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Tuesday, 23 June 2020
Karol Sikora - A Wiki Edit Too Far
Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will need no introduction to the machinations of Prof Karol Sikora, who is not an epidemiologist but is making hay during the Coronavirus pandemic by saying what the lockdown-busting crowd wants to hear. He became infamous after claiming the real Covid-19 death toll was only around half of that admitted by the Government, because many of those people would have died soon anyway.
Then there was his unique backstory: he was roundly castigated after claiming that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi had only three months to live. The man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing was then released, and lived for another two years and nine months. He’s dabbled in alternative medicine. He’s appeared in a Republican Party attack advert slagging off the NHS and NICE. He’s called the NHS “the last bastion of Communism”.
But despite all that, he gets cited, and fêted, by those out there on the right who really ought to know better, like self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Dooda, and the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph’s singularly wayward pundit Allison Pearson. Ms Pearson, together with the equally clueless Liam Halligan, has hosted Sikora on her hilariously wrongly-titled podcast Planet Normal.
So it will be interesting to see if any of these august individuals have anything to say about the discovery that Sikora’s Wikipedia page has been subjected to what might be called a comprehensive overhaul. Paul Lomax surveyed the wreckage and asked “What’s it called when you pay somebody to edit your Wikipedia page and remove all the controversies and bolster your credentials?” It seems rather a lot of adverse comment has been excised.
He had more to say. “I note that whilst well sourced criticisms were being removed, poorly sourced qualifications were not. Most of the citations are to corporate biographies which were clearly all written by Sikora. If you use bios as sources, people can effectively just write their own history”. So who did the edit? Did they get paid?
Lomax soon heard back from the editor. “The guy who made the edits claims he's unconnected and was just a passing Wikipedian concerned about quality of the page. I'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt on being hired (Sikora has form for use of PR firms, & edited his own page before). But he's definitely a fan”. PR firms?
Meenal Viz knew all about that: “check out the totally above board PR company Karol Sikora has used in the past. Yes, I use his name because I'm blocked and he/his team have Twitter and Google alerts set up”. Jamie Clark-Buckminster even had a name to pitch, adding the telling comment “All round to 55 Tufton Street”.
Well, well. The home of all things anti-Government, and more than likely anti-lockdown. Sikora has previously retained the services of Westbourne Communications. Their past clients include driver and rider matching service Uber, whose record in London has been grim enough to get their operator’s licence revoked, and fracking firm Cuadrilla.
Karol Sikora may not be attempting to rewrite history. But you can see it from there.
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