Interlude: A little Wikipedia tomfoolery [Updated]

Betty’s been covering the BIG Breitbart left-behinders’ desperate and hilarious attempts to recover from being scooped by BuzzFeed with the BIG revelation that President Obama spoke at a demonstration to introduce Professor Derrick Bell back in 1990.

As some commenters both here and on Balloon Juice have noted, since similar footage has appeared in documentaries in recent times, the only “scoop” is the spectacularly blatantly race-baiting spin Joel B. Pollak (“THE VETTING: OBAMA EMBRACES RACIALIST HARVARD PROF”) and Dana Loesch (“Andrea Mitchell Runs Defense for Obama, Derrick Bell”) are trying to feed their readers before Pollak’s appearance on the Hannity show this evening. The righty blogs are in medium cry about it right now (though I detect a hint of “OK, we’re on board. BOMBSHELL!!! Er, but is that all you’ve got?”, reading between the lines).

The whole thing’s as half-assed as you’d expect from this bunch of puffed-up amateur demagogues. BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith’s Twitter feed tells some of the story about the day’s developments if you’re interested. He deeply resented the BIG allegation that the video had been “selectively edited,” and since then, as Rumproaster Nellcote let us know on Betty’s last thread, PBS’s Frontline has issued the full video to prove there was no such editing:

Today, the website BuzzFeed published a clip of the speech along with an article explaining some past and current context for Obama’s remarks. The website claimed the clip was “not previously available online.” The editors at Brietbart.com responded that the video on Buzzfeed had been “selectively edited” and said that they would release the full footage tonight on Fox News.

But there’s nothing new about the clip or Obama’s role in the controversy at Harvard Law School. In 2008, as a part of our quadrennial election special The Choice 2008,  FRONTLINE ran the same footage of the speech as a part of an exploration of Obama’s time at Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1991. It’s been online at our site and on YouTube since then.

As WaPo’s Erik Wemple observes: Breitbart.com hates getting scooped.

Meanwhile, geek that I am, I’ve been checking out the Wikipedia article for Derrick Bell. We’ve caught conservatives desperately and clumsily trying to edit Wikipedia and even Conservapedia to suit their own purposes in the past. I don’t think this episode is quite as comical, but I’ll catalogue it after the fold just to add to the day’s daftness.

On March 7, Wikipedia user Mjbnomad added this passage to Derrick Bell’s Wikipedia entry:

Professor Derrick Bell personally knew Barack Obama while the future president was studying at Harvard. Mr. Obama personally spoke out in defense of Bell during a strike at Harvard in 1991. A speech of Obama defending professor Bell was released on March 7 2012. The speech was uncovered by researchers working with the late [[Andrew Breitbart]], a conservative activist.

[http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/03/07/Buzzfeeds%20Selectively%20Edited Buzzfeed’s selectively edited Obama race video]

When a Wikipedia editor removed it, he tried again (insertion in bold):

Students held vigils and protests in solidarity with Bell with the support of some faculty. One of these students was U.S. president Barack Obama, who led a protest at Harvard Law School on behalf of Bell.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/03/07/Buzzfeeds%20Selectively%20Edited

The article’s Talk page shows this comment:

Tape of Obama Speaking
Why does it matter who uncovered the tape? Was it deliberately hidden or something? What I’m saying is that there doesn’t seem to be any reason to plaster Breitbart’s name onto this.

A Wikipedia editor then finally amended the article as it stands at the moment (“edit for accuracy, change to more neutral source”):

Students held vigils and protests in solidarity with Bell with the support of some faculty. One of these students was future U.S. president [[Barack Obama]], who spoke at a protest at Harvard Law School on behalf of Bell.

[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/07/obama-harvard-video-derrick-bell-protest_n_1327320.html?ref=politics “Obama Harvard Video Released, Shows Young Obama At 1991 Protest For Derrick Bell, Diversity”, [[The Huffington Post]], retrieved Mar. 7, 2012.]

This message then appeared on March 8 on the Talk page:

Please lock to prevent imminent vandalism
The GOP is currently conducting a smear campaign against Professor Bell. I know because I am a deep undercover double agent at a famous Republican’s campaign. This page will be vandalized.

