Journalist Glenn Greeenwald talked with Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger about the distortions — “so biased as to be twisted,” says Sanger — that are now beyond obvious in the online encyclopedia’s coverage of any controversial topic. Readers of Evolution News will likely be aware of how absurd Wiki has been on intelligent design, a point that Sanger has made in the past.
Sanger has been following the trend for a long time (at 2:09):
I first noticed that it was it was taking a really over-the-top biased point of view, when it shifted from the neutral point of view to what I guess I would call a scientistic point of view on any sort of controversial issues in science. The establishment view on that topic was pushed very heavily. That happened in, I don’t know, 2006, 2008.
That sounds about right. Sanger remarks (at 4:24):
No encyclopedia to my knowledge has been as biased as Wikipedia has been. I mean, that’s saying something.
Yet a lot of people out there still think Wikipedia is meaningfully “vetted” and if you find an inaccuracy, as some naïve individual said to me recently on Twitter, you can “Update it then. That’s the entire point.”
Beyond Left and Right
Greenwald says today the real divide isn’t between the left and right but between those (left, right, or center) who are committed to upholding an establishment view and those who are skeptical of the establishment. Wikipedia is edited to push the establishment’s preferred narrative. How the establishment always knows what line to take, and how it marshals the resources to defend that perspective and censor others (the pseudonymous editors at Wikipedia have a lot of time at their disposal to immediately reverse changes they don’t like), is a question worth pondering.
Sanger has two alternatives to Wikipedia: encyclopedia aggregators — Encyclosearch and EncycloReader — that present a range of takes on any subject you enter. Try looking up “intelligent design” on both and see the diversity of ways the subject can be presented.