Trustworthy? Wikipedia Drops the Ball on Mueller Report

March 25th, 2019 3:34 PM

One of Google and YouTube’s trusted partners is not exactly trustworthy when it comes to reporting the facts.

Google and YouTube elevated Wikipedia to the level of fact by using the volunteer-run encyclopedia site to fill in the blanks on “Knowledge Panels.” But after the Mueller Report was delivered and declared President Donald Trump “did not commit a crime” with Russia in the 2016 presidential election, Wikipedia seems to have a hard time adjusting to this fact. Ten articles on Wikipedia either buried or ignored the results completely.

One article “fact-checked” Trump’s tweet about the report, saying that Attorney General William Barr’s letter quoted Mueller as saying that the report “did not exonerate him.” This statement was put in a subsection that began a litany of “Trump’s falsehoods.” Barr had written that “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

While Wikipedia allows registered users to edit any piece they want, “locked” pieces don’t allow changes to be made. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s bio mentions the report but avoids mentioning the results of the report. A simple sentence reads, “Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr on March 22, 2019 which officially ended the investigation on possible Russian influence in the 2016 United States presidential election.”

An article about the legal teams involved in the Mueller investigation had not, as of March 25, been updated with the results of the report. Another piece, titled “Efforts to Impeach Donald Trump,” had also not been updated. It included the sentence, “According to sources close to the White House, the Trump administration is considering using various obscure legal means to slow down the investigation and undermine the special counsel.”

Wikipedia buried the results in the Wikipedia entry on the report itself. After detailing them, whoever wrote the entry added the caveat pertaining to Barr’s letter: “However, the letter did detail two ways in which Russia attempted to influence the election in Trump's favor.”

In another entry, titled “Links between Trump associates and Russian officials,” the results were revealed … five paragraphs in. The same happened in the article, “Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.”

On a Wikipedia timeline, “Timeline of investigations into Trump and Russia (2018),” the results weren’t even mentioned once. And on the piece detailing reactions to the investigation, only conservative reactions from while the investigation was going on were posted. The piece also ignored the results.

One sentence on President Trump's bio detailed the report -- in the fourth paragraph.

Academics have warned against using Wikipedia as a source for years. But YouTube and Google ignored this and have built an entire system on Wikipedia. Google proudly boasted of its relationship with Wikipedia in January 2019, saying “Our organizations have partnered throughout the years on initiatives that further our joint goals around knowledge access, including making information available through Google Search.”

Wikipedia has been consistent with its bias against conservatives, to the point where hoaxes against the Republican party have been allowed to stand. In one case, the California GOP was referred to as the “party of Naziism.”