Category Archives: wikepedia

freedom forum founder wants less freedom online

For just over four months, a biography of Freedom Forum Founder John Seigenthaler that appeared on Wikipedia,, and claimed — incorrectly — that he was once a suspect in the assasination of both John and Robert Kennedy. Last month, Seigenthaler found out about it, and he got angry. Very angry.
In fact, he got angry enough to write a November 29 editorial in USA Today complaining about Federal laws that protect online corporations like Wikiepedia from libel lawsuits and protect the anonymity of the person who published false information about him online.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s certainly a serious problem that Seigenthaler’s biography contained false information (I haven’t been able to determine yet whether the assassination rumor is an artifact of the vast Kennedy conspiracy rumor mill, or whether it was a pure invention of the phony biographer — anyone know?). And the flaws in Wikipedia are a real issue. But I’m still astonished that one of the nation’s great free speech advocates seems to be advocating systemic changes to legislation that protects not only prank speech, but political speech online.
Is it that Seigenthaler feels (but does not say) that there is a fundamental difference between print media and online? Or is this a case of someone knowing Seigenthaler’s Achille’s heel, and publishing the one rumor about him that would cause him to seemingly contradict his basic principles?