Image 01 Image 03

Elizabeth Warren Wikipedia page ethnically cleansed, again

Elizabeth Warren Wikipedia page ethnically cleansed, again

Meanwhile, Warren listed elsewhere on Wikipedia as “Multiracial” “White Native American”

After we called attention to the fact that Elizabeth Warren’s Wikipedia page had been cleansed of its section on her (false) claim to be Cherokee, a vigorous debate took place among editors of Wikipedia since the expungement of the information violated Wikipedia’s rules.

The section was restored, but in a less comprehensive fashion than previously existed. As I noted, while the restored section was incomplete and did not deal with the full scope of Warren’s conduct, at least the restored section was more balanced and gave links to sources reflecting criticism of Warren.

I thought maybe we were done, and Wikipedia would have a somewhat balanced entry on this important part of Warren’s political persona.

Someone or some people who edit Wikipedia, however, continue on the mission to cleanse Warren’s Cherokee controversy. The section has been removed again as of late last night. Here is a comparison of the prior and current (as of this writing) tables of contents. Notice the section on Cherokee self-identification is gone now:

Elizabeth Warren - Wikipedia Contents 1-10-2013 - circledElizabeth Warren - Wikipedia Contents 1-11-2013 935 Eastern

What remains about the controversy has been put in the middle of the 2012 Election section, where it is less likely to be seen, and worse yet, has been rewritten in a manner much more favorable to Warren.  Important criticism of Warren by Twila Barnes, the Cherokee genealogist, has been dropped, as has reference to Warren’s recent failure to list herself as Native American with the Senate.

The new text focuses heavily on Warren’s defense of herself without any contrary views quoted other than the Brown campaign. The following now is the entirety of the discussion  (as of this writing, more information is being added by Warren supporters as I write):

In April 2012, the Boston Herald reported that in the 1990s Harvard Law School had, in response to criticisms about the lack of faculty diversity, publicized Warren’s law directory entries from 1986 to 1995, in which she had self-identified as a Native American.[47][48][49] Fact-checking efforts by the New England Historical Genealogical Society and the Washington Post found no evidence of Cherokee lineage in Warren’s family history.[50][51] Warren’s three siblings have backed her claim, stating, “We grew up listening to our mother and grandmother and other relatives talk about our family’s Cherokee and Delaware heritage.”[52] The Brown campaign, called on her to “come clean about her motivations for making these claims and explain the contradictions between her rhetoric and the record”,[53] and from several Cherokee groups.[54][55] Warren maintained that Native American ancestry was a part of her family folklore, and that she had self-identified as a minority in the law directory listing in hopes of meeting people of a similar background.[56][57] She denied receiving any professional advantage or preferential treatment as a result of her claimed ancestry.[53][58] Charles Fried, a Harvard Law professor who was involved in Warren’s hiring, said that her heritage was never mentioned and played no role in the decision.[47]

It’s a little hard from the History of the page to tell exactly who is doing it, but it appears to include someone using the username ExclusiveAgent with some others supportive of the effort.  The Talk page for the Warren entry reflects the ongoing editor fight, with someone with the username FurrySings arguing strenuously for material to be added favorable to Warren, specifically a claim of Delaware ancestry through a distant relative named Ina Mapes which already has been debunked by Twila Barnes’ Cherokee genealogy group.  As I’m writing this “FurrySings” is adding in more text favorable to Warren.

This is an ongoing fight to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Warren’s history, a history which many people will know only from Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, a reader alerted me to the absurdity that Wikipedia lists Warren under the article “Multiracial American” and the subsection “White Native Americans” based on the demonstrably false statement (in the Talk section) that Warren “is part Cherokee and European”:

Elizabeth Warren Wikipedia White Native Americans photos

We are going to form a working group to monitor and address the ethnic cleansing of Warren’s Wikipedia page and the incorrect inclusion of her as a “multiracial””White Native American.”

We encourage readers to alert us if any other inaccuracies are found.

