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Fox News, New York Times Vandalizing Rivals’ Wikipedia Entries?

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Were staffers at Fox News and the New York Times engaged in Wikipedia vandalism on the job? It sure looks like it.

A writer for tech publishers O’Reilly Media traced changes to Al Franken‘s Wikipedia entry to a Fox News IP address. Then bloggers Geeks Are Sexy compiled a list of Fox News’ extensive Wikipedia edits—which, among other things, de-loofahed Bill O’ Reilly, posted false information about the ratings of Fox News shows, accused Keith Olbermann of making light of Peter Jennings‘ death and deleted rating info for MSNBC programs.

Now, over to the New York Times. Right-wing blog Little Green Footballs found that someone from within the New York Times edited George W. Bush‘s entry to call him a jerk. Classy. But, more interestingly, employees of the Times are apparently editing the Wall Street Journal‘s Wikipedia entry. Hmm…

After the jump, a rundown of Wikipedia changes by the Times and Fox News.

— Neal Ungerleider


New York Times

Entry on the Wall Street Journal:

Old: “The position of the editorial opinion and op-ed sections is typically [[conservative]], although former news editor [[Al Hunt]] has a weekly column in which he expresses views opposed to those of the editorial board, and space will be given on occasion to pieces by [[liberal]] writers such as [[Arthur Schlesinger]] or [[Christopher Hitchens]]. The editorial page commonly publishes pieces by prominent U.S. and world leaders such as [[Russia]]n president [[Vladimir Putin]], U.S. [[Supreme Court]] Justice [[Antonin Scalia]], and [[U.S. Senator]] [[John Kerry]]. The ”Journal” won its first two Pulitzer Prizes for its editorial writing, in [[1947]] and [[1953]]. The ”Journal” describes the history of its editorials thus:”

New: “The position of the editorial opinion and op-ed sections is typically [[conservative]]. The editorial page commonly publishes pieces by U.S. and world leaders in government, politics and business. The ”Journal” won its first two Pulitzer Prizes for its editorial writing, in [[1947]] and [[1953]]. The ”Journal” describes the history of its editorials thus:”

Entry on Tom DeLay:

Old: “A prominent member of the [[Republican Party (United States)|Republican Party]].”

New: “A Grand Dragon of the [[Republican Party (United States)|Republican Party]].”

Fox News

Entry on Keith Olbermann:

Removed: “… mocking O’Reilly’s purported fetish for loofah sponges, as alleged in a sexual harrassment suit against O’Reilly.”

Removed: “According to Dash Riprock of americanpolitics.com, Olbermann “tells the truth, and he does it in a sharp, subtlety stated, but unmistakable style. It’s sad to realize that it is truly such an oddity these days to see someone with those qualities on TV.” [http://www.americanpolitics.com/20030401punditpap.html]

Old: “On Monday, August 8, 2005, the day following [[Peter Jennings]]’s death from lung cancer, Olbermann revealed on-air that he had had a benign, fibrous tumor removed from the roof of his mouth just ten days earlier. In an explicit and controversial monologue, he attributed his tumor (and the resulting fear and pain) directly to his 27-year habit of smoking pipes and cigars. He vigorously urged his viewers not to wait until they see symptoms to quit. “Do whatever you have to do to stop smoking – now. While it’s easier.”

New: “On Monday, August 8, 2005, the day following [[Peter Jennings]]’s death from lung cancer, Olbermann revealed on-air that he had had a benign, fibrous tumor removed from the roof of his mouth just ten days earlier. In an explicit and controversial monologue, he attributed his tumor (and the resulting fear and pain) directly to his 27-year habit of smoking pipes and cigars. He was taken to task inthe blogosphere for trying to make the story about himself the day after news veteran Peter Jennigs passed away from lung cancer.”

Entry on Brit Hume:

Old: “[MSNBC]] commentator Keith Olbermann claimed that Hume and FOX News committed “premeditated, historical fraud” in distorting FDR [http://mediamatters.org/items/200502150008]; on Olberman’s show, James Roosevelt, Jr., said that Hume’s “outrageous distortion” of FDR “calls for a retraction, an apology, maybe even a resignation” [http://mediamatters.org/items/200502160003].”

New: “[MSNBC]] commentator Keith Olbermann claimed that Hume and FOX News committed “premeditated, historical fraud” in distorting FDR [http://mediamatters.org/items/200502150008] on Olberman’s low-rated cable television program.”

Old: “Many groups and commentators, including [[Media Matters for America]], and liberal broadcasters [[Al Franken]], and [[Keith Olbermann]], have claimed that Hume distorted Roosevelt’s views.”

New: “Many groups and commentators, including [[Media Matters for America]], and liberal broadcasters [[Al Franken]], and [[Keith Olbermann]], have claimed that Hume distorted Roosevelt’s views in an attempt to ride Mr. Hume’s coat tails in the ratings race as Mr. Hume hosts the highest rated political program on cable television.”

Entry on Shepard Smith:

Removed: “Smith was arrested in Florida in [[November]] [[2000]] for aggravated battery with a motor vehicle. The apparent victim was another reporter. Both Smith and the other reporter were in Florida covering the [[U.S. presidential election, 2000#Florida_election_results|Florida election crisis]] during the [[U.S. presidential election, 2000|2000 United States presidential election]].”

Removed: “In [[2002]], Smith accidentally used the slang sex term [[blow job]] during a broadcast of his nightly [[FOX Report]], causing himself considerable embarrassment. He’d reportedly meant to refer to pop star [[Jennifer Lopez]]’s neighbors as “more likely to give her a [[curbing|curb job]] than a [[block party]],” but misspoke during the last part. Smith immediately apologized to his viewers, and FOX executives indicated their belief that it was an innocent mistake.”

Entry on Al Franken:

Old: “The lawsuit focused a great deal of media attention upon Franken’s book and greatly enhanced its sales. Reflecting later on the lawsuit during an interview on the [[National Public Radio]] program “[[Fresh Air]]” on [[September 3]], [[2003]], Franken said that Fox’s case against him was “literally laughed out of court” and that “wholly (holy) without merit” is a good characterization of Fox News itself.”

New: “The lawsuit focused a great deal of media attention upon Franken’s book and greatly enhanced its sales. Reflecting later on the lawsuit during an interview on the liberal [[National Public Radio]] program “[[Fresh Air]]” on [[September 3]], [[2003]], Franken said that Fox’s case against him was the best thing to happen to his book sales.”

Entry on Greta Van Susteren:

Removed: “There was speculation that Van Susteren only got the facelift at Fox News’s urging, often with the implication that the cable network that some satirists call “Foxy News” required attractive female anchors. Van Susteren dismissed these criticisms, saying that she did it for her own self-esteem; she was paraphrased as saying that she couldn’t wait to show everyone her new look at her thirtieth high school reunion.”

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