CAMERA, which claims to monitor the accuracy of reporting on Israel in the American media, doesn’t feel obligated to be all that truthful itself, as I explain in my new column at the American Prospect. A CAMERA staffer organized activists to work as a group to edit Wikipedia articles on Israel – while hiding their intent and their connection to each other. Some would conceal their interest in Israel, get elected as impartial administrators, and then be able to decide disagreements between other volunteer editors.
Ineffectual as the CAMERA effort apparently was, there are several morals to the story. One is that despite the techno-idealism that Wikipedia can inspire, it’s best to approach the encyclopedia with an attitude of caveat lector, let the reader beware. The affair is also a reminder — not the first — that CAMERA is ready to exempt itself from the demands for accuracy that it aims at the media. And like others engaged in the narrative wars, it does not understand the difference between advocacy and accuracy. A true news report, the organization’s activists seem to believe, is the one that does not upset what they previously believed. It should not be news, but olds.