Update 1-30-2013 — We created our own, Announcing


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


casualobserver | January 11, 2013 at 10:53 am

I understand how important it is to hold Wikipedia accountable for cultural reasons. Surely most ‘thinking’ people realize it is NOT a reliable or trustworthy source of factual data and information. This episode concerning Warren’s page is the prefect evidence that political forces override the drive for informational ‘purity’. In other words, the ‘filtering’ is first done with politics in mind, then second or later with accuracy in mind.

But do we really expect anything different from essentially crowdsourced encyclopedic knowledge?

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to casualobserver. | January 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I understand your “thinking people” exclusion, but this information needs to be there for the legions of “other people” who browse Wikipedia. Who knows, but one or more minds may be changed, and people may be enlightened by inserting this nugget of truth in a place not known for its particularly brilliant nuggets.

    As my granny used to say, “It ain’t gonna hurt none to do it.”

      casualobserver in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | January 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      I am by no means suggesting it is a wasted effort. I’m simply pointing out it is more of a cultural win (for the many eyes that will see it) than one of accurate information for posterity. Of course, in modern academia, Wikipedia may be completely acceptable as a source (provided the information follows a narrative…). Is it? I’m not sure.

I felt that a bread-and-butter case against Warren was needed to defeat her, so I’ve been giving two cheers for the Cherokee muckraking.

However, it’s clear that covering up Warren’s lying is a high, sustained priority for somebody.

Is there a Journolist for Wikipedia?

The motto of the Left:

A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
Russian Communist politician & revolutionary (1870 – 1924)

    Silver seren in reply to David Yotham. | January 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Um…you do realize that goes both ways. Seriously, both sides are stupid and getting all hyperbolic serves nothing. Look, I can do it too.

    “The motto of the Right:

    Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
    German Fascist politician (1889-1945)”

    Hyperbole solves nothing.

As I was born in these United States to parents born in these United States and I’m “white” that makes me a “White Native American”. This is going to be so much fun. In fact I propose a “White Native American” registry.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to jdkchem. | January 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    As a person with a whole lot of Indian blood in me, let me tell you that the only people who call American Indians “native Americans” are people affected by PC. Anyone who’s a real Indian calls himself or herself, Indian.

    Warren is an absolute fraud. The Cherokee People know it, and she knows they know it. She is trying to expunge her shame by erasing her history. It won’t work. Indians have long memories.

Mr. Jacobson, I am glad you are working to make sure the truth about Elizabeth Warren is known. Truth is important and people do read wikipedia. It is fair for you all to form a group so that the truth about Elizabeth Warren is known especially since she has fans who are working to hide the truth about her. Now that she is a senator it is even more important that the truth about her character is known far and wide because now she has power and influence and that is just creepy.

Just a present day example of commie airbrushing of inconveniant faces (facts) from the reviewing stand on Mayday.

It’s a losing battle for those who believe in objectivity as the MSM as none.

It’s a losing battle when the dumbed down public chooses free stuff over substantive values.

It’s a losing battle when liberal democrats choose to use methods that are far from “above board.”

Nothing to see here… Just move along now!

I guess Wikipedia came like a chief in the night.

Please go to wikipedia’s page on Elizabeth Warren, rank the page as you see fit on accuracy, and add external references (such as Twyla’s site, this site, etc.).

if lots of people do it, it’s going to make the people doing the editing at Wikipedia look pretty stupid. I’m not claiming they’ll stop, but they WILL look stupid and biased to the other editors.

Professor, could you provide a concise list of multiple sites to reference, that wikipedia does not already reference?

We can DEFINITELY fight this. the truth is on our side, let’s pound the truth.

    Samuel Keck in reply to radiofreeca. | January 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Please go to wikipedia’s page on Elizabeth Warren, rank the page as you see fit on accuracy, …

    Done and done. Ratings for the Wikipedia entry for Elizabeth Warren are at the very bottom of her main page; right now it ranks fairly low in the areas of being “trustworthy,” “objective,’ and “complete.”

We are going to form a working group to monitor and address the ethnic cleansing of Warren’s Wikipedia page and the incorrect inclusion of her as a “multiracial””White Native American.”

What do you expect this working group to do?

My suggestion, though I think this would be time consuming (and likely futile), would be to work with/within the Wikipedia process to create a bot that automatically tags pieces of an article that have undergone rapid and/or extensive changes, just to alert wiki users that there is an ongoing wiki war, or has been one in the past, and that links the user to the significantly changed versions of the page.

If there is a CS department at your school, consider working with another faculty member and sponsor a project for a student to write such a bot.

(Get a History prof to work with you, and then all four of you can write a paper about what this bot reveals about wiki wars and how it now allows wiki users to easily take the measure of the ongoing vert/revert activity on a page and it will be much harder for Wikipedia to kill it.)

“The motto of the Left:

A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
Russian Communist politician & revolutionary (1870 – 1924)”

When I am at lefty sites and read equivalent crap, I think it’s as much bullshit as when I read righty sites and read crap like this.

I see no evidence that both sides are not engaging in wiki wars, or that in general partisan leftists are less honest than partisan rightists.

Instead of pointing out that you distrust people you already identify as your enemy, I think you would be more productive making sure your own side was as intellectually honest as you want your enemy to be.

    Valerie in reply to jay. | January 11, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Maybe you just have some prejudices that make you think the truth isn’t important, if it’s on the wrong kind of site.

    gasper in reply to jay. | January 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Jay: you may disagree with this, but I think it is a very accurate statement to attribute to the left. Have you watched MSM, especially MSNBC, outright lie, over and over and over again, without shame. They all parrot each other and blatantly lie. And it’s not just them, it’s everyhwere. Hell, was initially showing “proof” fo Warren’s ancestry until challenged, then admitted their documentation was from an assisted living home’s newsletter. Ancestry also contorted historical documents to make the claim that Obama “may” have been descended from the first slave in America. This is bullshit. Not the statement you dismiss.

    casualobserver in reply to jay. | January 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    What is your ultimate point? Since you cannot or did not prove that one side is more guilty of pushing spin or pure falsehoods to become truth, is your point simply that it shouldn’t be called out at all because it exists on both sides????

    I, too, am always skeptical of those who call out their ‘enemy’ for tactics they use as well. But to call out the use of spin/falsehoods as wrong in this specific case (repeated cleansing of a Wiki entry for purely political reasons) seems equally inappropriate to me. What intellectual honesty is missing in the reference to the Lenin quotation??

    Estragon in reply to jay. | January 12, 2013 at 4:43 am

    You are demanding we prove a negative.

    IF you have evidence of conservatives removing factual entries, post it.

Well, clearly somebody higher up is orchestrating some minion(s) to sanitize/whitewash the issue.

There is a small writeup of Lieawatha on – the alternative to wikipedia. Perhaps that needs to be expanded. There are SO MANY THINGS to add re: Pow Wow Chow, first breastfeeder to take NJ bar exam, practicing law in MA without a license, etc.

PS – now that Lieawatha won, I wonder if she’ll be swapping her Ford Focus back to the BMW she drove before running for office.

    Silver seren in reply to walls. | January 11, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Conservapedia is way, way worse than any article on Wikipedia. You could pick any random article to read on there and it would be worse than every article on Wikipedia. Dinosaur is a fun one though, because it’s so wacky.

May I recommend an excellent book?

‘The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin’s Russia’ is a work of serious scholarship that is also heavily illustrated and highly readable. The author places the original photo next to the retouched one, and details what happened to the disappeared people. Through this technique he tells the story of the Soviet Union in the 1930’s.

Unfortunately, it is out of print. You can at least see the reviews here:

It is possible to access parts of the work online – here are some more sources for the same work –

Photo Exhibit with detailed captions:

First Chapter:

“Like their counterparts in Hollywood, photographic retouchers in Soviet Russia spent long hours smoothing out the blemishes of imperfect complexions, helping the camera to falsify reality. Joseph Stalin’s pockmarked face, in particular, demanded exceptional skills with the airbrush. But it was during the Great Purges, which raged in the late 1930s, that a new form of falsification emerged. The physical eradication of Stalin’s political opponents at the hands of the secret police was swiftly followed by their obliteration from all forms of pictorial existence.

