Wikiality, part 732: The Federalist Society

by Ted Frank on March 5, 2008

There are numerous scholarly books and law review articles on the history of the Federalist Society. The only book or article the Wikipedia article cites in its references section? “101 People Who Are Really Screwing America,” also cited 9 times in the article. Second is the People for the American Way’s hit piece on the organization, cited five times. Also cited: Daily Kos. Welcome to Wikipedia’s NPOV policy, where the N apparently stands for Nader, rather than neutral.


1 Deoxy 03.05.08 at 10:12 am

Shocker. Their version of “neutral” works reasonably well for non-political topics, but in politcs, weeellll….

2 Deoxy 03.05.08 at 10:14 am

Hmm, you might just have caught it at a bad moment (when it had been vandalized, perhaps) – it seems much better now.

3 Mao Enn 03.05.08 at 10:28 am

This has already been noted by the wikipedia community and is under review – you could contribute yourself to improve the quality :-)

4 Ted 03.05.08 at 10:38 am

Deoxy: not sure what you’re seeing. The page hasn’t been edited since I’ve linked to it, and still cites Huberman, PFAW, and Daily Kos.

Mao: perhaps you could contribute to improve the quality. Wikipedia’s conflict of interest rules are interpreted to permit members of left-wing organizations to edit articles about their subjects of study, but not members of conservative thinktanks, which means that there would be a thunderstorm if I tried to fix the errors on the page, as there was the last time I tried to fix errors on the page.

5 Jim Collins 03.05.08 at 12:18 pm

As far as the Left is concerned there are no errors on that page. If you correct it, you violate their rules by posting the truth.

6 Matt 03.05.08 at 12:49 pm

Complaining about what is on Wikipedia is silly. If you don’t like it, YOU can change it.

7 Todd Rogers 03.05.08 at 12:59 pm

I kind of like Wikipedia. But, as you previously noted, it rewards persistence over accuracy.

The liberal disinformationists are nothing more than vandals within the marketplace of ideas.

I’ll put another check in my box of reasons to not trust those on the left. It’s not that I disagree with their positions. It’s the ecumenical-dogmatic attitude that I loathe.

8 hossfrau 03.05.08 at 2:31 pm

In all fairness to Wikipedia, it has been my experience that as long as something is footnoted, it usually stays in. Perhaps a solution here would be to provide footnoted counterpoints. Persistence might be annoying to those trying to engage in a less hyperbolic debate, but it isn’t the only thing that counts in articles, and it does cede to references.

9 Matt 03.05.08 at 2:36 pm

For a long time, I have wondered why tort reform cannot be a topic on which the left and right can cooperate. In Washington, it probably has alot to do with ATLA money. The tone of these comments tells me alot about the lack of cooperation outside of Washington.

10 Ted 03.05.08 at 3:23 pm

hossfrau, in my Wikipedia experience, things that are footnoted to conservative sources are regularly removed, as well as items that praise conservatives. Witness the Walter Olson page, where links to Overlawyered were removed (though pages about left-wing bloggers have their blogs linked) and praise from the Washington Post was deleted without explanation.

Which is why, Matt 12:49, I can not hope to correct the errors on the page. There are several Wikipedia editors who have taken it upon themselves to undo every edit I make, simply because I made it. All I can do is laugh at the errors, like the one that had me writing a law review article several years before I was born, or the one that said I was currently married. Until Wikipedia treats editors with viewpoints outside the far left fairly, it’s going to continue to have bias problems.

11 Chris 03.05.08 at 6:17 pm

Wikipedia is only as good as the people who edit it. If right-minded folks don’t edit misinformation, then don’t expect it to dissapear on its own.

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