An Open Letter to John Siegenthaler
Dear Mr. Siegenthaler,
I read your recent Op-Ed piece in USA Today attacking Wikipedia. I know you worked at USA Today for a long time and frankly, it shows. If you weren't a former bigwig there, they never would have allowed such an overly-emotional, unresearched, wildly accusatory piece of drivel onto the pages of such a serious newspaper. Oh, wait, USA Today? Nevermind.
Also, to be even more frank, you are a whiny little baby and a gigantic jerk. Yeah, I know, someone linked you to the Kennedy assassination on Wikipedia and that made you upset. It probably would've made me upset, too, frankly. But you don't take to the pages of USA Today to make a big stink about a website THAT YOU OBVIOUSLY DON'T UNDERSTAND! Why? Because it's not responsible journalism. Not that USA Today was ever been accused of that.
How do I know you don't understand it? Because instead of simply changing the information yourself, like most other Wikipedia readers would do if they read obviously false information, you tried to track down the guy who did it. Guess what? He was doing it as a joke on a co-worker who, like you, was obviously gullible enough to believe things they read on the Internet. If he'd known that someone who's as intelligent as you are supposed to be would've been hurt by it, he never would've written it. But he just assumed you wouldn't be stupid enough to do that. Oopsie. And he had to resign from his job because of you. Have you apologized to him?
Of course you haven't. Because you're a jerk. AGH, this makes me so angry, if you can't tell. I see this over and over. The big cheese gets offended over something stupid, and raises all sorts of hell about it, while everyone around them rolls their eyes and is forced to patronize their anger. Your anger is not justified, John Siegenthaler. Not justified at all.
And have you apologized to the Wikipedia people? The poor Wikipedia guy had to submit to interviews to defend one of the most amazing innovations of the 21st century. If you weren't old and foolish, you would realize that Wikipedia is the Human Language Genome Project.
Also, the Tennessean newspaper, of which you are apparently chairman emeritus, says that Wikipedia is "used as a serious reference tool". By people from Tennessee, maybe. But seriously, after all the controversy, your reporter has the nerve to write this, and it's left, unchallenged by any editors-- after this whole controversy. Dude, seriously.
Wanna know what really ticks me off? The quote that ends the article in the Tennessean. Allow me: "...it doesn't lessen my frustration that anybody can put anything on Wikipedia." Apparently, someone missed the whole open source wave. Hey, Wikipedia has a great article on it.
By the way, since you founded The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, I think that makes it pretty effing ironic that you might kill free speech on the Internet.
Here's the point, John. If I, a 24-year-old quasi-journalist, know better than to source anything from Wikipedia, especially to friggin' quote it, then you, a chairman emeritus of a newspaper, should know better, too. So either get with the program, or shut up and go die already.