Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rush Limbaugh Article Shows Wikipedia's Conservative Bias

By MARC McDONALD

I will give the conservatives credit for one thing: they are simply more aggressive than liberals in fighting for what they want.

We all saw this during the 2000 election. Mobs of GOP thugs ferociously fought for George W. Bush, while the Democrats passively sat around, waiting for the phone to ring.

We've also seen this with the Democratically controlled Congress since 2006. Despite facing a White House occupant with approval ratings in the toilet, the Democrats seem impotent and unable to truly challenge Bush and force an end to the disastrous Iraq War.

The GOP's tendency to fight tooth and claw for what they believe in extends to the popular online Wikipedia encyclopedia.

Although Wikipedia is open to edits from anyone and everyone, a casual glance at the site's political articles reveals a distinct right-wing bias.

How can this be?

It's because conservatives are simply more aggressive and are willing to spend the time and effort into putting a right-wing slant into Wikipedia's articles.

I first noticed this trend a year ago. I was casually browsing through Wikipedia and I came across the main article on Bill Clinton.

Out of curiosity, I did a search for how many times Osama bin Laden appeared in the article. Although Wikipedia is an organic entity and articles change, day by day, on that particular day, bin Laden's name was mentioned 26 times in Clinton's article.

I then did a similar search on the main article for George W. Bush. The number of times bin Laden's name was mentioned: a grand total of zero.

I brought this topic up in the "discussion" area of the two articles and the problem has since been rectified.

But I'm sure my experience is not unique for anyone who has spent any time, browsing through Wikipedia's articles.

There is a definitely right-wing slant to most politically oriented articles at Wikipedia. And personally, I think it's simply because the right-wingers are more aggressive in their efforts to edit the site.

Many of these right-wingers apparently spend countless hours on Wikipedia, carefully sanitizing the articles of their heroes. A current case in point: Wikipedia's main article on Rush Limbaugh.

Anyone who has paid any attention at all to the news lately is aware that Limbaugh is currently in hot water over idiotic remarks he made on his radio show on Wednesday in which he called service members who oppose the war in Iraq "phony soldiers."

It's probably one of the biggest controversies of Limbaugh's career (in a career that has been full of controversies from idiotic, bigoted, racist comments Limbaugh has made over the years).

But while Limbaugh's comment has created a firestorm of controversy, you can't read about it on his Wikipedia article. Although one contributor added the "phony soldier" episode to Limbaugh article on Friday, it was promptly deleted by another contributor, who explained his move by saying, "one out-of-context quote is definitely not encyclopedic," (an explanation, by the way, that reflects Limbaugh's own back pedaling attempts to distance himself from his idiotic remarks).

Although Wikipedia features fluid, dynamic content that can change at any time, the "phony soldier" comment has been absent from Limbaugh's article since Friday (even as it has become one of the most-discussed stories in America everywhere from workplace water coolers to the media to the halls of Congress).

But my point in writing this piece isn't necessarily to take Wikipedia to task for having a right-wing slant in its articles. Rather, I would hope that Liberals and Independents (as well as any fair-minded, intelligent, rational adults) get busy and not allow the Bush-loving NeoCons to turn Wikipedia into an online version of AM hate radio.

16 comments:

pegleghippie said...

I think all ideologues are agressive with wiki. The section on socialism is absolutely ginormous. so is the anarchy portal, conservative portal, etc. Logic-grounded liberals have really well thought out well supported articles, although they're smaller in size, they're steadily making up more and more of the articles.

For sensational politics of the moment, though, i think your absolutely right, as right-wingers care only for the politics of the moment anyway. Give it a few months and the phony soldiers bit will be there permanantly, and the righties will have moved on to fight the next sensational topic.

Mugsy said...

Interesting. I too noticed an apparent bias on Wikipedia some time back, but never thought much about it. The Clinton/Bush/OBL comparison certainly brings it all home.

As for WHY they are so hyper-vigilant, I covered this in my most recent blog entry: Today's GOP is a Party of Drama Queens. Everything is a National Tragedy. The "Betray Us" ad. "Flag burning", God in the Pledge of Allegiance, accusing Liberals of "Treason", etc, etc.

