SourceWatch

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Image:Sourcewatch logo.png
SourceWatch's logo features a magnifying glass through which its name can be seen.

SourceWatch (formerly Disinfopedia) describes itself as "a collaborative project that aims to produce a directory of public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests."

The stated SourceWatch policy for WikiWiki editors is "fairness and accuracy" rather than a neutral point of view policy. [1]. The project's sponsor is the research group Center for Media and Democracy; Bob Burton is SourceWatch editor [2] and the main contact for the project and provides a degree of oversight as an analyst on public relations. SourceWatch has a left-wing, liberal outlook on issues.

The directory is available on the web as a Wiki, maintained by a community of interested users worldwide. When SourceWatch began, any visitor to the site could edit existing articles and create new ones. In April, 2006, however, SourceWatch changed its policy to require that users register and log in before editing. (Unregistered visitors can still read all the material.) SourceWatch was started on January 15, 2003 and publicly launched with 200 articles on March 10, 2003. Conservative estimates put the number of articles in SourceWatch at over 5000 as of July 2004,[3]. Content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Since the SourceWatch style is to often extensively quote other news articles, the SourceWatch article will, in many cases, have extensive external links.


[edit] Criticism of SourceWatch

The neutrality of this section is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.

Critics claim that most of the project's investigative and critical articles are aimed and directed at conservatives, those who are right-of center and Republican Party organizations and individuals. The Center for Media and Democracy, which sponsors SourceWatch, has also focused on individuals within companies, lobby groups as well as academics, analysts and media. The site's section on "How to research front groups"[4] includes a section on researching conservative groups, but no section on researching liberal or leftwing groups.

Sourcewatch has been criticised by conservatives and opponents of environmentalism for its political stance. Alan Caruba, who describes himself as a critic of "environmental propaganda' writes "Source Watch is a project of the Center of Media & Democracy, a left-wing organization that devotes a lot of time to attacking the public relations profession in general and conservative writers in particular."[5].

The website ActivistCash.com, operated by industry lobby group the Center for Consumer Freedom, describes the Center for Media & Democracy, the organisation behind SourceWatch, as "a counterculture public relations effort disguised as an independent media organization... it is essentially a two-person operation" run by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber. ActivistCash adds "If someone in a shirt and tie dares make a profit (especially if food or chemicals are involved), Rampton and Stauber are bound to have a problem with it." [6] The Centre is funded by organisations, described by ActivistCash as 'leftwing', such as the Homeland Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the DJB Foundation, the Carolyn Foundation, and the Foundation for Deep Ecology.CMD Financials.

Much like other Wiki-systems, content disputes arise on SourceWatch. SourceWatch administrators have been accused of preventing other members from making edits that the administrators are opposed to.[citation needed] SourceWatch opposes contributors deleting information on the basis that it is old and therefore irrelevant. SourceWatch policy is that relevant information does not cease to be relevant merely because time has passed. For example, Sourcewatch does not delete people from a listing of an organisation's personnel merely because they've left that organisation. However, the fact their status has changed is recognised by moving them to a "Former personnel" section.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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SourceWatch

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