Ryan Grim at The Politico reports on the efforts of the National Institute on Drug Abuse to remove the Wikipedia information about them that is controversial, and replace it with glowing propaganda.
In late August, someone with an IP address that originated from the National Institutes of Health drastically edited the Wikipedia entry for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which operates within NIH. Wikipedia determined the edit to be vandalism and automatically changed the definition back to the original. On Sept. 18, the NIH vandal returned, according to a history of the site’s edits posted by Wikipedia. This time, the definition was gradually changed, presumably to avoid the vandalism detector.
NIDA spokeswoman Dorie Hightower confirmed that her agency was behind the editing. She said in an e-mail that the definition was changed “to reflect the science.”
A little more than science-reflecting was done to the site. Gone first was the “Controversial research” section that included comments critical of NIDA. Next went the section on the NIDA-sponsored program that grows marijuana for research and medical purposes. The next slice of the federal editor’s knife left all outside references on the cutting-room floor, replaced with links to government Web sites.
One of the things they cut, by the way, was a link to Drug WarRant that was on the page.
Today, much of the original material is back up — Wikipedia doesn’t react well to censorship.
If you’d like to see what the page looked like at various stages, you can actually see its history (scroll down on each page past the two columns of change indications to see the look and content of the page at that time).
- Page after NIDA’s first blatant attempt to wipe it clean
- Page restored as it was
- Page at one point when Drug WarRant was listed as an outside resource
- Page after later gradual attempt to turn it into a pro-NIDA propaganda page.
- Page as it currently exists (which, as of this moment, even includes a section with links to today’s articles regarding NIDA’s attempt to take over the page.)
They saw an opportunity. Nobody wants to go to the drug warrior sites and read their propaganda, so they decided to make Wikipedia’s entry over in the way they wished. It doesn’t work that way.
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