Wikipedia: suppression of the truth.
Wikipedia is touted as an encylopaedia that anyone can contribute to, thus sourcing knowledge, potentially, from all human beings. Yet, it doesn’t quite work that way because, just as anyone can contribute knowledge, anyone else can also remove it. Sometimes, people just don’t want a truth to be known.
Recently, I have tried to contribute to Wikipedia, in the entry about George Magazine, the defunct political magazine, started by the deceased John F. Kennedy Jr. and a few of his pals, before he managed to pilot a plane into the sea. My contribution sought to create awareness of a curious coincidence that can only be explained by plagiarism, or imitation by Kennedy and Matt Berman (the “creative” director on the project). I wished to alter the article to point out that my performance art character Lord Valentine the Misplaced, an 18th Century Dandy living in the 20th Century world, began to appear in the media about a year before the first issue of George Magazine. You may recall that George Magazine covers consisted of dressing 20th Century people in 18th Century costume, in the context of a 20th Century magazine cover. The first cover consisted of Cindy Crawford as George Washington (an 18th Century person). Clearly this “idea” of Matt Berman was not new. The simplest explanation is that he took the idea from me, since I had been on CNN, NBC News and Reuters, among other media outlets, as Lord Valentine the Misplaced, in the year leading up to the first issue of George Magazine.
At first I cited my blog entry on George Magazine in support of my change to the article. That blog entry in turn cited CNN, NBC and Reuters. I also mentioned in my “edit summary” that further proof was to be found at CNN, NBC and Reuters, as well as the Observer newspaper and Time Out magazine. This first attempt at alteration was reversed by one “Pinkadelica” from the US, within fifty minutes. Her reason for doing so: “blog not reliable source”.
About a week later, I reversed Pinkadelica’s reversal, and added a new source: my IMDB page (see: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3438598/bio)
I also pointed out that Pinkadelica had not consulted the CNN archives, where proof was to be found. This time my change lasted a few hours. However, it was again deleted, by persons unknown, this time in a non-reversible fashion (I would have to retype my entry again, instead of clicking a button).
I find this very rapid defense of this page curious indeed. Is it being defended by people who support the Kennedys or perhaps Matt Berman? Is this page being watched by those with a direct interest in it? Are they suppressing any truthful statements that might make “their people” look anything less than wonderful?
My changes have cited CNN, NBC news and Reuters – as well as several other sources – yet, still, they are reversed in a very short time. There is proof out there that what I am saying is true – yet still, they reverse the changes. This amounts to willful suppression of the truth. The writers of the George Magazine article would like you to believe that Matt Berman had a creative idea. He did not. He stole a creative idea and made it his own. What he did on the front cover of that magazine, had already been done for a long time, by me. It had also already been covered in the global media. Yet he won acclaim for this second hand idea. I am still puzzled as to why. Were there no people in the media in the US, able to connect a prior CNN news item and Matt Berman’s supposed idea? Does no-one think in the media there? Have they no memories? The connection is obvious between my prior work and his subsequent covers, yet no-one made that connection, in the media, at all. Now, when I try to draw attention to the connection on the George Magazine Wikipedia article, it is almost instantly reversed and my truth suppressed.
It has become clear that it will not be possible to have the truth known, on Wikipedia. There are too many defenders of untruths working on maintaining their lies, in the Wikipedia space. Wikipedia is too easily undermined by those with political interests, who can use articles to support the reputations of particular people, to the detriment of the truth about those people. All they have to do is rapidly remove any appearance of the undesired truths, no matter how well corroborated they are by citations – or reinsert their own untruths, if they have been deleted. The contents of the Wikipedia come down to who is more determined – or has more time and resources – to maintain their particular viewpoint. Thus, it is that Wikipedia is not impartial. Its views are driven by those with the most energy to maintain them.
It is only the word of mouth from those who read my articles on my blog, that stands to counter the truth suppression of Wikipedia. So, please tell others of the background to the George Magazine covers. They were not the invention of Matt Berman – they were his deliberate imitation of my prior performance art work, Lord Valentine the Misplaced.
Of course, my experience of a truth being suppressed by Wikipedians does call into question the whole edifice of the Wikipedia. What other truths are being suppressed on Wikipedia? What other viewpoints are being denied us? Are these manipulations purely from political sources (as the George Magazine edit changes might be) or are the suppressors of the truth more general in kind and source?
Have you had experience of a truthful statement being suppressed on Wikipedia? Have you had problems posting an alteration to it, even though you had sourced your change and it was justified? Do write your experiences below. Thank you.
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