After initially censoring New York Post revelations about Biden family corruption citing the Post as an unreliable source, Wikipedia editors eventually added the story to an article labeling it “debunked” and a “conspiracy theory” while rejecting reports confirming the story. Editors have also added the Post story to an article on “Russian interference in the 2020 United States elections” despite no evidence of Russian involvement.
The reports are also kept out of articles on both Bidens claiming they are “Russian disinformation” as administrators with special privileges on Wikipedia threatened sanctions against editors portraying the story as credible. Efforts have simultaneously been made to cast doubt on alleged Iranian interference targeting President Donald Trump.
Efforts to keep the Biden corruption allegations out of Wikipedia articles and avoid mentioning stories confirming some of the allegations have all relied on the site’s policies on “verifiability” and “reliable” sources. Conservative media outlets have been subject to an ongoing purge by Wikipedia editors invoking these policies, heralded by the site’s owners as evidence of Wikipedia’s efforts against “fake news” in keeping with messaging proposed by the Clinton Foundation’s public relations firm and touted by the establishment media.
Due to the exclusion of conservative media with outlets such as Fox News discouraged as sources for politically contentious claims and the Daily Caller banned from use as a source for factual claims entirely, reports from these outlets confirming parts of the Post’s story have been kept out of articles on the allegations as has the Post itself due to a discussion in September deeming it an “unreliable” source. However, considerable coverage from establishment media alleging the allegations are linked to a “Russian disinformation campaign” has meant these claims, which are purely speculative and contradict official government statements, are given significant weight.
Because of these reports, administrator “MelanieN” added mention of the Post story to Wikipedia’s article on “Russian interference in the 2020 United States elections” citing anonymous reports of an FBI investigation into the laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden, which served as the basis for the Post‘s story. The investigation was claimed to be focused on Russian interference. Also mentioned were former intelligence officials, including anti-Trump Obama officials John Brennan and James Clapper, claiming the story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” While the officials acknowledged no evidence for their claim, this was not mentioned in the Wikipedia article.
Apparently seeking to cast doubt on the Post story prior to its mention in the article, one editor added at the 2020 interference article claims that Trump’s then-National Security Adviser John Bolton had warned Trump’s attorney and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani might be used to spread Russian disinformation, allegations Giuliani has denied. The same editor expanded on the material about the Post story after it was mentioned to challenge its veracity. While the editor did remove information falsely claiming the e-mails were a fabrication relying on an NBC story about unrelated material, the editor only did so because it did not allege Russian involvement.
Over a week after the mention of the Post story was added, one editor finally noted that officials have found no evidence linking it to Russian interference. Contrasted with editors baselessly pushing claims of “Russian disinformation” regarding the Post story, alleged Iranian interference targeting Trump has been treated more skeptically. MelanieN added details to the interference article about Iran allegedly being behind e-mails impersonating the conservative Proud Boys group and threatening Democrats to vote for Trump.
Noting Iran’s denial, Melanie cast doubt on the aim being to hurt Trump by suggesting telling people to vote for Trump is inconsistent with that aim, even though prior to officials mentioning Iranian involvement Trump opponents believing the e-mails were genuine attacked him over the blatant intimidation efforts due to Trump’s previous sympathetic comments about the Proud Boys. While the material Melanie added briefly mentioned alleged Russian interference, the section was otherwise about Iranian involvement prompting one editor to question its inclusion in the article asking, “Is Iran part of Russia these days?”
The “Russian interference” article was originally created by administrator “Muboshgu” based entirely on comments by FBI Director Christopher Wray expressing his view that Russia and China would attempt to influence the elections and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated alleged interference in the 2016 election and debunked claims of Trump’s campaign colluding in those efforts, claiming Russia was still interfering in United States election. Details were eventually added trying to smear Trump by saying he would accept interference and attacking Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not passing election security legislation favored by Democrats.
Muboshgu has been heavily involved in articles about the recent Biden revelations, where he has pushed claims of it being Russian disinformation and actively participated in disputes about the contents of articles where they are mentioned. In spite of this and policies prohibiting use of administrative privileges when involved, Muboshgu has locked articles to keep prominent claims of the allegations being false and threatened to suspend one editor’s account falsely alleging the editor violated an article restriction, which was not even in place on the article. Such threats from Muboshgu and others extended to those who initially tried to add the Post story and an editor discussing recent details confirming the reports.
Invoking “Russian disinformation” administrators have kept the recent Post details out of numerous articles, particularly those on Hunter and Joe Biden. At the latter’s article, administrator Guy Chapman shut down a discussion on mentioning the story by claiming it was “likely to be a standard Kremlin disinformation operation.” The article on Biden’s campaign does mention the reports in a single paragraph, but mainly seeking to discredit the story. MelanieN approved it being mentioned there, but without treating it credibly describing it as “pure rumor.”
Wikipedia has long been accused of a left-wing bias, recently by its own co-founder. Editors have engaged in smear campaigns against President Trump, pushed a Black Lives Matter agenda, and supported Antifa. Several analyses have lent credibility to allegations of left-wing bias by finding the top-cited news sources are often left-wing with mostly left-wing sources used on articles about American politicians. Two American academics in their analysis also found editors favoring right-leaning views getting threatened with sanctions was not an anomaly peculiar the Biden dispute as such editors were six times more likely to be sanctioned on various political articles. Even so, Wikipedia is still relied on by media, academia, and Big Tech.
T. D. Adler edited Wikipedia as The Devil’s Advocate. He was banned after privately reporting conflict of interest editing by one of the site’s administrators. Due to previous witch-hunts led by mainstream Wikipedians against their critics, Adler writes under an alias.