The Egyptian (wiki) coup

I’ve found it surprising how nearly blasé the mainstream Western press has been about recent events in Egypt.  Not that the events haven’t been described as important, but rather how quickly the press has devolved to a simple ends-justify-the-means analysis (epitomized in this hugely disappointing David Brooks piece).  The ousting of a democratically-elected leader by the military – with or without huge popular support – is far from a clear-cut turn of events in the Arab world’s largest democracy.

It’s also amazing to see how much the world has changed, that major political events unfold in real time online, including on Wikipedia, where a page titled “2013 Egyptian coup d’etat” apparently went live three days before Morsi was ousted.  In a microcosm over the battle of language that’s ensuing in all circles, there’s fierce debate on that Wikipedia page about whether to call the events a “revolution” or a “coup,” and I find it more interesting still to consider whether and why it would make sense for Wiki-zens to defer to the popular press in defining the terms of debate (an argument made by some in favor of objectivity).

The Wikipedia entry is here, 135 citations and all,  and if you’ve never peaked behind the scenes of a hotly-contested Wikipedia page, now’s your chance.  A nice summary of the unfolding of Wikipedia events can be found on the Foreign Policy blog.

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