Revisionist History

Posted in FML, wtf by Trevor on February 12, 2009
David Cameron was caught altering a Wikipedia article to win an arguement.

David Cameron was caught altering a Wikipedia article to win an argument.

More evidence for professors to cite when they tell you not to use Wikipedia: Tory leader David Cameron was caught altering the wikipedia entry on the painter Titian to win an argument with the Prime Minister of England about how old he was when he died.

From the Telegraph:

The argument was sparked last month when Mr Brown used an anecdote about the artist to explain the financial crisis.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he said: “I’m reminded of the story of Titian, who’s the great painter who reached the age of 90, finished the last of his nearly 100 brilliant paintings, and he said at the end of it, ‘I’m finally beginning to learn how to paint,’ and that is where we are.”

The remarks were much-mocked at the time, and yesterday Mr Cameron got a big laugh at PMQs by suggesting they showed Mr Brown never got his facts right.

“You told us the other day you were like Titian aged 90. The fact is Titian died at 86,” he said.

Initially Wikipedia is believed to have recorded the artist as having died at 90.

But in the aftermath of the exchanges, an overzealous Conservative staffer altered the the online encyclopaedia to try to prove his leader right.

At 12.34pm, Titian’s date of death was altered from 27 August 1576 to 27 August 1572.

Numerous changes have been made since, which can be tracked with software on the site. The argument is unlikely to be resolved, because academics have never been able to agree on Titian’s exact lifespan.