Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’

Wikiality, part 732: The Federalist Society

There are numerous scholarly books and law review articles on the history of the Federalist Society. The only book or article the Wikipedia article cites in its references section? “101 People Who Are Really Screwing America,” also cited 9 times in the article. Second is the People for the American Way’s hit piece on the organization, cited five times. Also cited: Daily Kos. Welcome to Wikipedia’s NPOV policy, where the N apparently stands for Nader, rather than neutral.

January 24 roundup

  • Longtime Overlawyered favorite Judy Cates, of columnist-suing fame, is using large sums of her own money to outspend incumbent James Wexstten in hard-fought race for Illinois state judgeship; Democratic primary is Feb. 5 [Belleville News-Democrat, Southern Illinoisan]
  • City council told: we’ll cancel your liability coverage if you throw all meetings and city records open to public [Seattle Times]
  • Attorney member of Canadian Senate in spot of bother after revelation that she billed client for 30 hours in one day [Vancouver Province, edit]
  • A public wiki just for Scruggsiana? After Keker’s minions swoop in to do their edits, the Mississippi attorney may wind up portrayed as the next Mother Teresa, and not the Hitchens version either [WikiScruggs]
  • Same general category of point, my Wikipedia entry now suddenly describes me as “controversial”, when but a month ago I wasn’t;
  • $28 to $52 million in 18 months for serving as a DoJ “corporate monitor” sounds like nice work if you can get it, and former AG Ashcroft got it without competitive bidding [Lattman, St. Pete Times edit, PolitickerNJ, NJLJ]
  • The Amiable Nancy (1818), admiralty case that could prove crucial precedent in Exxon Valdez punitive appeal, has nothing to do with The Charming Betsey (1804), key precedent on international law [Anchorage Daily News; Tom Goldstein/Legal Times]
  • “First do no harm… to your attorney’s case” [Cole/Dallas Morning News via KevinMD]
  • Probers haven’t come up with evidence of more than middling tiger-taunting, and attorney Geragos says he’ll sue zoo’s p.r. firm for defaming his clients [KCBS; SF Chronicle; AP/USA Today]
  • UK’s latest “metric martyr” is Janet Devens, facing charges for selling vegetables in pounds and ounces at London’s Ridley Road market [WSJ; earlier]
  • Lawyer can maintain defamation suit over being called “ambulance chaser” interested only in “slam dunk” cases, rules Second Circuit panel [eight years ago on Overlawyered]

Wikiality and the media

Glenn Reynolds posts on problems with Wikipedia. The problem is worse than he imagines, because lazy mainstream media are now relying on the site. I won’t embarrass the reporter by name, but he did a story on the ATLA name change; in the course of the story, he quoted fictional statistics invented by the Center for Justice & Democracy as “evidence” of the failure of medical malpractice reform. I dropped him an email pointing out the error, and the response included the following:

“I have found that non-obscure entries in Wikipedia are usually policed carefully to prevent unfounded, unanswered spin.”

At which point, he quoted back to me a Wikipedia entry on the subject that consisted entirely of ATLA talking points and spin that had been refuted numerous times on this site and Point of Law. That Wikipedia is inaccurate on this topic is no surprise: as I’ve noted earlier, a handful of trial lawyer advocates have systematically made thousands of edits to sanitize Wikipedia of just about anything that opposes the official ATLA line or criticizes trial lawyers, even on such minor entries as Jim Shapiro (see OL June 2002) and contingent fee (not to mention more major ones like asbestos, asbestos and the law, and medical malpractice). (And welcome Instapundit readers.)