Conservapedia:LA Times article of June 19, 2007
| Trus me|
On June 19, 2007 (CE, if memory serves), The Los Angeles Times had an article by Staff Writer Stephanie Simon, about Conservapedia. Anyone with a multicellular brain can tell that the article is a total hatchet job:
- "At that [the discovery that a student had used 'CE' instead of 'AD'], Schlafly knew he had to act. In his mind, Wikipedia was riddled with liberal bias. Dating events without referring to the New Testament was just one example."
Among many other things, the LA Times article bashes Conservapedia for referring to the Pleistocene Epoch as "a theorized period of time", contradicted by "multiple lines of evidence" indicating that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, as described in the Book of Genesis.
And the article mentions Conservapedia's entry for Femininity—the quality of being "childlike, gentle, pretty, willowy, submissive."
Ms. Simon points to Conservapedia's entry for Hillary Rodham Clinton—she "may suffer from a psychological condition that would raise questions about her fitness for office" namely "clinical narcissism."
Ms. Simon mentions that Conservapedia's entry for Kangaroos has "a lengthy discussion about which marsupials Noah may have brought aboard his ark."
But Ms. Simon points out that all is not lost—there are Conservapedia articles that are actually free of stupidity. It points to the articles on the tuba, Claude Monet, Latvia, Robin Hood, polygons, and the Renaissance. It describes these articles as "brisk and straightforward". And she's right. The article on the tuba, for example, consists of 5 completely straightforward sentences, including a mention of the Ralph Vaughan Williams tuba concerto. Not a single mention of creationism anywhere.
Anyone reading the LA Times article can see that those last few items are "damning with faint praise", and that the article as a whole is extremely negative and disdainful. But not the Conservapedia leaders. They featured an extremely prominent banner, referring to the article, on their front page for several days, specifically mentioning that it "praises" their entries on the tuba, etc., and referring to Ms. Simon's article as a "thorough review". In fact, the folks at CP are so pleased with the article that, in addition to featuring it on their front page, they created a page about Ms. Simon.
Appendix: the change of June 26, 2007
At 00:20 on June 26, Andy Schlafly changed the headline. It no longer mentioned the praise for the entries on the tuba, etc. And it then had a pointer to some letters to the LA Times editor. The first of the two letters refers to CP as "a madrassa for right-wing extremists". And CP nevertheless linked to it. Fair and balanced! Or clueless, I'm not sure which.
"The project specifically targets high-schoolers, and that's probably what I find most dangerous," said Andreas Kjeldsen, 27, a Danish graduate student who wrote several entries on medieval history before stopping in protest.
- Hi Akjeldsen!
Even among this elite group, there's no ideological conformity. Terry Koeckritz doesn't take the creation account in the Book of Genesis literally, but he enjoys the site and spends hours writing articles on topics such as Fox News.
"It is what it is," said Koeckritz, 56, a computer consultant in Reno. "A family-friendly, Christian-friendly encyclopedia."
- It's TK!
That makes it an interesting window into a foreign world for college student Tasha D. Jones, 24, who says she loves to browse random pages and see how writers have inserted Biblical quotes or framed historical events in religious terms.
- This is Taj.
In other cases, a glance at the entry's history — which shows editing over time — makes clear how quickly dissenting views are deleted. Dr. Peter A. Lipson, an internist in Southfield, Mich., repeatedly tried to amend an article on breast cancer to tone down Conservapedia's claim that abortion raises a woman's risk. The site's administrators, including Schlafly, questioned his credentials and shut off debate.
And — by their own admission — engage in acts of cyber-vandalism.
- Who could that be?
The vandalism aims "to cause people to say, 'That Conservapedia is just wacko,'" said Brian Macdonald, 45, a Navy veteran in Murfreesboro, Tenn., who puts in several hours a day on the site fending off malicious editing.
- It's Karajou!
"I had heard it spoken of, but it had never really hit home before just how hostile they are," said a 15-year-old in New Jersey whose mother asked that her name not be used.
The girl, who is home-schooled, wrote an article for Conservapedia on Irish dancing and uses the site to research papers. But the biggest lesson she's taken away as a young conservative is: "There are people who want to destroy us."
- SharonS, of course.