I love Wikipedia. I donated thousands of dollars to the Wikimedia Foundation.
Before Wikipedia, all we had were printed encyclopedias — out of date by the time we bought them.
Then libertarian Jimmy Wales came up with a web-based, crowd-sourced encyclopedia.
Crowd-sourced? A Britannica editor called Wikipedia “a public restroom.” But Wales won the battle. Britannica’s encyclopedias are no longer printed.
Congratulations to Wales.
But recently I learned that Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger now says Wikipedia’s political pages have turned into leftist “propaganda.”
That’s upsetting. Leftists took over the editing?
Sadly, yes. I checked it out.
All editing is done by volunteers. Wales hoped there would be enough diverse political persuasions that biases would be countered by others.
But that’s not what’s happening.
Leftists just like to write.
Conservatives build things: companies, homes, farms. You see the pattern comparing political donations from different professions:
Surgeons, oil workers, truck drivers, loggers and pilots lean right.
Artists, bartenders, librarians, reporters and teachers lean left.
Conservatives don’t have as much time to tweet or argue on the web. Leftists do. And they love doing it. This helps them take over the media, universities and, now, Wikipedia.
Jonathan Weiss is what Wikipedia calls a “Top 100” Wikipedian because he’s made almost half a million edits. He says he’s noticed new bias. “Wikipedia does a great job on things like science and sports, but you see a lot of political bias come into play when you’re talking current events.”
Weiss is no conservative. In presidential races, he voted for Al Gore, Ralph Nader and Barack Obama. Never for a Republican. “I’ve really never identified strongly with either political party,” he says.
Maybe that’s why he notices the new Wikipedia bias.
“People on the left far outweigh people on the center and the right…a lot (are) openly socialist and Marxist.” Some even post pictures of Che Guevara and Lenin on their own profiles.
These are the people who decide which news sources Wikipedia writers may cite. Wikipedia’s approved “Reliable sources” page rejects political reporting from Fox but calls CNN and MSNBC “reliable.”
Good conservative outlets like The Federalist, The Daily Caller and The Daily Wire are all deemed “unreliable.” Same with the New York Post (That’s probably why Wikipedia called Hunter Biden’s emails a conspiracy theory even after other liberal media finally acknowledged that they were real).
While it excludes Fox, Wikipedia approves even hard left media like Vox, Slate, The Nation, Mother Jones and Jacobin, a socialist publication.
Until recently, Wikipedia’s “socialism” and “communism” pages made no mention of the millions of people killed by socialism and communism. Even now, deaths are “deep in the article,” says Weiss, “treated as an arcane academic debate. But we’re talking about mass murder!”
The communism page even adds that we cannot ignore the “lives saved by communist modernization”! This is nuts.
Look up “concentration and internment camps” and you’ll find, along with the Holocaust, “Mexico-United States border,” and under that, “Trump administration family separation policy.”
What? Former President Donald Trump’s border controls, no matter how harsh, are very different from the Nazi’s mass murder.
Wikipedia does say “anyone can edit.” So I made a small addition for political balance, mentioning that President Barack Obama built those cages.
My edit was taken down.
I wrote Wikipedia founder Wales to say that if his creation now uses only progressive sources, I would no longer donate.
He replied, “I totally respect the decision not to give us more money. I’m such a fan and have great respect for you and your work.” But then he said it is “just 100% false … that ‘only globalist, progressive mainstream sources’ are permitted.”
He gave examples of left-wing media that Wikipedia rejects, like Raw Story and Occupy Democrats.
I’m glad he rejects them. Those sites are childishly far-left.
I then wrote again to ask why “there’s not a single right-leaning media outlet Wiki labels ‘reliable’ about politics, (but) Vox, Slate, The Nation, Mother Jones, CNN, MSNBC” get approval.
Wales then stopped responding to my emails.
Unless Wikipedia’s bias is fixed, I’ll be skeptical reading anything on the site.
17 thoughts on “Wikipedia Bias”
As a former bartender, I resent the assertion that we lean left. And I would be equally offended is you said that we leaned right. If anything, bartenders are moderates…it’s the nature of the business we are in.
You can fix whatever you want in Wiki. It will be deleted quickly. If you repeat, you will be deleted.
If you tell what’s happening, you’ll be given a politician’s answer. (Several sentences that say absolutely nothing.)
I’ve found myself double checking even the most neutral info in wiki. As in, “are you sure that is the correct order for the Marvel movie series?” The scary part is sometimes they can’t even get neutral info correct.
