This is a really interesting situation...esp given the complexity of how 
Wikipedia articles are made, not to mention some confusion regarding 
open content at large. Personally, I don't think that the lack of 
attribution owes to a misunderstanding of the open content license used 
by all Wikimedia projects; I think it's laziness at best - or 
carelessness at worst.

Erik Moller posted an interesting summary of preferred ways of 
attribution when the source is Wikipedia - 
and I completely agree that a gently worded letter that encourages the 
use of Wikipedia in media reports and broadcasts but which also firmly 
clarifies that the community would like some acknowledgement, is a great 
idea. If media outlets benefit from what they've seen on Wikipedia, then 
it's only fair that Wikipedia also benefit by meriting a mention. One 
way to do this might be to have a model set of easy references, e.g. if 
the report is on the www use a link, if it is broadcast in any form in 
speech, use the project name (Wikipedia, etc.) and so on. Perhaps this 
can be done as an overall kit for Wikipedia in the media - I suspect 
that some guidance will be required.

On the subject of falsely or inaccurately cited 'facts' from Wikipedia 
being reported and thus subsequently providing a source for the 'fact' 
on Wikipedia - this is an endlessly fascinating debate on which there's 
been much discussion. Personally, it's hard to think how this could 
change unless we as a community are alert to correct frivolous edits and 
flag obvious errors before they are reported as fact. But it is also 
hard to understand why anyone would cite Wikipedia for anything other 
than short, aggregated descriptions. (It's important to note that 
reporting un-cited or dubiously cited 'facts' from Wikipedia is a 
symptom of a similar kind of media laziness as above - anyone who takes 
the trouble to understand how Wikipedia works will know that while not 
every single word in an article is cited, any significant assertion has 
to be, and in that sense, the citation of significant facts will always 
have to attributed to something other than Wikipedia). The lines between 
different kinds of words on Wikipedia are certainly thin, and this is by 
no means something that has an easy resolution.

On a lighter note, the American television comedian Stephen Colbert, in 
his usual perceptive way, has devoted much airtime to the topic of 
"wikiality" by which he means something like the problem you've 
described: see

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