Photographs for publication were retouched and restructured with airbrush and scalpel to make once famous personalities vanish. Paintings, too, were often withdrawn from museums and art galleries so that compromising faces could be blocked out of group portraits. Entire editions of works by denounced politicians and writers were banished to the closed sections of the state libraries and archives or simply destroyed.

Soviet citizens, fearful of the consequences of being caught in possession of material considered “anti-Soviet” or “counterrevolutionary,” were forced to deface their own copies of books and photographs, often savagely attacking them with scissors or disfiguring them with India ink. There is hardly a publication from the Stalinist period that does not bear the scars of this political vandalism…

The libraries of the former Soviet Union still bear these scars of “vigilant” political vandalism. Many volumes–political, cultural, or scientific–published in the first two decades of Soviet rule had whole chapters ripped out by the censors. Reproductions of photographs of future “enemies of the people” were attacked with disturbing violence. In schools across the country, children were actively engaged by their teachers in the “creative” removal of the denounced from their textbooks. A collective paranoia stretched right through the period of Soviet rule.”

Gee, maybe it’s just me…but does it seem to anyone else like there’s a bit of a pattern here?

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Cassie. | January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    This is covered also in, “Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million”. It’s a look at the real Stalin (Koba was his childhood name) and alternate universe he created for himself and how he pulled a whole nation into it. All most all of the record and document cleansing, as well as millions of murders of innocents, were to make the real world conform to his vision of reality.

    Read it, and compare it to what we’re seeing today.

    J Motes in reply to Cassie. | January 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for recommending this book. Here’s what I’ve found about getting copies online:

    Amazon has about 30 used copies available now, starting at $49.95.

    The lowest price I found for a physical copy in a Google search is at Strand Books, two copies at $30 or $35:

    Last, I found files available in doc, epub and pdf formats for download at:

    They did not mention pricing on that page, so I assume the files are free. However, clicking the PDF link first took me to a page that asked me to complete one of several surveys before being directed to the actual book. I tried one, but it is incompatible with my browser and so I cannot get past the survey. I don’t want to download software from an unknown site. Is anyone familiar enough with this site to verify its safety? Is anyone here brave enough to battle through to the PDF prize and make it more easily available to LI readers?

IMHO it’s also important to identify Warren as the intellectual midwife of OWS. As with her Cherokee misrepresentation, she was happy to stake a claim when it was to her advantage—and tried to drop the matter when it threatened to be a liability.

As of this writing, to only allusion to her relationship to Occupy in in Reference #1 of her Wikipedia bio; the Wikipeda text does not refer to it.

It would appear that Wikipedia is more like an Etcha-Sketch than an E-mirror reflecting reality. The very nature of an openly editable ‘history/bio” site is troubling indeed. I’d like to change a few things in my own history but that’s not going to happen through Wikipedia.

But, while one can digitally erase the truth at night the reality that made it true will still be there in the morning.

I’m sure that this Wiki post is being ‘tweaked’ so that Liz can be typecast as a warm wonderful human being in touch with the little guy. (I’m gagging as I write this!)

“Unsubstantiated-opedia” would be a better place for Liz to document her “Cherokee” background.

“Licentiousness-opedia” would be a good place to document her legal dealings.

Correction: I Googled Elizabeth Warren Wiki. Mea Culpa. Googling her name alone I get all the puff.

Wikipedia is controlled by the people who are most vigorous in pushing their point.

If you want a good example, check the history of their page on corn.

First, I have to applaud this series of articles, William, and thank you for doing this the right way. A lot of times, blogs and news sources just rant about problems in Wikipedia without backing up their statements that something is wrong.

You’ve done the right thing here by actually providing links to evidence of things that are incorrect or misrepresented in the article. So, thanks for that.

P.S. You kinda need to do something about most of your readers/commenters though. It feels like i’m reading the comments section of Red State or Democratic Underground or something.

Warren should just sign-up for the PBS show FINDING YOUR ROOTS which would put this matter, which is totally irrelevant to her qualifications to serve as a Senator, to rest.