How Wikipedia Smears Conservatives

Wikipedia continues to affirm its commitment to neutrality.

This has become a running joke.

Maybe the most persuasive way to show that Wikipedia is filled with bias is just to cite a lot of examples; some of the most effective examples take the form of personal criticism, rising in the worst cases to libel. After all, probably the greatest challenge to staying consistent with a neutrality policy is to characterize fairly the very people you most strongly disagree with about politics. And, sadly, that’s just not a challenge the Wikipedia echo chamber is equal to.

So, here you go: some of the easier-to-find examples of how the decidedly left-wing Wikipedia cannot resist smearing its ideological opponents. In the following, I quote from the first three paragraphs about various conservative American politicians, commentators, and other figures. The biased bits are bolded, with my comments indicated in notes with numbers, like this: [1]. Smaller footnotes, with letters rather than numbers, are from Wikipedia. Note: if a Wikipedia article about you (or someone you know) exemplifies an abandonment of Wikipedia’s original neutrality policy, please share the example in the comments.

Notes on neutrality before we begin

Neutrality, as originally defined in Wikipedia policy, means that a person who is well-informed on a topic cannot tell which of competing parties (or ideologies, religions, philosophies, etc.) the authors adhere to. In a genuinely neutral article about U.S. politics, you would not be able to tell from the lede whether the authors were Republicans or Democrats.

The mere fact that something negative is written about someone is not by itself evidence of bias. But an article is biased against a person when

  • negative information is so predominant that readers can infer that the authors harbor great hatred, resentment, or strong disapproval of the subject (especially when the target has a popular following among many ordinary people);
  • dismissive epithets and judgments are used in Wikipedia’s own voice; or
  • what a person is legitimately famous for is omitted, dismissed, or misrepresented in the lede, or buried further down in the article.

I want to convey this very clearly to leftists who continually misunderstand the simple but powerful concept of neutrality: even if a controversial view is factual, i.e., objectively true, that does not by itself make your assertion of it in an article neutral. A properly skeptical conservative can agree that, maybe, for all he really knows, “reality has a liberal bias.” That doesn’t change the requirements of neutrality one iota. If a liberal view is indeed factual, you might (in a personal essay) correctly claim that it is “objective” and “fair” and “accurate” to express it. The thing is, others might disagree with you on what the facts are. It happens on Wikipedia all the time. And that matters, a lot, to how you should approach such disputed issues.

I want to ask leftists reading this: are you really so completely committed to your ideology that you cannot acknowledge that people are capable of disagreeing about what the facts are? In any event, on absolutely nobody’s view—nobody who understands what the term “neutral” means, that is—is it neutral to baldly assert, without qualification, a purported fact about which there is some controversy.

Factuality is not the determining variable when we are assessing neutrality with respect to some controversy; the essential question is whether the text takes a position on the controversy. Again, not taking a position is the feature of the text that makes it neutral. So maybe it’s the very concept of neutrality that the left has an issue with. (I think so, actually. That’s pretty obvious. One can find them saying so, after all.) Generally, the position that you think is factually accurate should appear in the article, together with the best evidence for it. A purported fact and its evidence should appear, yes. But so should other purported facts, when other people disagree on the facts, as they do.

Anyone who argues against these observations about neutrality obviously wants to able to disseminate manipulative, one-sided propaganda under the cloak of neutral reference information. This is intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible, which is why I keep writing about it.

We begin with a couple of conservative (or at least, Republican) American politicians. There must be hundreds of examples of obvious anti-conservative bias in articles about other Republicans; sometimes, to find the most obvious examples, you’ll need to look past the first few paragraphs.

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician, media personality, and businessman[1] who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021.

Trump graduated from the Wharton School with a bachelor’s degree in 1968. He became president of his father’s real-estate business[2] in 1971 and renamed it the Trump Organization. He expanded its operations to building and renovating skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses and later started side ventures, mostly by licensing his name. From 2004 to 2015, he co-produced and hosted the reality television series The Apprentice. He and his businesses have been plaintiff or defendant in more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, including six corporate bankruptcies.[3]

He won the 2016 presidential election as the Republican nominee against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton while losing the popular vote.[a] During that campaign, Trump’s political positions were described as populist, protectionist, isolationist, and nationalist.[4] He was the first U.S. president with no prior military or government service. His election and policies sparked numerous protests.[5] The 2017–2019 special counsel investigation established that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to favor his campaign.[6] Trump promoted conspiracy theories[7] and made many false and misleading statements during his campaigns and presidency, to a degree unprecedented in American politics.[8] Many of his comments and actions have been characterized as racially charged or racist and many as misogynistic.[9]

[1] Note the order. But surely he is distinguished more for his business ventures than his being a “media personality.”

[2] True. And how many wealthy businessmen inherit their businesses?

