Are the Koch brothers rewriting Wikipedia?

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Beside screwing with EPA regulations – meddling in Wisconsin – and courting Supreme Court Justices - what else are the Koch brothers up to now? Try rewriting Wikipedia. ThinkProgress has uncovered evidence that the Koch’s employed a PR firm to act as a “sockpuppet” for them on websites.

A “sockpuppet” is Internet lingo to refer to someone who creates a fake online identity to hype up himself or herself or a company they work for on message boards or social networking sites. If a sockpuppet is found out – it usually leads to the person’s account being disabled. The Koch’s “sockpuppet” edited their several Wikipedia pages to remove any references to the Tea Party – hype up George Soros conspiracy theories – and delete any citations to progressive media outlets – essentially scrubbing the Internet of any potentially embarrassing or damning facts about the Kochs.

The Kochs have contracted with dozens of PR firms – they are BILLIONAIRES – to ensure their political agenda is kept under wraps. But thanks to some great reporting nowadays – these guys aren’t in the shadows anymore.

Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture
Thom Hartmann A...
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Comments

Wikipedia Is Useful BUT

It's usefulness is obviously limited. The site owner should have a page where complaints of this type can be lodged.

Yellowbird7's picture
Yellowbird7
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

You read my mind! I just read David Koch's bio on wikipedia and you'd think he was Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King and Gandhi rolled into one! How can we counter the incessant altering of truths and history when they're being attacked from all sides? It's crazy!

shawnperine's picture
shawnperine
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It does seem that there should be some areas for "Point/Counterpoint" within any subject. I am very uncomfortable with the REMOVING of information. All these pages are cached somewhere, yes?

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I have saved many of the original articles in my emails--if they are still valid I have them!

SUEC's picture
SUEC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

And here I wasted five minutes of my life registering an account here to check if you actually named any of these socks. Oh well.

Quote Yellowbird7:

The site owner should have a page where complaints of this type can be lodged.

You have no idea how much spam, advertising, spin, and other assorted puffery we see at Wikipedia only a daily basis. We have process in place.

The Wikimedia Foundation (the "site owner," as it were) has zero influence over the day-to-day activitied on Wikipedia, however, so appeals to them about basically anything is meaningless.

Quote chilidog:

All these pages are cached somewhere, yes?

A full history is kept with every article. Parts are sometimes removed, but only in cases where we suppress private information (such as the personal details of minors) or hideously illegal content.

lifebaka
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2011 4:06 pm
A full history is kept with every article. Parts are sometimes removed, but only in cases where we suppress private information (such as the personal details of minors) or hideously illegal content.
This would be something I would love to use if I could find it. For example, I found our net national wealth in a table at this page, but I also wanted to see the figure from 3 or 4 years ago. Is there a place on the page that will send me to an older version? I can't find one.

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The simple solution is to make articles locked against editing by anyone but the author(s).

Wikipedia is either hopelessly naive or up for sale to the highest bidder. I'm voting for naive.

With open editing, you have the problem that some people LIE.

It's especially difficult because we NEED an honest Wiki-database, and we can't start another against the popularity of this one.

The Conservatives already tried. Conserva-Pedia was a flop.

Jkirk3279's picture
Jkirk3279
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Wikipedia is helpful, but if you're using it for the definitive source for anything, you're just asking for trouble.

By all means, use it as a source for something, especially those that can be easily verified. Use the links provided at the bottom to go to other sources and gather information from those and other web sites which teh googles will provide.

I like wikipedia, but I won't trust it to be entirely truthful all the time. Since it's user contributed, you're going to get things which are not entirely accurate.

In the case of the Kock brothers, dickipedia.org would be an excellent source. Unfortunately, neither appears on the site just yet.

It's accuracy borders on frightening. Take, for example, John Boehner's entry. http://www.dickipedia.org/dick.php?title=John_Boehner

Toonces's picture
Toonces
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Problem is, most people will not consider that Wikipedia could contain biased information and simply take every word as gospel. Hence, my problem with David Koch's bio.