I have to take the “deep undercover double agent” stuff with a sizeable pinch of salt, but you can be sure the editors’ll be keeping a close eye on any more tinkering with that Wikipedia page for the time being.

Of course, if I was writing for a BIG site, I’d be running round with my hair on fire shrieking that this was evidence of a CONSPIRACY!!!! As it is, I’ll just say heh. Move over The Onion, there’s a new comedy site on the Web.

UPDATE: At time of writing, there’s a bit of a revision war at Bell’s Wikipedia page. You can see the revisions in progress here (not too easy to follow unless you’re familiar with Wikipedia). I can’t spend the time describing it all, and you probably wouldn’t have the time or patience to read about it, but the revisions being reverted include such choice additions as:


Racist Shithead.

Racist instructor of hate.


See the videos at Breitbart.com. It is an absolute disgrace that he was given a podium to teach.

Bell is also the author of a number of books and short stories, including “Ethical Ambition” and “The Space Traders,” a fictional story in which white Americans sell black Americans to [[space aliens]] in order to pay off the national debt, and [[jews]] are ok with it. Bell also wrote the book, ‘‘The Faces at the Bottom of the Well’‘, which allegorically tells the story of people who are disenfranchised.

Stay classy, wingnuts.

I’d guess it’s only a matter of time till the entry’s locked for now.

Posted by YAFB on 03/07/12 at 08:46 PM • Permalink

Categories: Geek SpeakPoliticsBedwettersElection '12NuttersOur Stupid MediaPoliblogsSkull Hampers

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‘The Faces at the Bottom of the Well’‘, which allegorically tells the story of people who are disenfranchised.

Didja know that there is an American organization that uses a logo they call “The Well”?

Some people never want to hear from the people at the bottom.

Comment by MikeJ on 03/07/12 at 11:26 PM

Wait, he was the author of Space Traders? I had no idea.

and you probably wouldn’t have the time or patience to read about it

Ho ho! That’s what you think. I love this kind of skulduggery. Good stuff, YAFB

Well, tally ho, JS!

They’re still at it over there (these have already been reverted):

Finally, in ‘‘The Price of Racial Remedies,’’ Bell argues that whites will not support civil rights policies that may threaten white social status, like the affirmative action hiring through which he acquired his status.

Bell is also the author of a number of books and short stories, including “Ethical Ambition” and “The Space Traders,” a fictional story in which white Americans sell black Americans to [[space aliens]] in order to pay off the national debt. “The Space Traders” is considered antisemitic and as Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski described in the New York Times with disgust: “Imagine, if you will, that space aliens land in the United States and offer ‘‘untold treasure’’ in exchange for surrendering all black citizens to them. What does white America do? It votes to accept the deal by overwhelming margins. So says the law professor Derrick Bell, who poses the question in an allegorical tale he calls ‘‘The Space Traders.’’ There is opposition, however. Jews condemn the trade as genocidal and organize the Anne Frank Committee to try to stop it. Empathy from another group that has suffered oppression? Not according to Bell. Instead, Jews worry that ‘‘in the absence of blacks, Jews could become the scapegoats.’‘Bell also wrote the book, ‘‘The Faces at the Bottom of the Well’‘, which allegorically tells the story of people who are disenfranchised.”

Oh, and the editors are chatting about it on the Talk page (IDs redacted because the Breitbartians can’t be trusted with such information):

Tape of Obama Speaking

* Why does it matter who uncovered the tape? Was it deliberately hidden or something? What I’m saying is that there doesn’t seem to be any reason to plaster Breitbart’s name onto this.

* People are fiddling around with the reference used for this tape. Changing from one supposed biased source to another one.

* Why did you (apparently) add the “dubious” flag to the reference? Whatever the source, is the video a hoax? It seems pretty real to me (and uncontroversial too).

*Just remember folks, Paul Revere was warning the British. Keep that “fact” in mind when reviewing recent edits.

* Really!? A swipe at Sarah Palin is your comment? I bet you think you are clever.