[3] Articles on how many other major businessmen, who have started many ventures, enumerate their bankruptcies in the second paragraph?

[4] Descriptions few Americans would apply to themselves, except perhaps “populist.” This is judgmental and in Wikipedia’s own voice.

[5] What president’s election doesn’t spark protests?

[6] This has been revealed to have been a hoax in the Durham report; but Wikipedia can’t be bothered to notice that.

[7] Would his defenders call them “conspiracy theories”?

[8] Would Trump’s defenders call them “false” or his degree of mendacity “unprecedented”? Wikipedia gives no voice to those who find that Trump told more important truths than many politicians typically do.

[9] In 2023, the ultimate poisoning of the well. Again, this marks the article as being written by people who did not vote for Trump. “No duh,” you might say. While that might be obvious, and while you might find it to be totally unobjectionable, it still makes the article one-sided and biased, and hence not neutral. See the section on neutrality above.

Ronald Dion DeSantis (/dɪˈsæntɪs, diː-/; born September 14, 1978) is an American politician serving since 2019 as the 46th governor of Florida. […]

Skipping to the third paragraph:

DeSantis was first elected to Congress in 2012 and was reelected in 2014 and 2016. During his tenure he became a founding member of the Freedom Caucus and was an ally of President Donald Trump. DeSantis criticized Special Council Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of “links and/or coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[1] He briefly ran for U.S. Senate in 2016, but withdrew when incumbent senator Marco Rubio sought reelection. DeSantis won the Republican nomination for the 2018 gubernatorial election and narrowly defeated the Democratic nominee, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, in the general election by 0.4%.

[1] One might think that DeSantis’ criticism of Mueller’s failed investigation was justified and that the investigation was debunked by the recent Durham report. Such a possibility, which is what most Republicans think, seems not to occur to Wikipedia’s editors. In any event, is this really the third thing to mention among DeSantis’s political accomplishments (after founding the Freedom Caucus and supporting Trump)?

Now some excerpts from articles about commentators and journalists. This list could be expanded 10 or 100 times and one would not reach the end of the smears, especially if one looked beyond the first few paragraphs.

Dinesh Joseph D’Souza (/dɪˈnɛʃ dəˈsuːzə/; born April 25, 1961) is an Indian-American right-wing[a][b][c] political commentator, author, filmmaker, and conspiracy theorist.[d][1] He has written over a dozen books, several of them New York Times best-sellers.[21][22]

[1] This is not just biased, it is simply and transparently biased. “Conspiracy theorist” is a dismissive term; is not a position or title, but is used almost exclusively as a belittling smear. Besides, it is just good sense to believe that powerful people get together behind the scenes and occasionally plan (i.e., conspire to commit) acts that are seriously immoral if not illegal. Indeed, no one who is aware of history fails to fully endorse theories about how, throughout history, powerful players have conspired to gain power and wealth. Such theories are a staple of left-wing theories of history, after all. Finally, I must point out that in the various articles that mention that someone is a “conspiracy theorist,” one must always go digging for what the purported conspiracy theory even is. This is rarely spelled out because the theories in question are widely held among conservatives.

Mark Reed Levin (/ləˈvɪn/; born September 21, 1957) is an American lawyer, author, and radio personality. […]

Skipping to second paragraph:

He has been described as “right-wing” by The New York TimesCNNNPR, and Politico.[c][d][e][f][1] He is known for his strident criticisms of Democrats and encouragement of primary challenges to congressional Republicans that he considers to be “Republican In Name Only” (RINO).[2] He endorsed Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries and declared himself “Never Trump“, but reluctantly endorsed Donald Trump after he won the Republican nomination.[g] Since the start of the Trump presidency, Levin’s commentary has become strongly pro-Trump.[h][3]

[1] It is certainly true that the four left-wing publications listed would want to give Levin (who is Jewish) a demonizing label that lumps him in with Nazis. That justifies repeating the smear in an encyclopedia article?

[2] Is there something wrong with a conservative being opposed to Republicans who are insufficiently conservative, or merely toadies for the Establishment, as so many in Congress in both parties manifestly are?

[3] Again, spending half of the second paragraph to say that Levin began as anti-Trump before becoming pro-Trump is a very strange choice, unless you are fixated on demonizing people for supporting Trump.

