A blog called NewsBlues.com claims to have served up “tasty television insider news since 1998.”
They’re also serving up a steaming helping of propaganda.
The site, run by a couple of former local newsmen, recently weighed in with a strange defense of the bias and agenda editing going on at Wikipedia. The blog on NewsBlues.com stated that it’s not just ill-advised, but it’s positively crazy not to trust every word that Wikipedia publishes.
In fact, NewsBlues.com blog authors Tom Claycomb and Rick Iler seem to believe that Wikipedia is the ideal, reliable source for journalists and fact-seeking citizens everywhere.
That idea is not only irresponsible, it’s also contrary to the norm. In recent years, there have been countless controversies over Wikipedia’s agenda editing; some of them have made international news. Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger has parted with his creation over Wikipedia’s well-known biases and other problems. (He’s working on a new online encyclopedia called Everipedia.com with the goal of avoiding some of Wikipedia’s inherent conflicts.) Even teachers of kids as young as middle school now warn that Wikipedia cannot be used as a citation for reliable information.
But Claycomb, Iler and NewsBlues.com claim all of that is just tin foil hat conspiracy talk. In their minds, any criticism of Wikipedia is positively deranged.
The timing of the NewsBlues.com blog in question is curious, indeed. It was published on June 17 right after some Wikipedia agenda editors wrote that I must be “stopped” from publicly discussing Wikipedia’s problems.
Could Claycomb and Iler be some of the volunteer editors who insert their biases — and sometimes vitriol — onto Wikipedia’s pages under the cloak of anonymity?
Below you can read the NewsBlues.com blog and the exchange I had with the website over the issue.
What do you think? Leave your comments on this page!
Original NewsBlues.com blog by Tom Claycomb
THE CONSPIRACY CONTINUES
Look who is ‘looking out for you” by launching something aimed at one of her personal anxieties.
Former journalist-Alex Joneslike [sic] conspiracy theorist Sharyl Atkisson [sic] proudly announces the Wikipedia Correction Project, or WCP, if you really want to feel like an insider.
The goal of said WCP is to make additional information that is censored on Wikipedia available elsewhere.
The Sinclair tv host wants you to help correct what she feels are the many errors of Wikipedia – errors that she believes are intentional and the result of censorship.
How can you take part in the Wikipedia Correction Project? she asks.
Submit one of the following:
An entire Wikipedia-style page you’re written on a biography or topic.
A section or sections that include(s) only the material that’s been excluded from Wikipedia.
Note: You may include explanation(s) as to what you believe is incorrect or unfair about the Wikipedia page in question, and attempts to amend it; but you do not have to.
Oh…and…Support independent journalism. Donate to SharylAttkisson.com by clicking here. Because evidently, Sinclair is not paying enough.
Attkisson response to NewsBlues.com blog:
Please forward this submission to your chief editor.
June 25, 2019
It’s been about a week and I haven’t heard back from anybody here regarding your libelous blog dated June 17:
1. I cannot fairly be described in any sense as a “former journalist.” I am a currently working investigative journalist who hosts a weekly news program and writes for The Hill and Real Clear Politics, among others. Calling me a “former” journalist is false and malicious, and damages my reputation.
2. I have never been associated with Alex Jones. The attempt to link me to him is malicious.
3. I have never reported on “conspiracy theories,” except to the extent that many news stories technically involve conspiracies (more than one person planning a crime together). I have not, to my knowledge, alleged “conspiracies” even when they have existed. It is false and malicious to link me to “conspiracy theories.”
4. It is false and misleading to claim that I provided “a sole example” of Wikipedia’s “alleged perfidiousness.” I have written at length and spoken of many instances documented by authors, journalists, Wikipedia insiders, whistleblowers and others.
The snarky tone of the article makes it clear that the anonymous author of the hit piece had an agenda to accomplish. But he can do so without providing false, misleading and malicious information that demonstrates reckless disregard for the truth.
I am surprised nobody has answered my previous outreach.
Please respond ASAP, as the article must be corrected.
Every day that it remains posted in its current state adds to the harm and damages.
Please also provide me with information as to the names of editors responsible since I was unable to locate this information.
