The World Through Pink-Colored Glasses: Wikipedia’s Leftist Editorial Distortions

Wikipedia, launched in 2001, now has more than 39 million articles. It is now informally used by millions of students as a reference by students and journalists—usually as the starting point for researching nearly any topic. Wikipedia’s entries are given great weight by search engines, such as Google, placing their articles at the top of search rankings. In the 21st Century Internet age, one can safely say: All Roads Lead to Wikipedia.

Most SurvivalBlog readers have noticed that I refer to Wikipedia as LeftistAgendapedia. I do so for good reason, as a I will explain in this essay.

Because it has mostly attracted editors (called “Wikipedians”) from academia, Wikipedia soon developed a strong leftist and anti-Christian bias. Perhaps sometimes without even realizing it, the editors of Wikipedia have let their biases show in the way that articles have been written and cultivated over the years. Though some of Wikipedia’s leftward push has been overt, most of it is cleverly subtle and promulgated through the use of the online encyclopedia’s own editing rules, the use of sockpuppets (fake editor accounts), and through the manipulation of secret agenda-pushing cabals of editors. Those wishing to distort and censor Wikipedia have become experts at “Wikilawyering”. Typically they use Neutral Point of View (NPOV) arguments and other tactics to counter any wiki content that they dislike.

The Non-Notability Cudgel

Whenever a Wikipedian dislikes a new article they often flag it for deletion. Usually, the reason given is “lack of notability”. (They use the flag “nn”, which stands for “non-notable”.) Given the leftist view of the majority of Wikipedians, many articles about subjects of interest to Constitutionalists, conservatives, libertarians, and Christians become targeted in Articles for Deletion (AfD) campaigns. The debates in these campaigns are often heated, but their result (“by consensus”) almost always exhibits a leftist bias. The end result is that more articles on leftist topics survive. Many articles are summarily deleted, but some don’t go down without a fight in the AfD process.

It is not just individual Wikipedia articles that get deleted. Entire categories are deleted. Just try to find “Category: Climate change skeptics.” It no longer exists. Poof! Down the memory hole, conveniently gone.

The 30,000 Foot View

Until quite recently, I took a “hands off” attitude toward Wikipedia. For more than a decade, I watched with bemused detachment at the flame wars over various articles. The Wikipedia biography page about me was started in 2006. In April of 2008, the biography page was targeted for deletion.

Despite the strong sales for my books and despite the fact that I was frequently interviewed by mass media news outlets, including The New York Times, that biography page just barely survived the two-month AfD campaign.

Then, in 2010, the Wikipedia article about my nonfiction book How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It was similarly targeted for deletion.

This time, despite the fact that the book had already gone through multiple printings and was a bestseller for Penguin Books, the “consensus” of Wikipedia’s editors was that the book was “not notable” enough to have a page of its own, and the article was therefore truncated and merged into the James Wesley Rawles biography page. (The prevailing attitude was “Just because a book is a bestseller doesn’t make it notable.” That is Wikipedia’s twisted logic, and they have Wikilawyered rules to back that up.)

Rather than get involved personally, I asked my readers to chime in on these AfDs, when I heard about them. Noticing some errors of fact in my biography page that chronically went uncorrected, I finally created the James Wesley, Rawles account in April of 2015. After making just a few minor corrections, my reward was to have the biography page flagged with a Conflict of Interest (COI) tag. Henceforth, the first thing that people have seen when they bring up the James Rawles biography page is the warning: “A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. It may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia’s content policies, particularly neutral point of view.” (So much for trying to do the right thing in the Wiki world.)

The Cabals

The root of the problem with Wikipedia– is the existence of secret cabals of agenda-pushing editors. These cabals are most apparent in the edit-warring campaigns on topics like gun control, homosexuality, pedophilia, and abortion.

The very existence of cabals is denied, and the phrase “There is No Cabal” (TINC) was used as far back as 1995 on Usenet. The TINC phrase is “…used as a pseudo-ironic statement, since presumably an insider or someone who knows “the cabal” would inevitably deny that there is a cabal.”

The cabals grow by a sly but simple method: A cabal member notices edits being made to an article of interest by someone who is obviously like-minded. He contacts that editor via their User “Talk” page and offers his e-mail address. Once they have established private contact, they immediately remove the comments to their respective Talk pages. They then conspire to maintain Watch Lists on articles of interest. They then take turns tendentiously editing articles, in attempt to wear down anyone with a different opinion or politics. These tag-teamed edit wars rage on month after month, often with attempts to edit, restrict, block, or cancel the accounts of other editors. Through Wikilawyering, they gradually bash many of their opponents into submission.

Wikipedia is now influenced by paid editors, in the employ of “reputation management” companies. The work of these paid editors brings the legitimacy of all of Wikipedia’s Bibliographies of Living Persons (BLPs) into question. Even worse than manipulative editing in Wikipedia are its outright lies and hoaxes that end up in print in magazines and newspapers with alarming regularity. Many of these hoaxes have gone on for years. For a good case in point, see: Wikipedia Seigenthaler biography incident

Wikipedia itself admits: “Mere hours after the death of French composer Maurice Jarre, Irish student Shane Fitzgerald added a phony quote to Jarre’s Wikipedia article. The quote said “One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear.” The quote was quickly copy/pasted by journalists and incorporated into numerous obituaries of Jarre published in newspapers around the world, including The Guardian and The Independent.”

The Cures

There are only two cures for Wikipedia’s now deeply entrenched bias. First, a larger number of Constitutionalists, conservatives, libertarians, and Christians need to get involved in watching Wikipedia and correcting errors. Second, the alternatives to Wikipedia (such as Conservapedia) should be promoted. Both of these will take lots of time and effort. However, failure to invest this time will result in Wikipedia’s leftist cabals continuing to predominate. If they continue to distort and censor Wikipedia unchallenged, then they will have won their part of The Culture War.

Oh, by the way: Don’t go looking in Wikipedia for an article on “The Culture War”. It was deleted. Nor should you bother with looking for the Wikipedia article on “Wikipedia Cabals”. It no longer exists. In fact the word “cabal” does not even appear in the “Criticism of Wikipedia” wiki page, and that entire criticism page has been nominated for deletion seven times. Still, it has somehow survived, now with a new and improved unblemished sheen. You see, all of the most incisive criticisms are quickly removed by sharp-eyed Wikipedians as soon as they appear. – JWR

Further Reading: