Chilling story of one twisted oddball and a handful of anonymous activists who appointed themselves as censors to promote their own warped agenda on a website that’s a byword for inaccuracy.
In the modern world, bigoted oddballs who are over-familiar with the internet can wield tremendous power — and this potty-mouthed man is a case in point.
For when he’s not posting obscene images or racist sentiments, Cockram is a regular editor of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, where (according to multiple posts on his Facebook feed) he operates under the alias ‘Hillbillyholiday’.
Last month, ‘Hillbillyholiday’ was the architect of a cynical PR stunt which saw this newspaper publicly smeared by damning its journalism ‘unreliable’.
He and 52 like-minded anti-Press zealots, almost all of whom remain anonymous, collaborated in a vote which persuaded Wikipedia, the sixth most popular website in the world, that it ought to ban the Daily Mail.
The move by the online encyclopedia — which was founded in 2001 and has in a few short years become a hugely influential source of information — was revealed in the pages of the Left-wing Guardian newspaper.
It reported that Wikipedia’s editors had decided, in a democratic ballot, that the Mail’s journalism cannot be trusted.
No statistics were offered in support of this claim, which, incidentally, came days before the Mail won Sports Newspaper Of The Year for an unprecedented fourth straight time, and was shortlisted for 15 awards at the British Press Awards, the news industry’s Oscars. (Indeed, as we shall see, the Mail has an enviable record on accuracy.)
Neither did Wikipedia, nor The Guardian, bother to shed much light on how this decision was reached.
If they had, then it would have become apparent to readers that this supposed exercise in democracy took place in virtual secrecy, and that Wikipedia’s decision to censor the Mail — the only major news outlet on the face of the Earth to be so censored — was supported by a mere 53 of its editors, or 0.00018 per cent of the site’s 30 million total, plus five ‘administrators’.
Curiously, though it has now placed a ban on this paper, the website remains happy to use the state propaganda outlets of many of the world’s most repressive and autocratic Left-wing dictatorships as a source for information.
Wikipedia has not, for example, banned the Chinese government’s Xinhua news agency, Iran’s Press TV or the Kremlin mouthpiece Russia Today.