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Stephen Colbert Gives Wikipedia a C*ck-Punch

.: On Monday night, Stephen Colbert nailed Wikipedia on “The Word” segment of The Colbert Report. The “word” on the 31 July 2006 episode was wikiality, the antidote to reality. As Colbert noted, “All we need to do is convince a majority of people that some factoid is true, for instance, uh, I don’t know, that Africa has more elephants today than it did ten years ago”, and it will be considered true, even if it isn’t true (it isn’t) – an example of wikiality in action. (Wikiality is related to truthiness, which “refers to the quality of stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.”) On the show, Colbert encouraged his viewers to find the Wikipedia article on elephants and edit it to suggest that the population has tripled in the past six months.

Well, enough viewers began working on the Wikipedia site that at least 20 elephant-related entries were temporarily locked down by the Wikipedia moderator(s), as well as the Colbert Report entry. Read: I Blocked Stephen Colbert on Wikipedia, by Andrew (Talkerblog), the moderator in question. Andrew wants Colbert to put him “on notice” for blocking him, but Colbert appears to be ignoring him so far. Extensive coverage appeared quickly on sites like Techdirt, Newsvine, CNET News, and John Q chronicled the gritty details here. Much discussion is ensuing on the Wikipedia discuss page, Talk: The Colbert Report, about the show and the fallout on the Wikipedia site.

Nicely timed, The Onion nailed Wikipedia as well this week, with its headline, “Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years of American Independence.” My favorite line from the article: “While other news and information websites chose to mark the anniversary in a muted fashion, if at all, Wikipedia gave it prominent emphasis over other important historical events from the same day, including the independence of the nation of Africa in 1847, the 1984 ascension of Constantine to Emperor of the Holy Roman Emperor, and the 1998 birth of Smokey, a calico cat belonging to Mark and Becky Rousch of Erie, PA.” (The Onion’s take on the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup victory is hilariously funny.)

One Response to “Stephen Colbert Gives Wikipedia a C*ck-Punch”

  1. Garth Danielson Says:

    That show sure is funny. I’ve been a fan of Colbert for years. I liked the Strangers With Candy show he did with Amy Sedaris. That sure wasn’t to everyone’s taste. Most of the people I know did not like it…too weird. Sure made me laugh.

    I had been watching alot of old episodes of the Daily Show this last year. Dubbing them to dvdr and Colbert shows up in about the second season quite well formed but a bit rawer. When I watched a lot of shows over a long period of time I can see him growing into the character he is now. I am betting I have some 1500 shows on tape or disc. I miss some of the old reporters on the daily show. Some where only around for a while. I’m sure glad I kept copies of them. The only show I missed that I really would like to see is the episode where they come back after the world trade center bombing and Jon cries. I didn’t catch that, didn’t know it was on. Someday i am betting I will find it. I know there are people out there trading discs etc but i haven’t looked very much for them. I have more than I can watch as it is without trading for more.

    see ya on the boob toob


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