- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Chalk it up to summer boredom and the invention of WikiScanner that we now learn of the idle, unknown New York Times employee with the keen political mind and wit of a 12-year-old. On the Web site Wikipedia, the New York Times reports this week, this unknown person changed Condoleezza Rice from an accomplished “pianist” to an accomplished part of the male anatomy. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt (and we’re pretty sure it would be a “him”): He filled his free afternoon with aspirations to “South Park.” This locker-room hangers-on is better than the Times employee who made “jerk” the watchword on President Bush’s Wikipedia entry — 12 times. Our urbane social betters, hard at work.

Maybe it’s just in the air, this mid-August and supposed downtime, when people drop their guard. So it would seem for the Seattle Times newsroom employees who cheered the announcement of Karl Rove’s resignation. Said a rightly abashed Executive Editor Dave Boardman: “That sort of expression is simply not appropriate for a newsroom.” Right on, but then he descended into the weird: “A good newsroom is a sacred and magical place.” Sacred? Magical? This fellow has obviously never before been in a newsroom, where assumptions are supposed to be challenged and facts checked. Truth is something best left to others — philosophers and theologians, perhaps.

Credit goes to the New York Times, not the Seattle Times, for its self-inspection, undertaken during a test-run of the truly wonderful WikiScanner, which found CIA employees whiling the day with changes to Wikipedia, or the unknown employee at The Washington Post who made the publisher of the freebie Washington Examiner, Philip Anschutz, ever so briefly into “Charles Manson.” There was the ExxonMobil employee who discounted the 1998 Exxon Valdez oil spill. The Internet brings out something in people, only sometimes the best. In their summertime boredom, we get a view of what they’re like when they think no one is looking.

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