URLs du Jour


  • Interesting article in Wired: Why Wikipedia Decided to Stop Calling Fox a ‘Reliable’ Source. Are those sneer-quotes by any chance?

    When Karen Bass, a congresswoman from Los Angeles, emerged in late July as a serious contender to be Joe Biden’s running mate, interest in her Wikipedia page exploded. By that time, the entry had grown to 4,000 words, been worked over by more than 50 different editors, and drew a weekly readership of 360,000. During that flurry of editing, a new section twice appeared below a list of offices Bass has held and legislation she has supported: "Controversy." It described the "substantial controversy and criticism" Bass had received for her words upon the death of Fidel Castro in 2016, and cited a Fox News report.

    Each time, less than an hour later, this addition would be gone—deleted by another Wikipedia editor. Anticipating there might be some pushback at the removal, the editor offered a simple explanation: “Fox News is not enough …”

    Uh huh. Those are darned convenient rules we just made up. Notice that there's no assertion that anything in the Fox News article is untrue. It's just from … the wrong sort. Not our kind.

    But it took me to this Wikipedia page (on "Reliable sources/Perennial sources"). Which contains a color-coded list of said sources. It's a good demonstration of how a putatively "fair" set of standards can result in obvious bias in practice.

    Specifically, National Review gets a yellow "no consensus" sticker. While the New Republic, the Nation, Rolling Stone. and everything in the Conde Nast stable (including, ahem, Wired) are all considered green "generally reliable."

    Politifact and Snopes? Green! The Southern Poverty Law Center? Green!

    Yeah. I would have to rate Wikipedia as unreliable for any content that depends on its reliability guidelines.

  • I signed the Philly Statement.

    Social Media mobs. Cancel culture. Campus speech policing. These are all part of life in today’s America. Freedom of expression is in crisis. Truly open discourse—the debates, exchange of ideas, and arguments on which the health and flourishing of a democratic republic crucially depend—is increasingly rare. Ideologues demonize opponents to block debates on important issues and to silence people with whom they disagree.

    We must ask ourselves: Is this the country we want? Surely not. We want—and to be true to ourselves we need—to be a nation in which we and our fellow citizens of many different faiths, philosophies, and persuasions can speak their minds and honor their deepest convictions without fear of punishment and retaliation.

    It's good stuff, signed by a bunch of good (and more famous) people. Shouldn't be controversial, but probably will be. Check it out.

  • We'll probably have more On Kamala Harris over the next few days, weeks, months,… God forbid, maybe even years. But let's check out what Kevin D. Williamson has to say:

    Joe Biden has named his 2020 running mate: authoritarianism.

    American prosecutors wield awesome and terrible powers that lend themselves easily to abuse, and Senator Kamala Harris, formerly the attorney general of California, is an enthusiastic abuser of them.

    Harris was a leader in the junta of Democratic state attorneys general that attempted to criminalize dissent in the matter of global warming, using her office’s investigatory powers to target and harass non-profit policy groups while she and her counterpart in New York attempted to shake down Exxon on phony fraud cases.

    This should matter. I regret that it won't matter enough.