Aaron Klein Wikipedia Fiasco Goes International; Farah Cries “Libel”

Considerable media interest has followed in the wake of Terry Krepel’s investigation into Wikipedia editor “Jerusalem21”. As was noted a couple of days ago, Aaron Klein recently wrote a piece for WorldNetDaily in which he suggested that Wikipedia controllers were unfairly censoring material about Barack Obama’s birth certificate posted by a certain “Jerusalem21”. Krepel pointed out that “Jerusalem21″‘s only other edits were for the entry on Aaron Klein, adding positive stuff…and removing critical material. The story has now reverberated around the world, with stories in the Sydney Morning Herald and – in Hebrew – at YNet.

But Klein has a rebuttal:

“I am not ‘Jerusalem21’, but I do know the Wikipedia user (he works with me and does research for me), and I worked with him on this story,” Klein said.

However, WND has chosen to scrub all references to “Jerusalem21” rather than to add explanatory material, and WND editor Joseph Farah has decided that an attack on Krepel’s politics should be enough to deflect the evidence:

First, a fulltime anti-WND blogger named Terry Krepel, who also works for George Soros-backed Media Matters, put his spin on Klein’s scoop – claiming falsely that Klein himself was the Wikipedia user dubbed Jerusalem21. In fact, Klein’s Jerusalem bureau research assistant is Jerusalem21…Normally no one pays too much attention to Krepel, recognizing him for what he is – an ideological crusader masquerading as a press watchdog, determined to expose the slightest break in the ranks of the Obama media amen chorus.

He then mocks a couple of bloggers who picked up the story as being, respectively, an “unknown scribe” and an “obscure scrivener” – alas, I’m such a nobody that I don’t even merit a put-down, even though Krepel has in the past cited my research into Klein’s whitewashing of the Israeli far-right. But Farah is working himself up:

…But the libelous shots at Klein didn’t stop there. 

Now the story was going international…

This is nonsense – there was no “libel”, and there are few sights more disgusting than a journalist bandying the word about recklessly.

Farah claims “Jerusalem21″‘s edits were in fact legitimate research to see how Wikipedia responds to negative material about Obama. Krepel responds:

First, Farah is lying; I never asserted that Klein was Jerusalem21. Here’s what I wrote in my original post: “‘Jerusalem21’ is either Klein or someone close to him acting on his behalf, if not his direction.”…

Second, the “scandal” is not that Klein was the man behind Jerusalem21; it’s that he didn’t follow sound journalistic practice by disclosing this to his readers…

Third, if this is the non-scandal Farah claims it is, why did WND scrub all references to Jerusalem21 from Klein’s articles?

Fourth, Farah fails to address the other part of this “scandal” — the utter hypocrisy of complaining about removal of negative information from Obama’s Wikipedia page when Klein (or Jerusalem21) has been similarly quick to remove critical information from Klein’s own Wikipedia page.

The idea that there is a meaningful distinction between Klein making the posts himself and someone doing it for him is particularly laughable.

One Response

  1. Good post – I came to this pretty late, but I still had to blog about it:

    http://blog.shankbone.org/2009/03/19/aaron-klein-fabricates-his-own-obama-scandal-worldnetdaily-and-fox-news-reports-it/

    It just goes to show you what a laughing stock is the right wing media. If this is their idea of what journalism should look like, I’ll still with the Washington Post, thank you very much.

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