Left-biased Wikipedia Whitewashes Communist Atrocities Feb 18, 2021 16:16:04 GMT -5 catherine likes this
Post by JoannaB on Feb 18, 2021 16:16:04 GMT -5
Left-biased Wikipedia Whitewashes Socialism, Communist Atrocities
We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to enquire. We know that the wages of secrecy are corruption. – J. Robert Oppenheimer.
A few months ago, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger declared the online encyclopedia’s “neutral point of view” policy is “dead” as a result of the rampant left-wing bias of authors. Citing an article on President Donald Trump, Sanger noted the extensive coverage of alleged, yet unproven, presidential scandals, while the entry for Barack Obama totally ignored the scandals about Obama, particularly those prior to his election. Sanger also criticized Wiki’s coverage of religion and other controversial topics.
This is nothing new and expected in the 21st century. According to Alexa’s web rankings, the online encyclopedia, which claims “anyone can edit,” is number 13 in popularity. Nevertheless, many, including Sanger himself, admit Wiki’s content has deteriorated into nothing more than left-wing advocacy essays. “The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone,” he said. “Wikipedia’s ideological and religious bias is real and troubling, particularly in a resource that continues to be treated by many as an unbiased reference work.”
In demonstrating Wikipedia’s bias, all one has to do is read the two main pages on “Socialism” and “Communism” consisting of 28,000 words, yet contain nothing concerning the genocides committed by socialist and communist regimes in which tens of millions of people have been murdered or died of starvation. “The omission of large-scale mass murder, slave labor and man-made famines is negligent and deeply misleading,” economics professor Bryan Caplan, observed. Although Caplan noted the pages contain a plethora of history, they focus on the alleged positive aspects of socialism, noting the following on Wiki’s Socialism page: “The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century.” The writer totally ignores the man-made famine during which Josef Stalin commandeered food from the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other regions, leaving millions to die of starvation as the Soviet Union sold grain to foreign nations.
When questioned, a Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson responded via a note saying, “Wikipedia is a living, breathing project, and is always evolving just as our shared understanding of a topic does.” The spokesperson also claimed the foundation does not directly control Wiki content, which is written by volunteer “editors.”
Additionally, while Wiki’s Socialism page devotes text to China, the content doesn’t begin until 1976, after Mao Zedong’s reign of terror had already resulted in the deaths of an estimated 80 million Chinese: “After Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 ... China’s economic performance pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty,” the entry reads. The article fails to mention Mao’s prior communist programs, e.g., his “Great Leap Forward,” wherein private farming was abolished, leading to mass famine that killed between 15 and 55 million. It also ignores Mao’s “Cultural Revolution,” in which, according to the History Channel, “Millions of young radicals who formed the paramilitary Red Guards shut down schools, destroyed religious and cultural relics and killed intellectuals and party elites believed to be anti-revolutionaries.” Although Wikipedia does maintain relatively hidden “sub-pages” that contain facts such as the foregoing, there is no discussion whatsoever on the main pages that 90+ percent of those seeking information depend upon. This information can only be accessed by clinking on a stray link at the end of the article under a “see also” heading.
Lily Tang Williams, who lived through Mao’s cultural revolution and volunteers at schools to teach children about the history of communism in China, expressed outrage at Wiki’s obvious bias. “Who writes this stuff?” she asked, accusing Wiki of whitewashing crimes against humanity. “What about students who now will not know the real history of what happened? Or even teachers who won’t know?” she continued. “I went through the entire 10 years of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, as a child,” Tang Williams explained. “Of course I was extremely brainwashed – we just did not know any truths at all. It was like living in a concentration camp. Six-thirty (6:30) a.m. every morning a loudspeaker comes on and tells you about the news and chants, ‘Long live Chairman Mao.’ The memory of my childhood … we were hungry all the time. It was constant chaos.”
Jonathan Weiss, a prolific Wiki editor, said “bias on Wikipedia somewhat reflects the bias in academia and journalism. It’s easier to find an open Marxist rather than a center-right conservative,” he observed. As an example, Weiss explained Wikipedia “administrators” are a select group of people who make final calls as to what is included in Wiki entries. One of these administrators has a photo of Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin on his profile along with the paraphrased Lenin quote: “The most democratic bourgeois republics” are “organs of class oppression.”
While Weiss is in the top 100 Wikipedia editors, having contributed in excess of 415,142 edits on the site since 2006, he acknowledged the political pages have largely been taken over by editors with a political axe to grind. “If you’re the only one who’s not a Marxist on a page, you’re going to lose,” he said. “It can quickly be disheartening.”
The “talk pages” reveal that various users have attempted to add balance to the Socialism and Communism pages. In 2020, for example, Wiki volunteer “Narssarssuaq” added a comment about the atrocities committed in the name of communism to the page, sourcing a Harvard University Press publication, but the edit was quickly removed by other editors. “Communism didn’t kill these people; Stalin did,” one user argued. “I’ve always been bothered by the concept that famines are caused by communism.” Narssarssuaq subsequently quit Wikipedia. “Right now my conscience does not allow me to contribute to this project, not even with attempts to provide balance to biased articles,” he wrote.
Encyclopedia Britannica provides one alternative and a peer-reviewed study by Harvard researchers concluded as follows: “We find that Wikipedia articles are more slanted toward Democratic views than are Britannica articles, as well as more biased.”
Asked for comment on the study, a Wikimedia spokesperson claimed the study also “shows how the more people edit an article, the more neutral it becomes,” pointing to another study that allegedly concluded page quality is higher when editors are more politically diverse and lower when they think alike. She declined to comment on the fact the overwhelming majority of Wiki editors are liberal-biased leftists.
A 2018 study by Shane Greenstein and Feng Zhu also compared levels of political bias on Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica by quantifying each encyclopedia’s respective usage of phrases favored by Democratic and Republican members of congress. Their study discovered that Wikipedia articles are more politically biased than those of Encyclopaedia Britannica and slanted toward Democratic points of view.
According to Weiss, at this point, the only chance of Wikipedia’s achieving balance is for many more right-wing editors to join the Wiki editorial staff. Nevertheless, he notes that when such individuals find their contributions deleted and or changed by the leftist majority, they will realize their efforts are in vain and give up.
Sanger added that at this point, the deck is “too stacked” on Wikipedia to ever be salvaged and he is now working on a protocol called “Encyclosphere” to create other objective online encyclopedias.
Sources: Maxim Lott, Fox News, February 18, 2021; Shuichi Tezuka and Linda A. Ashtear, "The Left-wing Bias of Wikipedia," The Critic, October 22, 2020; Paul Homewood, "Wikipedia Co-Founder: Site's Neutrality Is 'Dead' Thanks to Leftist Bias," Not a Lot of People Know That, May 27, 2020.