Funny thing happened on the way to the newspaper

A funny thing happened to some facts on their way to the newspaper this week. Last week, on November 23, I blogged on the slate of nominees for the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The night of the 24th I updated post with additional information for Michael Meehan to highlight that he was previously nominated by President Bush to the Board so that it read “…(previously nominated to the Board by President George W. Bush and a business partner of the husband of Judith McHale’s Chief of Staff ).”

A week later on November 30, Al Kamen of The Washington Post’s “In the Loop” graciously mentioned me as pointing out Meehan has a connection to the office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, but did not mention the previous nomination.

Then today, the December 2 edition of “In the Loop” noted what my blog said for the prior week, that Meehan was first nominated by Bush. Where was the clarification that my post had that important data point Kamen’s researcher ignored?

For all the congratulatory email I received for the “In the Loop” mention, there was no noticeable change in the number of visitors to the blog – although digging deeper I found there were an unusual number of visitors from The Washington Post domain – so if I hadn’t known I was mentioned, I wouldn’t have known I was in one of the – if not the – most read gossip columns. Either not many cared about the Meehan-DiMartino connection or not many of Kamen’s readers follow the links he provides to read the source. There’s also the possibility that Kamen’s readers who care about public diplomacy already read this blog and knew the week before about the connection and the previously nomination.

The initial spin on the story was not surprising, the spin in today’s correction was. I’m implicitly portrayed as the one who did not write on Meehan’s previous nomination. Ah, the media.

Congressional Staffers messing w/ Wiki?

News brief from Slashdot – Wikipedia vs Congressional Staffers [Update]:

There has been quite a bit of recent reporting on the recent troubles between Wikipedia and certain Congressional staffers. In response, abdulzis mentions that "an RFC, Wikipedia’s mediation method to deal with ‘disharmonious users’, has been opened to take action against US Congressional staffers who repeatedly blank content and engage in revert wars and slanderous or libelous behavior which violates Wikiepdia code. The IP ranges of US Congress have been currently blocked, but only for a week until the issue can be addressed more directly."

What is commonly used as the reference of first resort by many, Wikipedia, is being tweaked and modified by Congressional staffers?

According to the Lowell Sun, U.S. Rep Marty Meehan’s staff has been heavily editing his Wikipedia bio, among other things removing criticisms. In total, more than one thousand Wikipedia edits in various articles have been traced back to congressional staffers at the U.S. House of Representatives in the past six months.

If you’re curious what Wikipedia will do… check out their Request for Comment here.