We recently discussed a Wall Street Journal opinion piece
by its former publishers, L. Gordon Crovitz, in which he made some fantastically false claims
about the origins of the internet. What was noteworthy was that while the WSJ got the story so totally wrong, lots of others, including bloggers, leapt into the fray to explain why Crovitz was wrong. Almost everyone he sourced or credited to support his argument that the internet was invented entirely privately at Xerox PARC and when Vint Cerf helped create TCP/IP, has spoken out to say he's wrong. And that list includes both Vint Cerf, himself,
. Other sources, including Robert Taylor (who was there when the internet was invented) and Michael Hiltzik
, have rejected Crovitz's spinning of their own stories.
Basically, anyone and everyone is telling the WSJ that it got this story totally and completely wrong. You might think the WSJ would start making some corrections. Instead, it's made one single correction:
That was a pretty minor correction, involving Crovitz being confused about how to understand how blockquotes work in HTML. But what about all of the other factual errors, including whoppers like saying that Tim Berners-Lee invented hyperlinks? Of course, considering the very premise of the article and nearly all of its supporting factoids were in error, it raises questions about how you do such a correction, other than crossing out the whole thing and posting a note admitting to the error (none of which has yet been done). Given the widespread discussion online about these errors -- both in blogs and in traditional media, it seems like the company's silence about the whole thing is just making the problem worse. Why won't the WSJ step up and issue a real correction on all of the errors?