Bob Broughton said...

Opus Dei types also have heavy Wikipedia involvement, and the tobacco industry edits articles about themselves.

HoosierProgressive said...

It's called Revisionist History, and the Right-Wingers excell at it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with pegleg. Give it a month, maybe two....it'll end up there for good. These frustrated, hysterical goons just regurgitate what their masters tell them.


I'm sure all of Rush's fans were biting their nails waiting to see how they might spin the latest BS until Rush himself stepped in with, (wait for it)...."It was taken out of context!" ...and upon hearing the magical words spoken aloud by their pathetic, drug-addicted conservo-slug, all of the little moronic minions jumped to their keyboards and started clicky-clacking away with that obnoxious, error-filled self assurance that only those unlovable psychotic neocons have.

Anyone who's ever tried to actually argue factual points with one of them online can attest to this. They usually come on seemingly strong...and then 99% of the time, they fade out of site after 2 or 3 posts. All these people are good for is re-broadcasting garbage they hear from Rush, Malkin, Hannity, etc. It's all just nonsense.

Not that your article isn't necessary...it is, most definitely. I agree whole heartedly that these morons shouldn't be allowed to bully their way into making Wikipedia yet another toilet of neoconservative "ideologies".

This is why I'm still amazed that this country gives these people any respect at all. We're actually supposed to care about the opinions of a bunch of poorly educated, hyper-frustrated, hysterical fuck ups? Why? They've had complete and total control of the country for 7 years and look what they've done. And all while being the cockiest assholes you ever did see. I've never seen a more deluded, pathetic bunch of failures in my life.

Never let a neoconservative get his foot in the door...he'll kick the whole thing open, his diapers will leak on your rug, he'll destroy your house, take your money and then blame the whole thing on you...and all whining and moaning about how he's a member of a "persecuted christian majority". (if that's even possible)

Marc McDonald said...

re:
>>>Give it a few months and the
>>>phony soldiers bit will be
>>>there permanantly

Yes, I think you're right on this. I have been following the development of a number of articles on Wiki and I notice there is a constant back-and-forth battle on bias in articles. But the Busheviks are definitely more aggressive and generally get their way in the slanting of articles.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Mugsy, I read your "Drama Queens" piece; nice job...you really hit the nail on the head.

Ritchie said...

">>>Give it a few months and the
>>>phony soldiers bit will be
>>>there permanantly"

There's a limited and declining number of people who can constantly track and edit negative information about someone like Rush. Also, there is a constant stream of new fuck-ups that have to be thought over and talking pointed. Eventually only a limited number of fuck-ups from the last few minutes will have enough "employees" available to obfuscate them.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on to this left wing wacko site by accident. The author of this crap has his facts so wrong that he is either an idiot, a liar, or both. The author is so angry. His life must really suck to have to twist facts and vent like he does. Sounds like the author is a ranting little boy stuck in a man's body. Please get some help before it is too late.

Karlo said...

Mr. Anonymous strikes again. Oh dear. As for Rush, I'm disappointed that everyone is taking the bait and taking him seriously. You could listen to him any day of the week and find one insane statement after the next. Why does anyone take any of these people seriously? They aren't ideologues: they're moronic simpletons. Ideology (even rightwing ideology) would require some thought and some analysis of some sort. Rush just rants.

cwilcox said...

LMAO! Annonymmous (aren't they always) didn't sound bitter at all did she? A dialogue running on one of my recent posts brought the liberal bias stuff up and I posted about it a couple of days ago. I wish the neo-cons could argue in a manner other than sound bites. We might be able to learn more about why they behave as they do. I would imagine that it has to do with the indefensability of their positions that forces them to regurgitate the rantings of their lunatic icons: Limbaugh, Hannity, and the like.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives are aggressive in the media? Really? Now I've heard everything! Just because the Democrats are spineless and uninspired doesn't mean that conservatives dominate the media. And Wikipedia is NOT the media. Any person looking for serious information knows this. You need a better example than Wikipedia.

Want to see how conservatives dominate? Me too. You've got me curious. Let's look at the media:

Most of the media coverage of the Jena 6 is sympathetic to the blacks - hardly a conservative position.

