About Wikipedia’s handling of controversial topics…like climate science
Summary: This is a hat trick. About effective propaganda. And climate science. And more evidence that Wikipedia cannot be relied upon as an information source regarding controversial matters — or any work of importance. (It’s always useful as a first place to look and source of links.)
- “Wikipedia Is A Stunning Example Of How The Propaganda Machine Works“, Lawrence Solomon, National Review (reposted by CBS), 8 July 2008
- “Wikipedia’s climate doctor“, Lawrence Solomon, National Post, 19 December 2009 – “How Wikipedia’s green doctor rewrote 5,428 climate articles.”
Update: an email reply by Wikipedia Editor Pierre Grés to Dennis Kuzara’s complaint about bias of Wikipedia Administrator William Connolley, posted at Watts Up With That, 19 December 2009 (see the actual Wikipedia file on this here):
“In September 2009, the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee revoked Mr. Connolley’s administrator status after finding that he misused his administrative privileges while involved in a dispute unrelated to climate warming.”
We’ll learn much about Wikipedia’s honesty by what happens now to the dozens of articles seriously distorted or outright suppressed by Connolley. Is this a structural problem with Wikipedia, or just a bad apple in the barrel?
(1) “Wikipedia Is A Stunning Example Of How The Propaganda Machine Works“, Lawrence Solomon, National Review, 8 July 2008
Ever wonder how Al Gore, the United Nations, and company continue to get away with their claim of a “scientific consensus” confirming their doomsday view of global warming? Look no farther than Wikipedia for a stunning example of how the global-warming propaganda machine works.
As you (or your kids) probably know, Wikipedia is now the most widely used and influential reference source on the Internet and therefore in the world, with more than 50 million unique visitors a month. In theory Wikipedia is a “people’s encyclopedia” written and edited by the people who read it – anyone with an Internet connection. So on controversial topics, one might expect to see a broad range of opinion.
Not on global warming. On global warming we get consensus, Gore-style: a consensus forged by censorship, intimidation, and deceit.
… Turns out that on Wikipedia some folks are more equal than others. Kim Dabelstein Petersen is a Wikipedia “editor” who seems to devote a large part of his life to editing reams and reams of Wikipedia pages to pump the assertions of global-warming alarmists and deprecate or make disappear the arguments of skeptics.
I soon found others who had the same experience: They would try to squeeze in any dissent, or even correct an obvious slander against a dissenter, and Petersen or some other censor would immediately snuff them out.
Now Petersen is merely a Wikipedia “editor.” Holding the far more prestigious and powerful position of “administrator” is William Connolley. Connolley is a software engineer and sometime climatologist (he used to hold a job in the British Antarctic Survey), as well as a serial (but so far unsuccessful) office seeker for England’s Green party.
And yet by virtue of his power at Wikipedia, Connolley, a ruthless enforcer of the doomsday consensus, may be the world’s most influential person in the global warming debate after Al Gore. Connolley routinely uses his editorial clout to tear down scientists of great accomplishment such as Fred Singer, the first director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service and a scientist with dazzling achievements. Under Connolley’s supervision, Wikipedia relentlessly smears Singer as a kook who believes in Martians and a hack in the pay of the oil industry.
Wikipedia is full of rules that editors are supposed to follow, and it has a code of civility. Those rules and codes don’t apply to Connolley, or to those he favors.
… Trumping Wikipedia’s stated rules, Connelly used his authority to ensure Wikipedia readers saw only what he wanted them to see. Any reference, anywhere among Wikipedia’s 2.5 million English-language pages, that casts doubt on the consequences of climate change will be bent to Connolley’s bidding.
(2) “Wikipedia’s climate doctor“, Lawrence Solomon, National Post, 19 December 2009 – “How Wikipedia’s green doctor rewrote 5,428 climate articles.” Excerpt:
The Climategate Emails describe how a small band of climatologists cooked the books to make the last century seem dangerously warm. The emails also describe how the band plotted to rewrite history as well as science, particularly by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period, a 400 year period that began around 1000 AD.
The Climategate Emails reveal something else, too: the enlistment of the most widely read source of information in the world — Wikipedia — in the wholesale rewriting of this history.
… Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.
All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.
The Medieval Warm Period disappeared, as did criticism of the global warming orthodoxy. With the release of the Climategate Emails, the disappearing trick has been exposed. The glorious Medieval Warm Period will remain in the history books, perhaps with an asterisk to describe how a band of zealots once tried to make it disappear.
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