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Thursday 9 February 2017

Wikipedia - Hodges Loses It

[Update at end of post]

Reference site Wikipedia has decided, of its own free will, that the Mail titles are no longer suitable as a reliable citation for what appears there. As the Guardian has reported, “Wikipedia editors have voted to ban the Daily Mail as a source for the website in all but exceptional circumstances after deeming the news group ‘generally unreliable’”. Mail titles deal in falsehood and misinformation, are therefore deemed not wholly reliable, film at 11.
He's desperate, Dan

Wikipedia editors have apparently been discussing the Mail’s reliability, or lack of it, for two years now. The result? “The editors described the arguments for a ban as ‘centred on the Daily Mail’s reputation for poor fact checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication’”. This much is true. But for the Mail On Sunday’s not at all celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, hero of Twitter punctuation and trolling supremo, this was just not on.
Hodges was incandescent at the news that the paper which pays him so generously to churn out a weekly drivelfest might be thought of other than as a paragon of virtue: “Mainstream media need to wake up fast to this ‘fake news’ narrative. It's not the fake news that's in the firing line. It's real news”. Did he mean the Mail? “Look at Wikipedia/Daily Mail story. That's just the beginning. ‘The American people need to be protected from fake news’. It's coming”. He did mean the Mail. But he’s not paranoid.
He railed at Sunny Hundal for being of opposing view: “I have a major problem with newspapers being banned. You see, we have … this thing called democracy. An important plank on that democracy is a free press. Once people start banning that free … press, our democracy becomes eroded, and eventually collapses. That's my argument”.
Very good, Dan. Now explain how we have a “free press” when most of it is controlled by a handful of very rich men, most of whom are not resident in the UK, and who control what those papers are allowed to publish (the exception being the Mail titles, where the control is exercised via the editor-in-chief), and writers are expected to conform to that control.
And, as Sunny has replied, “You think people are intelligent enough to separate crap from good journalism, but Wikipedia shouldn't be allowed to do that. Odd”. Also, Wikipedia is allowed to make an editorial judgment as to what constitutes a reliable information source. Just as the papers Hodges has worked for are free to publish what they wish, so other sites are free to take that product on trust - or, in the case of the Mail, not.
That the Telegraph, where Hodges plied his trade before moving to the Mail on Sunday, has become less reliable since the arrival of the Barclay Brothers, and the Mail titles regularly and persistently peddle falsehood and misinformation, is glaringly obvious. This should not trouble anyone with brain engaged and a hole in their backside.
Wikipedia wants to be portrayed as a reliable information source. A significant part of that reliability is the quality of the citations that support articles. All that the site’s editors are doing is to protect their brand. Why Dan Hodges has a problem with this decision, taken by those exercising their own freedom of choice, is for him to figure out.

He certainly won’t be petitioning his editor-in-chief to improve the standard of what is reported as news in the Mail titles any time soon. Minor point, eh Dan?

[UPDATE 1425 hours: as Dan Hodges continues not to understand that he and everyone else who works for the Mail titles should be embarrassed and ashamed at the piss-poor standard of what passes for journalism at the Northcliffe House bunker, rather than demanding that Wikipedia allow their selective, slanted and frequently dishonest copy to stand alongside reliable news sources, one voice has issued the ultimate put down.
Jimmy Wales has told Hodges "Perhaps you haven't noticed, but we're not the Government and can't stop people from reading the Mail". Whether this sinks in, though, is debatable]


SteveB said...

Seems a little unfair to single out the Mail, what about the rest of them?

Anonymous said...

Interestingly James Wales has since said he didn't mean it to be a "smackdown" and apologiesed to Dan.

Can't help thinking he may regreat that when the Mail start the hacket job on him and Wiki, that we all know is coming once someone wakes Dacre from his tomb as the sun sets.

Alan Clifford said...

Don'tcha just LOVE it when the Heil gets hoist on its own petard of censorship by omission. Which of course is exactly what Wikipedia have done - I am delighted to say. So eat your liver out Hodges.

The fact is the genie is out of the bottle with the emergence of the term "fake news." And it will never go back. After all, it's what broadcast and print media have been vomiting for years. But now Joe Citizen has a useful label for it.

Hodges, like the rest of them, is actually a fake news clerk who got found out. Hence his rage. Which only makes him look and sound even more ridiculous - if that's possible.

Andy McDonald said...

Once again someone confusing freedom of speech with demand everyone reads you.