Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Founts of Misinformation

Well, fans (all five of you), here I am again--having taken off time for bad behavior. I have decided to return to my outrageous haunts: mini-essays either irrelevant or irreverant, sometimes both. I am, as always, a poet, so concision and compression are my fortes. I propose to stick a few barbs into a sacred cow or two, from my aging, hidebound, reactionary point of view. The old bull(shitter) fixes his nearsighted eyes on a sacred cow, paws the ground, and lumbers into action.

I wish to gore thatInternet ox of information, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, with a few stabs at and other arbiters of correctness. I will be the first to admit to consulting Wikipedia (or, as I sometimes call it, Wickedpedia), and I do so fairly frequently. On simple matters of fact, I have found it to be both concise and accurate. I have no quarrel with most entries I have read. Wikipedia claims that almost anyone can post and edit its contents. It was created by a small group, however, and continues to be governed from behind the public purview. Reader participation is invited; given the scope of information covered, it is necessary. Thus the revolutionary nature of the work. What bothers me, from my perspective of general conservatism and evangelical Christianity, is its growing bias in favor of a liberal, humanist worldview.

I am not going to cite examples of what I consider to be bias or misinformation. That's not my point. I feel there is is a filter in place that slants what we read on Wikipedia in a particular direction. There have been instances of the deletion of all or part of certain "controversial" articles, and these are often ones written from a conservative direction. As I said above, I appreciate the breadth and scope of Wikipedia and frequently use it, but I don't trust it very far. Editors can and do remain anonymous. Some have gone through the site and scrubbed references to certain topics. For instance, one altered many posts regarding Islam, changing things he perceived as antagonistic. Pseudonymity can enable vandalism as well as courage.

Your picador is now going to brandish a sword or two at and , two sites that claim to be reliable, if not final, sources of information. The first is run by a husband and wife who are admittedly liberal supporters of President Obama; the second is run by the Annenberg Foundation. At the instigation of terrorist/scholar Bill Ayers, this foundation was instrumental in backing Obama's rise to power. Now, if you are a left-wing "Democrat", this is all well and good. If, however, you are conservative, this makes some things learned from these two sites suspect.

Dear readers, I take anything these three sites put out with a heap of seasalt. The primary goal of education should be the ability to think for oneself. Facts are good, especially if proven to be true. Propaganda and indoctrination are not, no matter which direction one is pointed in. Read a book!

No comments: