Wikipedia’s “Barack Obama” article violates Wikipedia’s “Neutral point of view” policy

Wikipedia’s “Neutral point of view” policy states:

“All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), which means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic.”


Wikipedia’s “Barack Obama” article includes a section called “Cultural and political image.” According to Wikipedia’s “Neutral point of view” policy, this section should contain both positive and negative things. However, almost everything in the section is positive. This is what the section said as of March 29, 2015:

Obama’s family history, upbringing, and Ivy League education differ markedly from those of African-American politicians who launched their careers in the 1960s through participation in the civil rights movement. Expressing puzzlement over questions about whether he is “black enough,” Obama told an August 2007 meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists that “we’re still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong.” Obama acknowledged his youthful image in an October 2007 campaign speech, saying: “I wouldn’t be here if, time and again, the torch had not been passed to a new generation.”

Obama is frequently referred to as an exceptional orator. During his pre-inauguration transition period and continuing into his presidency, Obama has delivered a series of weekly Internet video addresses.

According to the Gallup Organization, Obama began his presidency with a 68% approval rating before gradually declining for the rest of the year, and eventually bottoming out at 41% in August 2010, a trend similar to Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s first years in office. He experienced a small poll bounce shortly after Osama bin Laden’s death on May 2, 2011. This bounce lasted until around June 2011, when his approval numbers dropped back to where they were previously. His approval ratings rebounded around the same time as his reelection in 2012, with polls showing an average job approval of 52% shortly after his second inauguration. Despite him dropping to 39% in his approval ratings in late-2013 due to the ACA roll-out, he has climbed to 50% in late January 2015 according to the Gallup Organization. Polls show strong support for Obama in other countries, and before being elected President he met with prominent foreign figures including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italy’s Democratic Party leader and Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In a February 2009 poll conducted in Western Europe and the U.S. by Harris Interactive for France 24 and the International Herald Tribune, Obama was rated as the most respected world leader, as well as the most powerful. In a similar poll conducted by Harris in May 2009, Obama was rated as the most popular world leader, as well as the one figure most people would pin their hopes on for pulling the world out of the economic downturn.

Obama won Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Awards for abridged audiobook versions of Dreams from My Father in February 2006 and for The Audacity of Hope in February 2008. His concession speech after the New Hampshire primary was set to music by independent artists as the music video “Yes We Can”, which was viewed 10 million times on YouTube in its first month and received a Daytime Emmy Award. In December 2008 and in 2012, Time magazine named Obama as its Person of the Year. The 2008 awarding was for his historic candidacy and election, which Time described as “the steady march of seemingly impossible accomplishments”. On May 25, 2011, Obama became the first President of the United States to address both houses of the UK Parliament in Westminster Hall, London. This was only the 5th occurrence since the start of the 20th century, of a head of state being extended this invitation, following Charles de Gaulle in 1960, Nelson Mandela in 1996, Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

On October 9, 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that Obama had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. Obama accepted this award in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2009, with “deep gratitude and great humility.” The award drew a mixture of praise and criticism from world leaders and media figures. Obama’s peace prize was called a “stunning surprise” by The New York Times. Obama is the fourth U.S. president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the third to become a Nobel laureate while in office.

The section’s almost complete lack of negative content is a violation of Wikipedia’s “Neutral point of view” policy.

So, in order to make the section comply with Wikipedia’s “Neutral point of view” policy, a crazy person who lives in my apartment building added the following reliably sourced content to that section on April 2, 2015:

In March 2015, Associated Press wrote, “The Obama administration set a new record again for more often than ever censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.”

In February 2013, ABC News White House reporter Ann Compton, who covered Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, both Bushes, and Obama, said “The president’s day-to-day policy development… is almost totally opaque to the reporters trying to do a responsible job of covering it. There are no readouts from big meetings he has with people from the outside, and many of them aren’t even on his schedule. This is different from every president I covered. This White House goes to extreme lengths to keep the press away.” In October 2013, Compton said that Obama was the “least transparent of the seven presidents I’ve covered in terms of how he does his daily business.”

In May 2013, the New York Times wrote, “With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible ‘co-conspirator’ in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.” In May 2013, the Washington Post wrote “To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job — seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public — deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based.”

In October 2013, New York Times reporter David Sanger said, “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.”

In August 2013, the Obama administration illegally seized documents from the home of Audrey Hudson, a reporter who lived in Shady Side, Maryland.

Michael Oreskes, a senior managing editor at Associated Press, said, “the Obama administration has been extremely controlling and extremely resistant to journalistic intervention.”

In February 2014, the Obama administration announced that it planned to put government employees inside TV stations and newspaper offices to monitor their activities.

In March 2014, New York Times reporter James Risen said Obama was, “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”

During one year of Obama’s presidency, from 2013 to 2014, the U.S. ranking on the World Press Freedom Index fell by 14 places, dropping from #32 to #46.

In November 2013, 38 major news organizations sent a letter to the Obama administration complaining about its lack of transparency. The letter was singed by all the major broadcast and cable networks, wire services, online services and newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the McClatchy Co., which owns 30 daily newspapers across the country. In July 2014, 38 media organizations (not necessarily the same ones) sent a letter to the Obama administration complaining about its lack of transparency. That letter can be read here.

In July 2009, White House reporter Helen Thomas said, “The point is the control from here. We have never had that in the White House. And we have had some control but not this control. I mean I’m amazed, I’m amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency and have controlled… Nixon didn’t try to do that… They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try. What the hell do they think we are, puppets? They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.”

Unfortunately, that content was deleted, and the account of the user who added it was banned.

Soon afterward, that same content was again added, deleted, added, deleted, added, and deleted. All three of those other accounts that added the information were banned.

 

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April 7, 2015. Tags: , , , , , . Barack Obama, Media bias, Politics, Wikipedia.

2 Comments

  1. drketedc replied:

    Wikipedia is rarely ‘neutral’. Their content concerning alternative medicine is mostly incorrect and often inflammatory, for example. The concept of Wikipedia seems legit until you see how they actually approach it. Pick any topic you know a lot about, especially if there is controversy, and you will find the Wikipedia entry leans toward one opinion. As far as this Obama information goes, I don’t understand how they can defend their actions. The journalism information is true. What about it should get someone banned? And why leave in the stuff about what a great speaker Obama is? That is certainly false. Well, to be fair, I guess if you love the guy it could seem true.

    • Smokey Behr (@Smokeybehr) replied:

      Look at the “GamerGate” controversy, and the article on Wikipedia. There has been an ongoing edit war, as well as multiple people getting full site bans from the “Arbitration Committee” (aka ArbCom), several of whose members are participants in that edit war.

      Going through school, I’ve had many professors who would zero out a paper if Wikipedia was used as a primary reference.

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