out was also originally submitted by Jerusalem21. When Wired asked Klein why he didn't disclose in his article that he was the one generating the Wikipedia edits that were the subject of his story, he said, "It just slipped my mind."

The discussion page on Wikipedia's entry on Aaron Klein, master of media manipulation, is a great read. On it, we find that 30 single-purpose accounts have been used to edit his entry, some "very obviously" used by Klein, his boss, and other people at WND. The entry at various times has exaggerated the importance of Klein's reporting on the 2008 election, and included details about his history of alleged plagiarism.

categories: Media, Politics
posted by amy at 5:11 PM | #

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"While I don't have any doubt over President Obama's legitimacy as American citizen and President, I find comparisons of it to other fringe conspiracy theories irritating. Another commenter compared it to young Earth Creationism or moon landing hoax theory -- but both the main Wikipedia entry for Earth and the main entry for the moon landing make mention of conspiracy theories -- an entire section is devoted in the latter.

So, too, has this controversy been compared to the conspiracy theories involving John F. Kennedy and the September 11 attacks, yet, likewise, both main entries (including, oddly of course, JFK's main article itself) include at least a mention of fringe theories, if not an entire section, and without controversy.

I understand that paradigmatic thinking affects the greater community perhaps more than the expert herself, but I wish we'd please just stop perpetuating this idea that conventional knowledge is without a doubt the final word on the matter, so much so that all other dissent be thrown out. (The comparison is unfair I know, but) else we forget the two millennia that educated persons took for granted the geocentric model of the universe, or the hundreds of years (and to this day) that slavery was a socially acceptable practice in terms of conventional thinking."

Posted by: J at March 17, 2009 3:59 PM

This is an old article but you have no idea who Aaron Klein is. He's a conservative in sheep's clothing. A friend of mine found out the hard way. He has more skeleton's in his closest then a New york cemetery. You can read it at my web site under 'Aaron Klein's Pandora Box.' You'll love the fact that this guy is a conservative. But Don't expect to see this article on Fox News any time soon.

Posted by: David Whittaker at October 2, 2009 12:28 PM

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