Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales expressed his opinions on the British EU Referendum today at the Viva Technology Conference in Paris, where the entrepreneur claimed that the Leave campaign had a “hateful rhetoric” against immigrants powered by the “populist media”.
“I was really surprised [about Brexit] as I thought the vote was going to go the other way, and for me, I live in London, I’m very much in favour of remaining in the EU, but for me the biggest thing about it that was disturbing to me is the hateful rhetoric” said Wales in comments to Bloomberg.
“It got really ugly, and you know, my work has always been about bringing people together from all over the globe. We were just last week in our conference in Italy, we had people from 60 countries, all different ethnicities, religions, all working together on Wikipedia, and that’s kind of the world I live in, and the idea that we should hate people because they’ve come from another place is appalling, and it was very disappointing to see that.”
Wales then went on to brag about the neutrality of Wikipedia compared to “populist” news outlets.
“Europe and Brexit, it’s very very complicated, all the different impacts, what does that really mean, all the different treaties and so forth, and Wikipedia is a great place to go and learn about that, whereas unfortunately, particularly in the really populist media, you just got what I was saying, sort of hateful stories about immigrants and things like this… Nobody really explained what it was about, so Wikipedia’s great for that”.
The Wikipedia CEO then patronized leave voters by claiming that “it was a very emotional campaign, and no, I don’t think they did it for good reasons. I think they probably would’ve chosen differently had they understood the issues”.
Despite Wales’ claims that Wikipedia is a more neutral and reliable source for information than the “populist” media, conservatives have long pointed out that some of the sites pages are not only incredibly biased, but also restrict people from attempting to edit these sections, even if the pages feature a flat out lie.
Consumer revolt movement GamerGate, for instance, is described on Wikipedia as “stemming from a harassment campaign conducted primarily through the use of the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate.”
The page goes on to state that “Gamergate is used as a blanket term for the controversy, the harassment campaign and actions of those participating in it” despite the complete lack of evidence that GamerGate has anything to do with harassment or misogyny. All of the sources used for the page are predominantly liberal media outlets, including the extremely anti-GamerGate site Polygon and the Gawker-owned Kotaku. Despite numerous attempts by users, Wikipedia refuses to allow the use of Breitbart as a source on the page.
The page for “right-wing politics” also has entire section devoted to “right-wing terrorism”, despite the fact that the page for “Islam” fails to mention the word even once. More recently, Wikipedia editors have bizarrely refused to add the deadly Orlando shooting, carried out by ISIS supporter Omar Mateen, to the site’s list of Islamist terror attacks.