Feeds

The Curse of Wikipedia strikes Norman Wisdom

Graun, Mirror fall for bogus factoids

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.