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John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK

 

“Wikipedia Founder to Fight ‘Fake News’ Epidemic With New Online Service

Just plain silly.

But also amazingly pretentious.

How is Wikipedia qualified in any way to do anything approaching this?

They are not, of course.

And, of course, you are right to point out that their own site’s embarrassing shortfalls in accuracy and substance. On some subjects, Wikipedia resembles a spinning toilet-paper roll of changes to what are supposed to be facts.

Some entries are actually amusing because of the obvious efforts of posters to create an impression rather than give facts. PR flacks, celebrities, and special interest groups often write material shining a favorable light on themselves or a subject of interest. What we may call “partial truth” abounds on the site.

I’m sure all controversial entities – from CIA and FBI to Israel and the Pentagon – have low-level employees constantly churning out crap for this site, factual enough to stay posted but avoiding all unwanted complexities or subtleties or divergent interpretations – in other words, propaganda, the most effective kind which is always built on some truth, partial truth. I don’t know whether there is open complicity or just a bit of winking going on at Wikipedia.

This Wikipedia initiative is just one more effort by America’s huge Internet corporations to pretend they are something more than what they are.

Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, Amazon plus others – all have some legitimate areas of effort and service, but they all serve the American establishment constantly in various ways from collecting personal information to spreading propaganda. And they all pride themselves in posing as deciders of truth.

They all are involved in giving security services users’ personal information. They all are involved in various degrees of misrepresentation about what they do. They all are involved in “serving the cause” of American world empire, sometimes embarrassingly so. They all, for example, through one mechanism or another, displayed blatant partiality for the official presidential candidate of the War Party, possibly the most corrupt candidate in American history, Hillary Clinton.

I can’t help laughing every time I think of Google – once, long ago, a seemingly honest operation – inserting absurd warning-of-danger pages whenever I used to hit my link for Sputnik. The page included a button marked “back to safety” as though you were approaching serious malware.

I haven’t seen it in a little while. Perhaps they realized how ridiculous it made them look.

But intelligence services do a lot of not-very-intelligent things at times, as does anyone who is dedicated to “getting out a story” rather than just performing an honest job or explaining something truthfully.

I still think Facebook is the most laughably absurd of all of them in this regard. A truly stupid site that has done everything from running fraudulent trending news story lists to suffering plagues of false “likes” (which affect advertising rates) to abusing its members’ privacy, without ever informing them, by using malware which tracks them everywhere they go on the Internet.

And then there is its preposterously pretentious owner who plays t-shirted, regular-guy guru and who also plays at the claim of being a great philanthropist by announcing he’ll give away most of his fortune someday. Oh sure, but don’t hold your breath.

The last immensely wealthy man in America who actually did that was Andrew Carnegie, and his kind of old-school Scottish conscientious character has not been a popular model since. Neither has his interest in philosophy and ideas and friendships with important thinkers of his day been adopted by other immensely wealthy Americans.

I don’t understand why anyone even uses the Facebook site, but it benefits from great numbers of people intimidated by the Internet in general and glad to find “one-stop shopping” so to speak. It is a highly controlled and regulated space which gives the illusion of the nearly-infinite variety and diversity and freedom of the Internet itself.

In sum, if there is such a thing as “fake news,” it is as likely to be found on the sites of the American Internet giants as anywhere else, and perhaps even more likely, since we see their clear set of declared intentions and biased behaviors rather than dealing strictly in facts.

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