Now, I could go in there and do some edits that make him come off as a generous patron of the arts AND someone who is backing an overthrow of our democratic process, rather than how he looks now—as a patron who happens to be a Libertarian.

But then one of Koch's sock puppets would go in and edit it again, and because he/she is getting paid to keep up on this while I am not, I will ultimately lose the battle.

And BTW, of course these sock puppets do exist. I used to work in an industry where I saw this kind of thing happen all the time. I don't even know if they have to be considered "sock puppets." They're simply people with a vested interest in a specific meme.

shawnperine's picture
shawnperine
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Your best bet for saving the true article is to save them as a Word document as well. If the Koch's and others are altering articles they are probably removing links. Many links also just die off over time.

Captain Hiltz's picture
Captain Hiltz
Joined:
May. 28, 2010 9:31 am

I have found that Wikipedia is good for looking up information on your favorite band or to find out how many claws a porcupine has because the powers that be aren't interested in altering that kind of stuff. There is a reason that high school and college teachers don't allow students to use Wikipedia as a source for papers and projects. It's just sad that our species produces a small amount of sociopaths who feel they must impose their lifestyle on the masses by altering accounts of what really happened.

Captain Hiltz's picture
Captain Hiltz
Joined:
May. 28, 2010 9:31 am

The problem of bias in sources would still be there were there no organized shilling and planting dogma and pr. It is the idea that Wikipedia could be the best of our shared thinking because we would all be honest that is too naive. It is what it is. As pointed out above, there are some things where there is no bias present. You can find out some interesting stuff quickly and easily.

But, it is worth what you have paid for it. Check it out. Expect pr and spin. Money still swears more than talking. Cults have all the time left in the world to pursue their obsessions.

Use your own mind.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm
Quote chilidog:

It does seem that there should be some areas for "Point/Counterpoint" within any subject. I am very uncomfortable with the REMOVING of information. All these pages are cached somewhere, yes?

Wikipedia saves all the old versions of each page and anyone can compare them... and restore an original if they want. For old versions click on the View History tab at the top of any article.

Pierpont's picture
Pierpont
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Feb. 29, 2012 2:19 pm
Quote Toonces:

Wikipedia is helpful, but if you're using it for the definitive source for anything, you're just asking for trouble.

By all means, use it as a source for something, especially those that can be easily verified. Use the links provided at the bottom to go to other sources and gather information from those and other web sites which teh googles will provide.

I like wikipedia, but I won't trust it to be entirely truthful all the time. Since it's user contributed, you're going to get things which are not entirely accurate.

In the case of the Kock brothers, dickipedia.org would be an excellent source. Unfortunately, neither appears on the site just yet.

It's accuracy borders on frightening. Take, for example, John Boehner's entry. http://www.dickipedia.org/dick.php?title=John_Boehner

Very true. Wikipedia is just a tool. It should'nt be seen as definitive on any subject.

mjolnir's picture
mjolnir
Joined:
Mar. 3, 2011 12:42 pm
Quote Yellowbird7:

Wikipedia Is Useful BUT

It's usefulness is obviously limited. The site owner should have a page where complaints of this type can be lodged.

Wikipedia has several option for complaining. You can ask for citation, or point out opinion.

However, the real problem is the existence of the Koch brothers' fortune itself. We don't need billionairs and trillionairs on this planet.

Clearly, $25 billion each is way too much money for anyone to have. Also, they are clearly subverting the democratic process - democracy being something they don't believe in and oppose.

Which is logical, because it makes perfect sense for their class to not want to live by laws that serve us, the general public.

And even if you could police the billionairs, because there are going to be crooks among them just as there are crooks among everyone else, who is going to even bring them to court?

Clearly 'too big to fail' is too big for evolution.

Roger Casement's picture
Roger Casement
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Nov. 22, 2011 11:07 am

The America I Knew Has Almost Disappeared

Like an alcoholic family that won't discuss alcoholism (and proving Don Quixote's warning to never mention rope in the home of a man who's been hanged), far too many Americans are unwilling to acknowledge or even discuss the ongoing collapse of democracy in the United States.

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