NPR CEO Katherine Maher Reveals How She Ruined Wikipedia

Katherine Maher NPR CEO, Former Wikimedia Head
Harry Murphy/Sportsfile for Web Summit Qatar via Getty Images

Katherine Maher, NPR’s newly appointed CEO, is facing criticism over her past tweets as a veteran editor accuses the organization of leftist bias. But along the way, another interesting line of investigation has opened — how Maher wrecked Wikipedia by turning away from “free and open” discussions on the “online wikipedia” because that goal represents a “white male westernized construct.”

The Daily Mail reports that Katherine Maher, NPR’s newly appointed CEO, has sparked controversy after a resurfaced clip from a 2021 panel discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council revealed her calling the First Amendment the “number one challenge” in American journalism. During the discussion, Maher, who previously served as the CEO of Wikimedia the parent organization of Wikipedia, argued that the First Amendment provides a “fairly robust protection of rights,” making it “a little tricky to address some of the real challenges of where bad information comes from.”


The controversy has also brought to light some of Maher’s past tweets, which include a veiled shot at former President Donald Trump, branding him a ‘deranged racist sociopath,’ and her support for President Biden by sharing selfies wearing his campaign hats. Maher has also expressed views on gender and language, tweeting, “I do wish Hillary wouldn’t use the language of “boy and girl” – it’s erasing language for non-binary people.”

But beyond her extreme leftist political views, many of Maher’s statements reflect on her time leading the parent foundation of Wikipedia. Her comments about a “free and open” Wikipedia where multiple sides of an argument could be presented to users actually being a “white male Westernized construct” are eye opening, and explain how Wikipedia became a cesspit of fringe leftist beliefs where any balance or conservative viewpoints are immediately crushed.

Maher’s attitude and leadership at Wikipedia goes a long way in explaining how the site devolved from an online encyclopedia into a source of fake news and extreme leftist groupthink. Over the years, Breitbart News has investigated and reported on many fake news hoaxes that began life on Wikipedia, including one about Breitbart News itself:

Framing Breitbart

Breitbart News has also been the subject of a Wikipedia hoax on its own page where left-wing editor “Snooganssnoogans” added a claim in early 2017 that Breitbart promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which claims John Podesta’s e-mails about pizza are coded references to a child sex ring connected to the Clintons. The cited source doesn’t claim this and Breitbart’s only appearance in the article is an embedded tweet from its verified account, which mentioned one of Podesta’s pizza-related e-mails weeks before the conspiracy theories emerged.

However, editors kept the material even after it was challenged. An article in the Independent would later repeat this false accusation along with other negative material copied from Wikipedia’s Breitbart article. One editor suggested citing the article for other claims on the page. Breitbart News has never promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, but justlikemanyothernewsoutlets, it has reported on the connection between the Clintons and the late accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Ironically, Breitbart has been banned from Wikipedia for nearly two years after editors deemed it “unreliable” in a discussion claiming Breitbart publishes “fake news” on its site.

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger has been a particularly fierce critic of the site’s loss of balance, which again can be attributed to Maher’s leadership:

On May 14, Sanger published a blog piece titled “Wikipedia Is Badly Biased” and started by declaring Wikipedia’s “Neutral Point of View” policy dead. Having founded the online encyclopedia with Jimmy Wales and having been involved in the original drafting of the policy, Sanger offered particular insight into its development and its practice in recent years. On the current policy’s rejection of providing “equal validity” to different views, Sanger stated this went directly against the original policy’s intent and that “as journalists turn to opinion and activism, Wikipedia now touts controversial points of view on politics, religion, and science.”

Providing examples, Sanger noted former President Obama’s article excludes most notable scandals during his Administration, such as the bungled ATF Fast and Furious operation that armed Mexican cartels who killed a U.S. border agent or the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS. By contrast, Sanger pointed to Trump’s article containing overwhelmingly negative sections on the President regarding his “public profile” as well as investigations and impeachment. The sections critical of Trump and his presidency are nearly as long as those dealing with his presidency overall. He further criticized Wikipedia repeatedly saying Trump makes false statements rather than attributing such characterizations to sources.

Read more at the Daily Mail here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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