Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Tale of Two Wikis

I hope Barack Obama doesn't read this.
It's too aggravating.

Profiles are meant to be unbiased and fact-based, but even Wikipedia gets in a few buzz words now and then. Just look at the lead-in for Barack Obama:

Barack Hussein Obama... (born August 4, 1961) is the junior United States Senator from Illinois and a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election.[2][3] He is the fifth African American Senator in U.S. history, the third popularly elected African American Senator, and the only African American currently serving in the U.S. Senate.[4] Born in Honolulu to a Kenyan father and an American mother, Obama grew up in culturally diverse surroundings. He lived most of his early life in Hawaii, and spent four of his pre-teen years in Jakarta, Indonesia. A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama worked as a community organizer, university lecturer, and civil rights lawyer before running for public office. He served in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004, launching his campaign for U.S. Senate in 2003.

Now read the one from Conservapedia:

Barack Hussein Obama (b. 4 August 1961) is the junior Senator from Illinois, elected to the United States Senate as a Democrat in 2004. He is, as of 2007, the only African American serving in the United States Senate, where he serves his first term.

Despite a lack of military, executive or foreign policy experience, he is currently a liberal favorite for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States in the 2008 election. He has no clear personal achievement that cannot be explained as the likely result of affirmative action. Some examples border on the absurd: Obama has no background in physics, yet it is claimed that "Obama analyzed and integrated Einstein's theory of relativity, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, as well as the concept of curved space as an alternative to gravity, for a Law Review article ... titled, 'The Curvature of Constitutional Space.'" [1]

Note: this quote from a reporter of CBS News is not so absurd when you know it was expressly written as research for the Harvard Law Review. His mentor (and actual writer of the piece), the constitutional law scholar Lawrence Tribe, certainly didn't expect Obama to be proficient in the field of physics. Obama was researching for an (admittedly creative) article and became knowledgeable of Einstein's theory by reading about it (what a surprise!). Read the full CBS article here. Conservatives can't stand it when liberals look smart.

Conservapedia then really lets loose:

His voting record places him as the tenth-most liberal member of the U. S. Senate. His composite liberal rating was 86 percent, just seven points behind Ted Kennedy. Among fellow Senate Democrats, he was further left than liberals like John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, Russ Feingold, Carl Levin, Joseph Biden and Harry Reid.[2]

When giving a "trustworthy" profile of someone, Conservapedia knows that fear and loathing go a long way.