Look at advertising, billboards, Wal-Mart and Target catalogues, music videos, movies and TV shows - see how many of these feature a black male and a white female together. Hardly a conservative fantasy!

Look at the Rodney King case, James Byrd, Tookie Williams, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Duke lacrosse players - tell me that the coverage of these cases, the media analysis, the depth of exposure is all biased towards a conservative viewpoint. Rush, Malkin, Hannity and the others are exceptions to the rule, which is why they are so controversial and focused-upon.

You'd expect the "conservative" media to be a bit more aggressive in covering the Knoxville case, for example, or the many other cases of black-on-white crime that barely rate a mention in the media. Since you're basically saying that Conservative = Racist, why isn't our conservative/racist-dominated media foaming at the mouth with outrage over every black atrocity while ignoring every white one? Simple answer - they're not, and you know it.

I'm still laughing... Wikipedia! Ha ha ha.

B.T.

Yes, I think

Iowa Bob said...

Look, obviously there is going to be bias on a sight where you let "Joe Public" go on and update the information, and while there are articles with a right wing slant, there are just as many (and probably more) with a left wing slant.

I went on today and did two searches, one for "Rush Limbaugh", and one for "Al Gore". The amount of reporting on "negative" issues with Limbaugh are covered in paragraph after paragraph. I'm not saying these things, such as Limbaugh's addiction to painkillers, shouldn't be in the article. For the most part they are accurately reported, with an occasional left-wing jab.

As for Gore, there is the following sentence: "Gore has been the subject of several controversies, including his role in the 1996 United States campaign finance controversy, use of energy in home, and a statement in an interview."

That's it. No explanation of these controversies, just that they exist. Wikipedia used 30 words in describing the controversies surrounding Gore (and in reality they used zero, since they described none of the controversies). They use 161 words to describe his “appearance” on the animated Futurama, including the words a "groundbreaking role". Yeah, that’s really a right-wing slant.

Anonymous said...

re:
"..Limbaugh's addiction to painkillers."

LOL, I always find it hilarious how the NeoCons can't bring themselves to say that their hero Rush was addicted to DRUGS. Instead, they use all these nice, polite terms: "prescription medicine, "painkillers," etc.
Listen, your Fat Boy was a DRUG ADDICT. There are poor and working class people rotting away in Florida's prison system for lesser drug crimes.
But if you're rich in this country, you can buy your way out of prison in our "justice system."

Anonymous said...

Dude, what planet do you live on? Was this written as a joke? I'm no Rush fanatic, but any casual look at Wikipedia contains paragraph after paragraph of "controversies" for every right-leaning individual, political or not, and NOTHING controversial for leftist politicians...not even killers like Ted Kennedy.

Marc McDonald said...

>>>any casual look at Wikipedia
>>>contains paragraph after
>>>paragraph of "controversies"
>>>for every right-leaning
>>>individual, political or not,

Well, Sparky, you're not looking very hard, then.

I found it interesting a while back that the Wiki entry on George W. Bush had ZERO mentions of Valerie Plame (the undercover CIA agent who was treasonously outed by the Bush White House).

Incredible.

Zero mentions.

What's more is that the Wiki entry for Bush BLOCKED any mention of Plame/TreasonGate.

I personally wrote about this issue a while back and raised a big fuss and finally Wiki mentioned Plame.

But can you imagine if Clinton had treasonously outed a covert CIA agent during time of war? It would have been by far the biggest story of the decade in the "liberal" media.

Outing a covert CIA agent during time of war is the textbook definition of treason. And what makes it even more vomit-inducing is that the reason Plame was outed is that her husband, Joseph Wilson, was trying to tell the American people THE TRUTH about how Bush's war in Iraq was based on pack of lies.

>>>NOTHING controversial for
>>>leftist politicians...not even
>>>killers like Ted Kennedy.

So you're saying Ted Kennedy's Wiki article has nothing about Chappaquiddick? Clearly (in addition to being a moron) you are illiterate.

Speaking of killers, George W. Bush has the blood of 1.3 million Iraqi civilian men, women and children on his hands. Bush will roast in the flames of hell someday and I hope to God his Nazi-like followers will roast alongside him in Hell.