Lucian Wintrich and Gateway Pundit

In-depth evaluation of specific Wikipedia articles.
Kingsindian
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Re: Lucian Wintrich and Gateway Pundit

Post by Kingsindian » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:55 am

Zerothly, as I said already, you are not writing for me, and you don't need to give any justification to me. If you feel that this conversation is useless, feel free to end it any time.

When someone says that "let's assume X for the sake of argument", their aim is to move beyond X and look at the other parts of the argument. It is not an attempt to insinuate that X is wrong. Indeed, the way political discussions usually happen is that people get stuck on some point and use that as a way to dismiss the entire argument. I am trying to avoid this tendency. For the point in my previous post, you can take X to be true.

The other (minor) reason why I am not "conceding X" is that it doesn't matter what I think; it matters what one can prove. If you ask the Berkman study author: "Did you plagiarize from Wikipedia?", and they point-blank deny it, or simply ignore your question, what're you gonna do?

sashi
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Berkman-Klein & the WikiPundit

Post by sashi » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:44 am

Hmmm... first, the authors are Robert M. Faris, Hal Roberts, Bruce Etling, Nikki Bourassa, Ethan Zuckerman, and Yochai Benkler. So the question might be which one of them got confused and quoted Wikipedia while mis-attributing the quote to Politico. Insofar as the copied text is (mostly) in quotation marks, it's difficult to say that it is plagiarism.
Berkman-Klein authors wrote:Gateway Pundit is in a class of its own, known for “publishing falsehoods and spreading hoaxes.” 2

2 https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... oom-214781


source (p.15)
So really it's not a question of "conceding" anything. TDA is demonstrably correct: the Snoog's formulation ( § ) is the source of the erroneous attribution in the B-K report. The question to ask would be "Why is this quotation mis-attributed to Politico when it has been demonstrated to have come from Wikipedia?" Another would be: "Should a center specializing in Internet & Society check their facts, and publish corrections when mistakes are caught?"

Kingsindian
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Re: Lucian Wintrich and Gateway Pundit

Post by Kingsindian » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:17 pm

Sashi:

Suppose the Berkman authors say: "Thanks for correcting us. We will amend the quote to 'known for reporting obvious hoaxes as legitimate news and headlines'. Or they say: "Thanks for correcting us. We'll remove the quotation marks to clarify that it's not a quote from the Politico source."

In either case, they continue: "Since the meaning of the sentence is the same either way, the rest of the report is unchanged." What now?

sashi
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Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:26 pm

Berkman-Klein & The WikiPundit

Post by sashi » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:30 pm

I don't think they would be rude about a minor correction such as the one they'd be making. I'd love to see them change that footnote to properly attribute Snooganssnoogans right at the beginning of their report. Knowing him, he'd probably nail it to his user page. ^^

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The Devil's Advocate
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Re: Berkman-Klein & the WikiPundit

Post by The Devil's Advocate » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:29 pm

sashi wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:44 am
So really it's not a question of "conceding" anything. TDA is demonstrably correct: the Snoog's formulation ( § ) is the source of the erroneous attribution in the B-K report. The question to ask would be "Why is this quotation mis-attributed to Politico when it has been demonstrated to have come from Wikipedia?" Another would be: "Should a center specializing in Internet & Society check their facts, and publish corrections when mistakes are caught?"
On that I think the answer is that it is deliberately misattributed as the authors know citing Wikipedia would be frowned upon by serious academics. It is a deceit on their part and that is part of the issue here. Kingsindian is basically arguing that because one could cherry-pick some sources to back up this claim that therefore there is no inherent problem with it being spread without attribution over numerous major media outlets. My opinion is that what editors are doing with these kind of edits is putting their thumb on the scales to try and move the narrative in the direction they favor.

Kingsindian
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Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:15 am

Re: Lucian Wintrich and Gateway Pundit

Post by Kingsindian » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:28 am

The point at issue is not whether Snoogans is a partisan editor inserting negative information about right-wing entities into Wikipedia -- of course they are. And it's not whether the media outlets copy each other -- of course they do. The point at issue is whether the case constitutes citogenesis.

The Berkman study (or, for that matter, the Wikipedia article) could be trivially rephrased to remove citogenesis.

Also, citogenesis requires someone passing on some claim without checking it. In this case, WaPo independently came to the same conclusion, long before the Berkman study or the Snoogans edit. If the WaPo article (for example) was part of the chain of in the media outlets picking up on it, that's not citogenesis.

-----------------------------------------

Btw, the Berkman study is rather weird. They construct a source for the partisan makeup of an outlet, based on how much Clinton, Sanders, GOP or Trump supporters retweet it. According to its score, Wikipedia is "center-right"; indeed its score is farther right than the Wall Street Journal, CNBC or the Daily Telegraph (or as the latter is known in the UK: "The Torygraph"). They claim that their score is consistent with other independent measures. Eyeballing the graph, it doesn't look too bad to me, but of course, if one squashes everything onto one dimension, things are going to be oversimplified. For instance, The Intercept comes out to be centrist in their Clinton-Trump graph, but very left in their Sanders-Clinton graph. This is also what I expected -- The Intercept bashes both Trump and Clinton and is relatively sympathetic to Sanders. Jeremy Scahill used to be a reporter with Democracy Now.

Finally, it is not uncommon to see Wikipedia cited in academic sources nowadays; I already gave an example above. It depends on the claim being referenced.

Kingsindian
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Re: Lucian Wintrich and Gateway Pundit

Post by Kingsindian » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:52 am

Another point I wanted to elaborate on is the cherry-picking issue. There's no real systematic review of the Gateway Pundit's output, so it's hard to adjudicate it one way or another. One could look at media coverage overall, and see what they say. This is not ideal, of course: the media can get things wrong.

One could imagine an experiment -- look at the list of articles compiled by the Gateway Pundit itself (which I linked above). What's the general tenor of the coverage? If you asked a sample of people to read a few of the articles in that list, how would they summarize the general reputation of the site?

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The Devil's Advocate
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Re: Lucian Wintrich and Gateway Pundit

Post by The Devil's Advocate » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:00 pm

One of the problems with talking about the more subtle aspects of spin is that people who don't want to acknowledge bias until it is so glaringly obvious they would have to be in denial otherwise can try to massage the issue. The reality is that at best Snooganssnoogans created a description that is partially in keeping with a small selection of sources out of a large number of sources and partially his own original interpretation. A larger number of sources would likely be summarized in a subtly yet substantively different way. Not mentioned is the fact that including this in the intro makes it available as a short-hand description for major media as it has been used and that has been led to outlets,specifically the Washington Post, impugning its coverage on matters where the factual accuracy is not really in doubt. There has been an example of this again, with Slate, where it specifically is used against one writer for them Cassandra Fairbanks. What is also not being discussed is the effect of political labeling in Wikipedia's article with regards to media outlets repeating things they see on the page.

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