John was generalizing. Stereotyping. My guess is your organization is a “tech” firm where “engineers and scientists” means software developers and data people. Not people that deal with physical things that cannot break the laws of physics. Of course, there are left-leaning mechanical engineers, etc. In general, I believe you will find Jonn’s statement to be true. And, if not true, it is because the left-leaning mob attempts to silence all dissent among their groups and is largely effective, as witnessed by Wikipedia.
I work in an organization that “builds things”. We have engineers, scientists, managers and executives. Most voted Democrat in the last election. So your statements stereotyping liberals is…well, you’re a journalist so what else would I expect? Sorry, I don’t have further time to argue or make my “leftist” points.
Stossel wrote about the generalization. Your claims, which I can’t know to be true, are about a specific company. Stossel isn’t claiming that your entire company can’t be populated with fools. He is saying that on average certain occupations are more held by conservatives, and others are more held by liberals. There was absolutely nothing incorrect about his claim.
What took you so long Jon?
Amazing how people find an example of a conservative teacher or a liberal truck driver and make the leap to “Stossel, you’re full of crap.” He’s talking in tendencies, folks … more likely to than not. And he’s right.
I stoped donating years ago, when I read about Ronald Reagan and the text basically insinuated that he wasn’t as a good as a president and highlighted irrelevant negative incidents … clearly attempting to diminish the facts about the most amazing president we ever had. Now if you read about Clinton and Obama…
I once made the mistake of asking (in the only help desk forum I found available there) why Wiki labels pretty much all moderates and right-leaning conservatives/libertarians as “(far) right-wing” conspiracists, etc.
I was quickly (in minutes) notified that, should I attempt such questioning again, I would be permanently banned on the platform. Pleasant people. I suppose I got my answer.
Now I understand better why my daughters teachers don’t consider Wikipedia a reliable source of information. It’s super sad that that we no longer appear to appreciate historians and real history in the making. True research and unbiased information is becoming a dinosaur! What a horrible legacy to leave our children.
As a teacher, my experience is that those that teach business and history TEND to be conservative, those that teach language, math, and science TEND to be liberal.
Again, these are tendencies, NOTHING is absolute.
I mean, Stossel is, himself, a reporter, but from this article and others, it would appear that he leans to the right.
Didn’t take long, spending time and effort trying to help the project by entering credible information (with references) which were always deleted… before I understood how little actual valuable information there was on wiki. Hence the birth of the saying, “I read it on the internet, it must be true.” *reference needed LOL – I believe the new term for things like wiki is: “Dog Water”
I’m a professor and advise my students that they cannot cite Wikipedia in their papers because it is not authoritative. As John’s article and the above comments well illustrate, most of the final editing on everything from politics to economics to biographies is performed by left-wing ideologues who use the site to peddle an agenda and spread propaganda.
BTW, Larry Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia, refers to it as “broken beyond repair” due to its bias and left-wing tilt.
John your commentary on Wikipedia bias was outstanding. Hope you don’t mind, as a longtime Wikipedia editor I modified your bio by adding this simple fact:
ACCUSATIONS OF BIAS AT WIKIPEDIA
On April 27, 2022 Stossel published an opinion piece on his websites Johnstossel.com and Stossel TV documenting widespread instances of left-leaning editorial bias at Wikipedia.
And provided a link to the article. The entry was reverted in 17 minutes.
My stake in all this? I’m a pediatric anesthesiologist who was on the front lines in 2020 and an early signatory to the Great Barrington declaration and I have attempted on multiple occasions to correct the slanderous, anti-science Wikipedia entry on the declaration without success. Tragically, Wikipedia is a lost cause.
Maybe there needs to be a new movement toward the putting together a similar source of information, but more truthful and fair.
Call it “Truthopedia”. Monopolies always tend to fall into propaganda. The new reference project can draw off the more accurate portions of Wikipedia but be edited by a team of people who actually care about the truth and who don’t cancel out the voices they do not like if indeed what they say is true..
Like Wikipedia its material must be vetted for truth, but not canceled for political correctness. I am too old to organize it, but let’s get the donations started. Interested anyone? It would quickly be the go-to source for anyone really wanting truth and like Wikipedia it can grow as it goes.
“Good conservative outlets like The Federalist, The Daily Caller and The Daily Wire”
Need I explain?
Also; “Look up ‘concentration and internment camps’ and you’ll find, along with the Holocaust, ‘Mexico-United States border,’ and under that, ‘Trump administration family separation policy.'”
US detention centers are by definition concentration camps. All 21st century US administrations, including Joe Biden and Barack Obama, ought to be held responsible for this actual violation of the UNUDHR (United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights).