Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Mythopedia opens; wiki built to expose 'conservative misinformation'

Media Matters launched a wiki of its own on Wednesday, called Mythopedia. Think of it as a Wikipedia-type site, but one focused on what Media Matters calls "conservative misinformation." The site's launch was announced by TPM and Media Matters itself, in an email sent by its media representative.

The website's unveiling was timed to coincide -- a day before -- with the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Bradley Beychok, President of Media Matters, issued the following statement about Mythopedia’s launch:
Whether it is a relative claiming that global warming can’t be real because of a snowstorm in the middle of winter or a prominent conservative writer calling Barack Obama an "ideological Muslim," everyone encounters right-wing myths in everyday life. Mythopedia puts the facts about these myths at your fingertips. This tool is the next step in pushing back on conservative misinformation.

The week of CPAC seemed like the most appropriate time to launch a fact-checking tool, like Mythopedia, as I’m sure we’re going to be confronted with both old and new right-wing lies during the conference.
The site's front page is very simple. It mostly consists of an edit box, into which users can type a search term. The query brings up "lies" or "truths" bundled together, with truths offsetting the lies.

For example, "Obama is a muslim" will bring up:
LIE: Hillary Clinton was behind the smear that Barack Obama was educated in a madrassa

TRUTH: The smear that Obama attended a madrassa originated on an obscure right-wing website
A user can then click "See entry" to see the full entry on the matter.

The site is has opened with 400 entries and will be updated on a regular basis. Media Matters will begin soliciting tips and feedback from its audience; the site says it might even move highly involved individuals into a more prominent role.

Media Matters Executive Vice President Angelo Carusone told TPM:
We're going to be launching a new action site fairly soon for our online audience and I think part of the idea would be that we start moving over people that are highly engaged audience members into this higher level of authentication where they're creating entries and waiting for review. So the editor wouldn't just be the primary person creating entries; we would start opening up that process up for allies and for our audience and to create their own.

And as long as [the entry] satisfies our editorial standards and is accurate we would then publish that entry. But we didn't want to start from that out of the gate because we basically didn't want to detract from the primary purpose which is that authoritative source.
The embedded video is a walk-through video of the site created by Media Matters.

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