By Tank Murdoch

(TNS) There is a saying in America, “You get what you pay for,” which means, basically, don’t be surprised if the cheapest option is seldom the best option.

This old axiom certainly applies to Wikipedia, the “free encyclopedia.” There’s a reason it’s “free” — it isn’t very accurate.

There’s a dirty little secret about Wikipedia in academic circles: Students at most reputable institutions of higher learning are forbidden from citing it as a reference in scholarly papers because it’s not an accurate source of information.

Rather, many of its passages are written and edited by non-experts who are some of the most radical Leftists you’ll find in the academic world, who often skew entries to reflect their personal political biases. Even Wikipedia says it’s not a reliable source.

Another example of this bias surfaced this week as the organization debates whether to rename the “Spanish flu” the “1918 Influenza Pandemic” because it’s racist and stuff and besides, they don’t like that President Donald Trump is correctly blaming China for coronavirus by calling it the “China virus.”

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On the talk page featuring the “Spanish flu” entry there is now much debate about renaming the epidemic, as documented by National File:

  • “It is well established today that this flu was neither originated nor particularly spread in Spain. Furthermore, it is also well established that naming pandemias after regions is misleading (from a mechanistic point of view) and also stigmatizing. Why not having then the official name 1918 flu as the primary article name which other names redirect to?”
  • “The other context I see is that the term ‘Spanish flu’ is a product of a historical and more prejudiced era trying to apply blame to a culture. The Spanish–American War was just before this and there was still American intent to blame Spanish for anything bad.”
  • “1918-19 flu pandemic is a well-used and well-recognised term, very possibly the most-used and the most-recognised term. I suspect Spanish flu could actually be the less well-known name in the UK; maybe I’m an exception but I don’t think I heard the term ‘Spanish flu’ for a long time after I knew about the event.”
  • “Not that it matters, but I actually knew this in passing as the 1918 pandemic; I only became aware that it was also called the Spanish flu recently (during the current COVID-19 pandemic).”
  • “Support, for the same reason we should consider renaming towns/rivers with prejudicial names.”
  • “It is simply irresponsible to call this the stigmatic name when alternatives exist and are overwhelmingly used by reliable sources. We should also include a ‘Right wing conspiracy theory’ section that addresses the debunked claim being repeated here that the name is only being changed because of COVID-19. I can find us some sources that identify the origin of this conspiracy theory as a bad faith attempt to mask the sinophobia of the Trump administration by comparing it to terms that have been defunct for decades.”
  • “As Wikieditors are trying to literally change the history in this encyclopedia to prevent (or they hope to prevent) contemporaries from calling the current crisis the “Wuhan” or “China coronavirus” epidemic. An encyclopedia is no place for this retconning nonsense. Shame on you, and on what you’ve done in the coronavirus article.
  • “I have heard this term a couple of times in my life, all of which were in the last week. Every other time this phenomenon has been referred to it is under the title ‘Spanish Flu.’ The concept that this terminology that dates to a century ago is somehow inadequate is a farce being pushed by people who are interested mostly in politics, not in medicine, history, or medical history.”
  • “I’m sure you haven’t actually met someone who has a stigmatized view of Spanish people because a virus is colloquially named after it, as many viruses are.”
  • “This would be a totally pointless move, the pandemic is widely known as the Spanish flu, the only reason this is being proposed is because of modern political controversies, which are totally irrelevant to Wikipedia.”
  • “We wouldn’t be here if Wuhan coronavirus wasn’t in the title of the original name of the article everyone’s reading these days. Changing this article title at this time is dangerous to the entire Wikipedia project: how far will the newspeak project go?”

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But then, some rationality:

  • “Why the sudden interest in moving this now? The only reason I can see for the timing is that it is support the Chinese Communist Party propaganda. The World Health Organisation went along with renaming the Wuhan Coronavirus COVID-19 because the People’s Republic of China is one of their major donors. Is wikipedia also bought and paid for?”

Naturally, Leftists everywhere are hopping on the ‘rename the Spanish flu’ bandwagon because it’s the latest fashionable way to protest President Trump,.

The Biden campaign, for instance, now believes this issue of renaming the Spanish flu is much more important than, say, relaying the prospective 2020 Democratic presidential nominee’s pandemic policies as they relate to the current outbreak…of “China virus.”

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Oh, good. Glad to see the Democratic candidate is on top of what will be, we’re sure, the most important issue of the 2020 campaign. Eye roll, please.

Meanwhile, this is just the latest example of Wikipedia absurdity and bias. But then, remember, you get what you pay for.


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