SourceWatch Updates

Volunteer contributors continue to be the mainstay of SourceWatch, our open-source encylopedia of the people, organizations and issues shaping the public agenda. SourceWatch (formerly the "Disinfopedia") is a "wiki," which means that anyone (including you) can edit existing articles or create new ones about the topics of your choice. Since its launch in 2003, it has become the 14th-largest wiki on the Internet, and usage continues to grow. It now includes more than 7,400 articles. In July approximately 1.86 million pages from SourceWatch were served to web users.

Some of the topics that contributors have worked on in the last week include:

  • The precautionary principle, which holds that, "When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically." Environmental activists have argued that this principle should guide for public policy decisions. User "Maynard," one of our regular SourceWatch contributors, added section to the article providing a definition of the principle and examples of cases where it has actually been used as a basis for policy decisions.
  • Levick Strategic Communications, a PR firm that has handled the media on a number of high-profile matters, including Napster, the 2000 Florida election recount, the Catholic Church during its sex-abuse scandals, the tobacco industry, prisoner detentions at Guantanamo, and the Rosie O’Donnell/Rosie magazine lawsuit. Company owner Richard S. Levick recently wrote an article titled "A Virtual Omnipresent Enemy: Defending Clients Against Blog Attacks," in which he described weblogs as "pure stealth warfare ... Tactically, blogs pose far greater threats than any other kind of online attack."
  • User "Artificial Intelligence," another regular SourceWatch contributor, has added an article about the website, which serves up news from a conservative viewpoint and also runs a number of money-making tie-ins, such as selling politically-oriented merchandise (clothing, posters, books) showcasing stars of the Republican Party.
  • I've done some work myself on the citizen journalism article, adding a definition, examples, and links to other articles about this growing form of alternative journalism.
  • Thanks to users "Neoconned" and "Hugh Manatee" (clever names, guys), we've also expanded several articles about think tanks, including the Asia-Pacific Foundation, a UK-based "International Policy Assessment Group," as well as the Center for the New West, a conservative think tank based in Boise, Idaho. And we've started an entirely new article about the Power and Interest News Report, an "independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations."

Of course, all of these articles can benefit from further editing and refinement. Can you help? Documenting and uncovering public relations campaigns is an ongoing research project. If you'd like to participate, become a SourceWatch volunteer contributor and help add to or edit these and other articles. It's free to sign up, and we'd love to have you join us.