Response to Attkisson from NewsBlues.com Tom Claycomb:
First off, allow me to apologize for missing your first email regarding the NewsBlues story of June 17, 2019. Another search of the “Comments” failed to turn it up and we have no explanation for its absence.
Second, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tom Claycomb and I am the principal content writer and producer at NewsBlues, something a cursory search of the website would have revealed.
NewsBlues has had a mission reputation since its inception 20+ years ago to shine an irreverent, cheeky and yes, ofttimes snarky, light on the business of television news.
As such, the purpose of the story was to poke fun at the idea of fact-checking Wikipedia and yes, your role in that task. If we did overstep the boundaries, it was the inclusion of the word “former” when describing you as a journalist. We would be happy to correct that.
I hope this clears some things up for you.
If you would like a further conversation, our managing editor and CEO is Rick Iler. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for your patience and, again, our sincere apologies for not responding to , or being aware of, your initial email regarding the story.
Best regards, Tom Claycomb
Attkisson response to Tom Claycomb at NewsBlues.com
I’m not sure why you feel it necessary to imply I wasn’t able to conduct “a cursory search of the website.” I looked at the article and there was no byline or indication of who wrote it. I went to the home page and clicked “About” and it doesn’t have the information as to how to contact anybody to find out who wrote a paticular story. I could not find a search box on the website. I clicked “Request Assistance.” I tried clicking “Help.” And finally I went to “Contact” to send a generic note.
With respect, your story did not come across as funny or witty to me or to anybody who contacted me about it to flag it as a libelous and malicious column. Trying to connect me to Alex Jones is not funny and has no connection to the idea of fact checking Wikipedia, other than you made such a connection. If anything, there are anonymous editors editing Wikipedia who have an affinity for conspiracies or who themselves are conspiring to control certain pages— so if there is any such valid connection to be made to Alex Jones, that would be closer to one.
Calling me a “former” journalist and implying I’m a conspiracy theorist isn’t funny. My career is based on my reputation which I’ve done a good job to protect for over 30 years. I am not infallable, but I have broken many important national and international stories, never had to correct or retract anything, have received numerous recognition from Emmy (and am an Emmy judge) and Edward R. Murrow awards, and I stand up to arrows shot by the people and special interests I cover every day. That arrows would come from an industry insider and the blog be sent out to young journalists across the country in an effort to parody me and my work— or disparage me— is baffling to me. Can you please explain what motivated you to take away my status as a “journalist” in your “funny” article in the first place?
May I suggest, in the interest of fairness, you consider a brief follow up story at News Blues? It is unclear to me why you consider the idea of fact-checking Wikipedia something to “poke fun” at. The co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, supports my project to correct Wikipedia. He is among the many people who have pointed to Wikipedia’s bias, conflicts and fact errors which have become so serious, he has parted his own original project. Others include author Philip Roth, former Wikipedia editors and administrators including Gregory Kohs, and scholars and dignitaries too numerous to count. Wikipedia editors have gotten caught editing for paid interests, working for PR firms, vandalizing pages on various controvrersial issues, controlling pages of personalities and topics in a one sided fashion, deleting factual information and inserting false and libelous material.
Wikipedia’s problems are so serious, it led to a wholesale movement to get PR firms and pharmaceutical interests to agree to stop editing Wikipedia anonymously. Some did; some didn’t agree. I have investigated the topic of Wikipedia’s agenda editors, bias and mistakes, covered it on the news, written about it in my New York Times bestsellers, and spoken of it in my TedX talks.
What you see as funny, or a reason to disparage me and my career, is actually quite a serious thing that young journalists who subscribe to your newsletter should know about. Instead, you have implied, thorugh your blog, that Wikipedia should be considered a reliable source (a bad idea even in high school, let alone journalism).
I can provide links and further information if you find the idea worthy of a follow up and a way to help correct the disparagement about me but more importantly, the misimpressions you are leaving young journalists with about sourcing and where they can get reliable facts. Please let me know one way or another..Thank you, Sharyl Attkisson
Response from NewsBlues.com Rick Iler:
I read your response and at this time we don’t want to do any more on the subject. Thank you for your feedback.
If you want us to run a correction for the “formal Journalist” statement we will. Just let us know. Thanks,