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Wikipedia Happy Ending: Wisdom of Crowds at Work

Wow, last week, I tried to make a correction to the Wikipedia entry about Spin (when it referred to Bill Oreilly). My suggestion was promptly deleted. However, I’m happy to report that the section has been rewritten (and incorporated into the section on Public Relations), and actually it’s much better:

The American radio and television talk-show host Bill O’Reilly, who is often considered a spokesman for conservatism, has called his television show The O’Reilly Factor “The No Spin Zone”, emphasizing his own purported dislike of the phenomenon. [“Despite the mix of views in the letters selected for on-air reading, columnists and news broadcasters routinely call him a conservative pundit, a label whose accuracy he denies” (Bill O’Reilly).] Some other American talk and radio-show hosts and commentators, such as Keith Olbermann, who maintains an on-going “feud with Bill O’Reilly,” and who himself has been tagged with being more liberal in his views, mock O’Reilly’s epithet “no spin zone” suggesting his own avoidance of “spin” to be just another instance of spin from “the other side.” [Olbermann frequently labels O’Reilly as “The Worst Person in the World” in one of his segments on his own show Countdown, which airs at the same time as The O’Reilly Factor on rival cable network MSNBC.] Such commentators on politics, despite their prominent roles in mainstream-media journalism, which purports to maintain objectivity, at times and sometimes even often seem engaged in the very phenomenon of spin that they deride. Many such commentators and their featured on-air media consultants, commonly termed “talking heads” or pundits, come to programs on radio,television, and in publishing from prior professional careers in public relations and politics, sometimes even as former political campaign directors or speech writers for political figures; for those who do, mastering the “art” of spin has already been an important part of their past work experience, and it may lead not only to their acute understanding and critique of the phenomenon but also to their supreme ability to continue practicing it in ever-more subtle ways.

I don’t know how much credit I can properly take here. It’s apparent that my concern needed to be addressed, and yet I admit it might have seemed unduly partisan. The person who handled the rewrite has a good mastery of the Wikipedia style, and I’m not sure I could ever master it.

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