An Israeli so-called 'journalist' has been caught out manufacturing his own righteously outraged news story about Wikipedia to inflame right-wing political extremists in the US.
Aaron Klein wrote a purported exposé of Wikipedia censorship at World Net Daily, claiming that the free online encyclopedia monitored US President Obama's entry and banned users who added derogatory items. Rupert Murdoch's rabidly right-wing US television network Fox News jumped on the story and broadcast it in North America and out over the internet.
The additions to Obama's Wikipedia entry in question included the claim that doubts exist that Obama was actually born in the US and therefore eligible to be elected US President, as well as derogatory claims about his associations with a controversial black clergyman, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and a former Weatherman, William Ayers.
The legal issue of President Obama's citizenship was decided definitively just last week, when the US District Court for the District of Columbia not only ruled, on the merits, that a petitioner's challenge was frivolous, but also ordered the attorney who brought the case to show cause to avoid sanctions. The other two issues had been raised during the 2008 US presidential election campaign, and universally dismissed as mere political mudslinging.
Wired looked into the Fox News story and found that the only user Wikipedia had banned for repeatedly adding conspiracy theories to Obama's entry was a 'Jerusalem21', who had only edited one other Wikipedia entry - Aaron Klein's - which Jerusalem21 created in 2006 and edited 37 times. It wasn't Klein himself, though, but a researcher who worked for him, as Klein eventually admitted to Wired and others who had begun following the controversy.
By Monday afternoon, all references to Jerusalem21 had been scrubbed from Klein's story at World Net Daily and replaced with 'one Wikipedia user', but Wired found the story in its original form in Google's cache.
Having been exposed in his clumsy attempt to manipulate Wikipedia in order to inflame racist and xenophobic conspiracy theories and generate political antipathy to the sitting US President, Klein denounced the investigation and resulting coverage as 'defamatory' and demanded that another article that had followed the unfolding story at Valleywag 'be immediately corrected.'
One imagines that Aaron Klein, who bills himself as the Jerusalem bureau chief of World Net Daily, not only should expect to wait forever for any such corrections, but - since he's become, by his own hand, the laughing stock of real journalists worldwide - might want to consider taking up another line of work. Maybe the disinformation bureau of the Israeli espionage agency Mossad will be willing to train him to cover his tracks a bit better and employ somewhat more subtlety. X
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