Michelle Malkin (/ˈmɔːlkɪn/née Maglalang; born October 20, 1970)[a] is an American conservative political commentator. She was a Fox News contributor and in May 2020 joined Newsmax TV. Malkin has written seven books and founded the conservative websites Twitchy and Hot Air.[b]

Around 2019, Malkin began to distance herself from conventional conservatism and instead publicly support members of the extreme right, including Nick Fuentes,[c][d][e] as well as other white nationalistsneo-Nazis, and Groypers, including Identity Evropa leader Patrick Casey.[f][g][h] In November 2019, she was dropped by conservative organization Young America’s Foundation (YAF), citing her support for individuals associated with antisemitism and white nationalism.[e][g][1]

[1] This case requires some nuance, because indeed many conservatives now distance themselves from Malkin. Still, Wikipedia uses, in its own voice, such loaded terms as “extreme right,” “white nationalists,” and others; these are highly litigated. Generally, such terms are used as terms of accusation and dismissal, and they can be correctly applied, but they are usually controversial. For all I know, they might be correct in Malkin’s case (although, as she is a Filipino-American, “white nationalist” seems like a stretch). What I do know is that insinuating that she is now of the “extreme right,” without the slightest hint of how she might respond to such accusations, is transparently biased. Again, the bias is not because the accusations are reported at all—I do not take issue with that—but because they are made in Wikipedia’s voice and without any response from Malkin (in the lede, at least; I haven’t read the whole article).

Candace Amber Owens Farmer (née Owens; born April 29, 1989) is an American conservative author, talk show host, political commentator, producer, and activist.[a][b] […]

Skipping to second paragraph:

On several occasions, Owens has claimed that the effects of white supremacy and white nationalism are exaggerated, especially when compared to other issues facing black Americans.[i] She has expressed anti-lockdown views[j] and promoted misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic.[q] Owens has been criticized for promoting conspiracy theories,[r][s] mostly through her social media profiles and television and media appearances.[1]

[1] This is a perfect and concise example of what Wikipedians themselves frequently find wrong with “controversies” sections. The views listed here are, in themselves, not particularly important; she has every single one in common with many (maybe most) conservatives. As to “promoting conspiracy theories,” see above under D’Souza: in 2023, a person appears ridiculously uninformed if he does not know that the powerful sometimes collude secretly as they wield power and even commit crimes. In any event, the reason this list of opinions are included is clearly not that they are particularly noteworthy but because, to Wikipedia’s left-wing authors, they each mark her as notably lacking in decency or judgment. Thus again, this is poisoning the well. The same article written by a conservative would use the second paragraph to say something more distinctive and important about her and her wide-ranging commentary.

James Edward O’Keefe III (born June 28, 1984) is an American political activist and provocateur[1] who founded Project Veritas, a far-right[c][2] activist[b] group that uses deceptive editing and information gathering techniques[3] to attack[4] mainstream media organizations and progressive groups. Both O’Keefe and Project Veritas have produced secretly recorded undercover audio and video encounters in academic, governmental, and social service organizations, purporting to show abusive or illegal behavior by representatives of those organizations; the recordings are often selectively edited to misrepresent the context of the conversations and the subjects’ responses.[d][3] …

[1] It’s not false, exactly, that O’Keefe is a “provocateur.” Clearly, he provokes the powerful. But the description is used primarily by those who tend to be provoked by the provocateur. For his part, O’Keefe seems to be trying to reveal truths, not merely to provoke a reaction. O’Keefe would surely call himself a “journalist,” since he does break important stories, even if he and his associates often use deception and ambush journalism to get them. The left absolutely seethes with hatred against O’Keefe because he has so often exposed the hypocrisy, radicalism, and dishonesty lying behind so many icons and power players that the left-wing media loves or respects. Anyway, surely there is a neutral way to describe him. “Political activist and provocateur” is certainly not that. Perhaps sharing both liberal and conservative assessments would do the trick.

[2] “Far-right” is highly debatable. While this is a common description of him in left-wing media sources, here is nothing particularly far right about him. He is, rather, indeed, on the right—and he is particularly effective against icons of the left. This causes extreme anger on the left, which they translate into “far right,” ridiculously suggesting he’s a Nazi, which he is not.

[3] Every single instance of purported “deceptive editing” by Project Veritas, that I have seen so far anyway, has turned out to be fair. I have looked at several such cases as they broke. This is, in any event, an obviously biased description of O’Keefe, one that many of his defenders take great issue with. As to “deceptive…information gathering techniques,” I imagine Wikipedia means that O’Keefe’s hidden cameras catch people revealing their unguarded thoughts—yet this is a common practice of investigative journalism. It’s OK when 60 Minutes does it. It’s not OK when O’Keefe does it to CNN or ABC.

[4] “Attack” is highly debatable and, again, biased. Journalism that reveals salient facts about “mainstream media organizations and progressive groups” can be used in a judgmental attack, to be sure. Perhaps indeed O’Keefe occasionally indulges in such attacks (I am actually not sure). But mere revelation of embarrassing facts—assuming they are facts—in the report itself is a news report, not an attack. Such revelations are quite enough to earn the ire of the left and to be labeled “attacks.”

Libs of TikTok is a handle for various far-right[a][1] and anti-LGBT[b][2] social-media accounts (most prominently, a Twitter account) operated by Chaya Raichik, a former real estate agent.[j][k][l] Raichik uses the accounts to repost content created by left-wing and LGBT people on TikTok, and on other social-media platforms, often with hostile, mocking, or derogatory commentary.[o][p][3] The accounts have featured hate speech[4] and false claims,[5] especially relating to medical care of transgender children.[q][o][r][s] The Twitter account, also known by the handle @LibsofTikTok, has over 2 million followers as of March 2023[t][u] and has become influential among American conservatives and the political right.[k][n][v] Libs of TikTok’s social-media accounts have received several temporary suspensions and a permanent suspension from TikTok.[u][v][w][x]

[1] On “far-right,” see [2] above under James O’Keefe. I follow LibsOfTikTok (LoTT) fairly closely. Like O’Keefe, when LoTT expresses some views (often, the account just reshares content created by other sources with an objective description), those views do not strike me as unusually conservative, and they are certainly not fascist (i.e., not “far-right” in that sense). LoTT’s posts are, however, very pointed and very effective. And that is the only reason Wikipedia feels obligated to smear LoTT as “far-right.”

[2] I have no idea if Chaya Raichik is “anti-LGBT” (I’m guessing not), but what I do know is that plenty of libertarian gay people are fans. They, like LoTT, deeply resent the growing movement of the last 5-10 years of attempting to sexualize children. So this is another quite unfair smear, which would be made only by opponents of LoTT.

[3] “Often” is wrong. Her commentary is mostly understated and simply describes what is in a video (image, document, etc.). The appended commentary is hardly the focus, in any case. It is the context of the commentary—just for example, teachers sharing insights about how to hide information about children from their own parents—that makes any appended commentary seem extreme. Besides, there is no indication here as to why LoTT does indeed occasionally express some hostility: the vast majority of Americans regard such things as amputation of the breasts and penises of minors (which hospitals have done) as outrageous. Who would not be hostile to such practices?

[4] I honestly do not know what the article means by “hate speech” here. If the article means the use of the word “groomer,” this is a word that casts aspersions on the motives of trans activists who insist strongly on exposing minors to pornography and other sexual topics at an unusually early age. I think of the case of the school consultant who wrote curricula for pre-K about masturbation. The word represents an aggressive push-back against a movement to sexualize children. That does not make it “hate speech.”

[5] “False claims” is asserted on the basis of one case: LoTT reported in 2022 that Boston Children’s Hospital performed hysterectomies on minor trans males (i.e., biological girls who call themselves boys). The evidence was not at all lacking, and it remains unclear to what extent such surgeries were performed. Boston’s Children as of June 20, 2023, tells visitors, “The Center for Gender Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital offers gender affirmation surgery services to eligible adolescents and young adults who are ready to take this step in their journey.” But later down, the hospital declares in bold, “All genital surgeries are only performed on patients age 18 and older.” It is frequently claimed by mainstream media sources (and so, Wikipedia) that hospitals do not engage in such practices as underage double mastectomy (“top surgery”) and vaginoplasty, and thus that LoTT is lying. But she and many others have repeatedly come out with overwhelming evidence that hospitals do in fact engage in such practices on minors, whether or not Boston Children’s is currently one of them. In any event, the matter is controversial, and hence a truly unbiased Wikipedia article on LoTT should not assert in its own voice that she makes “false claims” of this sort.


In none of the above do I mean to align myself with the specific views of the people smeared by Wikipedia. My point is not to defend their views but simply to show that some of the most obvious examples of bias on Wikipedia are actually reputation-damaging smears against people.

And, because the people who contribute to and even make important editorial decisions about Wikipedia are, in many cases, anonymous, it is frequently the case that there is no legal recourse against libel. This is, of course, exactly the way radical leftists like it, and exactly as they want it to remain.

Here is a previous article on Wikipedia bias (May 2020).
And here is another (June 2021).






Please do dive in (politely). I want your reactions!

One response to “How Wikipedia Smears Conservatives”

  1. Hey Larry; I was reading the Wikipedia article about Russia disinformation over the war. While the things they said are technically true (and, indeed, there is a lot of Russian disinformation, maybe it was misinformation? Whatever, and I know there is a difference). Anyway, I noticed that, almost, without exception, the sources seemed to be solely left leaning, at least the English sources used. (I don’t speak Polish, and I hadn’t gotten around to checking the French sources, I can read Cyrillic but I don’t speak Russian and barely speak Ukrainian). I think we run into a problem, when a claim is accurate, but only using one side of the political spectrum. I remember John Stossel (and keep in mind, I am not a libertarian, more centre right, and I fail to see how Libs of Tiktok, who is Jewish, is far right) pointing out that an openly socialist source was considered reliable. But, few conservative sources were. (I mention not being a libertarian, because I acknowledge my own bias against Stossel). I remember, when I took journalism classes in college, we were explicitly told not to write the way Wikipeda articles are now written. So, there’s my rant. Thanks for the read!

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