Today, let's learn a new word: "citogenesis". Defined as circular reporting, it is a symptom of Wikipedia. Here's how it works:
- Some jackass goes on Wikipedia and edits a page with false information.
- A news source picks up that source of information and publishes it without double-checking.
- Someone goes on Wikipedia and adds a reference to the false information... from the place that cited it.
And that is citogenesis! After the reference got added, good luck getting Wikipedia to remove it! Especially if it was referenced in a reputable source...
Some instances of citogensis have lived on Wikipedia for years. One example is Soviet KGB agent and one-time Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov. At some point, an antisemitic rumor appeared that his father's name was Finkelstein. That got posted on Wikipedia, picked up by supposedly reputable sources, got cross-referenced... Bam! Primakov is Finkelstein!
Well, Primakov is not Finkelstein, or at least is not likely to be Finkelstein, for those old KGB agents often falsified their biographies. Here's the funny thing: he was actually Jewish, but on his mother's side!
Someone better make sure Wikipedia is corrected, but don't reference our website, please! We don't want to become a source of citogenesis...