And despite what I said above, it sounds like they won’t be locking it down (I’m sure I’ve seen them doing so in the past, but never mind), so it could be a fun day or so over there:

Please lock to prevent imminent vandalism

* The GOP is currently conducting a smear campaign against Professor Bell. I know because I am a deep undercover double agent at a famous Republican’s campaign. This page will be vandalized.
Hilarious!
Source:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/03/obama_in_ 1990.php?ref=fpblg

* We don’t lock articles because of the potential of vandalism. The best solution is for experienced editors committed to the neutral point of view to put this article on their watch lists. This is a biography that should cover Derrick Bell’s entire life and career. It should not give undue weight to his relationship with a law student who happened to become president 17 years later.

* It’s all true! I know because I’m a level 23 Overlord from the year 3422 and it’s all ancient history to me. Seriously, here is a video Barack Obama, as a Harvard student, introducing Derrick Bell: “Open your hearts and your minds to the words of Professor Derrick Bell.” That video is, in turn, presented by Charles Ogletree who says “Of course we hid this during the 2008 campaign… I don’t care if they find it now” - http://content.bitsontherun.com/previews/Ppc1C9Y3-svqBtzyp

And on Twitter, a trending hashtag is #BreitbartHasTape, to run alongside Malkin’s #VetThePrez. A few samples:

Obama once hugged a woman who bought contraception. Through the transitive hug property, Obama is now a slut. #BreitbartHasTape #VetThePrez

#BreitbartHasTape of Obama wearing socks with sandals. / Real crime would have been wearing crocs w/sox

President Obama has hugged hundreds of other women, even while he has been married #BreitbartHasTape #VetThePrez

I have to go outside now. I may be some time. Have fun!

The Shiny Object Alternate Reality Right Wing Pundit Crush President Obama Campaign 2012 has begun with a bombshell of incoherence.

Remember: logic, reason, rational thought and behavior can not be expected from these folk. They want blood.

Of course, they’re lying about what “The Space Traders” says about Jews. Jewish groups are depicted as genuine allies who are persecuted for their support of blacks, while also recognizing (correctly) that they could very well be next.

But don’t take my word for it. Do what probably 99% of the people making this criticism haven’t done, and read the story.

Comment by TooManyJens on 03/08/12 at 11:53 AM

sort of speaking of scrubbing, Rush is apparently scrubbing his transcripts from last week.

Oh, because then nobody will remember that he spent three days making at least 53 crude, sexual, slanderous statements about a woman who dared to disagree with him!

Also, apparently this just happened, via @StopRush:

Today, Limbaugh complains that female Washington Post writer injected her “B-I-Itchy opinion” into her reporting.

I have to go outside now. I may be some time. Have fun!


We knew that poor YAFB was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman.

Of course, they’re lying about what “The Space Traders” says about Jews. Jewish groups are depicted as genuine allies who are persecuted for their support of blacks, while also recognizing (correctly) that they could very well be next.

But don’t take my word for it. Do what probably 99% of the people making this criticism haven’t done, and read the story.

Thanks, JustTheRightNumberOfJens. To my shame, I haven’t read it myself yet, so that’s useful to know.

It’s not worth updating the post again, but for the sake of completeness: Wikipedia’s editors seem to have lives, and have obviously gotten fed up continually undoing the persistent attempts to insert text mentioning Obama hugging Bell and various other OT matter and protected the page for the next week or so, by which time we’ll no doubt be on to the next instalment of nonsense.

(Protected Derrick Bell: disruptive editing (‎[edit=autoconfirmed] (expires 22:17, 16 March 2012 (UTC)) ‎[move=autoconfirmed] (expires 22:17, 16 March 2012 (UTC))))

The entry now reads very much as it did before all this started.

Someday someone will publish a book or a website of all the bitchiest back and forth of Wikipedia. And I will read it.

I haven’t even touched on the (slightly more heated and a little more complicated) shenanigans that have been going on at the Wikipedia entry for Critical race theory (bollocks warning)!

Spoonkymonkey hits the nail on the head when he says, “The problem is that “white supremacy” is a loaded phrase with two different meanings.”

Spoonkymonkey?

Spoonkymonkey hits the nail on the head

Thats not a phrase you see every day.

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