Feeds

The Curse of Wikipedia strikes Norman Wisdom

Graun, Mirror fall for bogus factoids

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The obituaries for Norman Wisdom have again highlighted lazy journalists' reliance on Wikipedia. This time, bogus information inserted by a drive-by prankster was upheld by a Wikipedia Administrator - and reprinted by newspapers including The Guardian and The Mirror.

Both papers yesterday told us that the late comic actor had composed Vera Lynn's classic (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover. While Wisdom was indeed a songwriter - the PRS (via ASCAP) lists seven compositions - the wartime classic wasn't one of them.

Here's the Mirror, from its "10 Things You Never Knew About Norman Wisdom":

The Mirror

Which still hasn't been corrected. The Guardian also repeated the bogus factoid. Today the Graun crowed at the Mirror's cock-up:

"Hah, what fools! Who'd trust Wikipedia without checking?"

...but coyly failed to mention its own Wiki-dependency:

"Um, er..."

It's a hard habit to kick. In March 2007, George Melly's son Tom was the first to highlight journalists' dependence on Wikipedia, here at El Reg. When Ronnie Hazlehurst died, we were the first publication to notice that the widely repeated claim that he'd come out of retirement to compose for S Club 7 - another Wikipedia factoid - wasn't in fact true.

So where did this one come from? ®

Hat-tip to reader Derk-Jan for helping us straighten out the time line, and the source of the bogofactoid

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.