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Writing on the PBS.org site, MediaShift columnist Mark Glaser writes:
Conservative blogger Robert Cox, who writes the National Debate blog, told me he was amazed at the quality of Wikipedia and thought it was a great resource. But there was something about the free online community-generated encyclopedia that was getting under his skin - what Cox believed was a liberal bias in many hot-button topic entries, despite Wikipedia's principle of giving a neutral point of view (NPOV).
Cox felt there was a liberal tilt to the entry on George W. Bush, Bill Clinton , and the partial-birth abortion entry, to name a few. Plus, at one point, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales invoked the dreaded WP:OFFICE command - basically a unilateral edit done only by Wales - to tone down a scathing liberal point-of-view entry on the conservative site NewsMax.com .
So I thought it might be a good idea to have a three-way email discussion between Cox (pictured at left) and Wikipedia founder Wales (pictured above) to find out what the project's effervescent leader thought about political bias and how Wikipedia deals with it.
The discussion quickly turns to my experience with the Keith Olbermann entry and gets a bit testy.
I have had my own direct experience with editors of the Keith Olbermann page which suggests this is the case. I edit a blog called Olbermann Watch . Not that it was ever my goal in life but I am now the leading blog critic of Keith Olbermann and a recognized authority on Keith Olbermann (citation: quoted in Washington Post, New York Observer, Hartford Courant, Online Journalism Review, etc.).
Not only do I know a great deal about Keith Olbermann, I also have a good deal of familiarity with some of the Wikipedia editors who have watch-listed his entry â€” liberal fans of Keith Olbermann. Some of these fan/editors have declared online that the Keith Olbermann page is their â€œpet projectâ€? and, not surprisingly, the entry reads more like a â€œfan siteâ€? than an encyclopedia entry. Some of these editors have openly sought to use that page to market their own fan sites and forums. Not surprisingly, the Keith Olbermann entry is massively non-NPOV.
Mathew Ingram, technology writer with The Globe and Mail in Toronto, weighs in
J.D. Lasica has been converted.
"If journalism suffers from an institutional malaise, it's because we have too few journalists like Olbermann who are willing to speak truth to power."