THE BLOG
11/20/2006 09:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Wikiality Has a Well-Known Colbert Bias

colbert.jpg Great news for those of us who believe opensourcing
knowledge is the way to go: Stephen Colbert's reamfest at the White
House Correspondents Dinner is a top story on Wikipedia. And since it is a open
encylopedia, as well as one that encourages everyone to add to the
public record, make sure to jump in on the entry and add facts left
behind or correct any mistakes you find. After all, he's interactive.

Colbert is one of the Internet's star children, to get all Kubrickian
about it: His fame has been equally made by his balls and Colbert
Nation's word-of-mouth. Case in point? Wikipedia devotes space to
discussion over the way the mainstream (read: crutch-creaking old)
media portrayed his performance at the Dinner as what Senator Kerry
might call one interminable botched joke. But that is right before the
entry explains how the public record of Colbert's crotch-kicker was
redeemed and fortified by the viral fingers of the internets, at the
hands of people just like you and I. And pretty much anyone who had a
brain in their heads sharpened enough by life to realize that the joke
was on all of us. Including Bush.

And those who think that Wikipedia's opensource strategy -- where the
public provides us all with those bizarre things called facts -- is
heresy, change your Depends. As if I'm ever going to trust Katie
Couric to give it to me straight. Dude, I don't know where those hands
have been. I'll take Wikipedia, thanks. Unlike the government and its
incorporated media, Wikipedia has a system of checks and balances that
would be able to sniff out something as patently lame as, say, a
fabricated WMD fairy tale? They'd have that one dead with a Wii in its
neck before it got to beta.

Plus, facts are fun. Jiggle this:

"According to CNET's News.com site, Colbert's speech became 'one of
the Internet's hottest acts.' Searches at Yahoo! on Colbert were up
5,625 percent. During the days after the roast, Google saw twice as
many searches for 'C-SPAN' (the television network that broadcast the
event) as for 'Jennifer Aniston' -- an uncommon occurrence."

Who says raw data blows as entertainment? Colbert topped Aniston! In
any other media enterprise, that's a killer headline. For Wiki, its a
run-of-the-mill fact mash. Of course, nothing ever beats reading the
naked transcript, especially when it comes to Colbert. This one
tickled in parts Colbert might not let Aniston touch:

"Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32
percent approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to
the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that
reflect what people are thinking in 'reality.' And reality has a
well-known liberal bias. ... Sir, pay no attention to the people who
say the glass is half empty, because 32 percent means it's two-thirds
empty. There's still some liquid in that glass, is my point. But I
wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash."