Long-time Legal Insurrection readers will recall the controversy over the ever-changing Elizabeth Warren Wikipedia page.  Here’s an overview from 2013:  Elizabeth Warren Wikipedia page ethnically cleansed (Update — partial restoration).

In the wake of the controversial and hypocritical decision of the New York Times to keep Sarah Jeong despite her racist tweets, the same sort of cleansing of Jeong’s Wikipedia page is underway.

The section of the Jeong Wikipeida page, entitled “BBC says (Headline): ‘Sarah Jeong: NY Times stands by racist tweets reporter],” has been pulled and is no longer available except via the Talk page.

Here is the current “Contents” listing for the published version of the Jeong Wikipedia entry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_JeongHowever, there are two references listed that have no corresponding text in the article in its current form:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_JeongThis is due to the deletion of an entire section on the Jeong Twitter scandal and the New York Times’ hypocrisy.  Whoever removed the text forgot to also remove the associated References.

At this time, the entire Sarah Jeong Wikipedia page is “under consideration for deletion.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_JeongSo what’s going on?  Apparently, a vocal segment of Wiki contributors and its sympathetic cohort who make such decisions at Wikipedia simply don’t want the information included . . . or can’t agree on how it should be parsed.

The “Talk” section on this topic is fascinating as various contributors weigh in on the best way to cover the facts of the scandal.

Particularly revealing is the change from a pretty innocuous report on a BBC article to the “new proposal” that blames “conservative commentators.”

The BBC, which is generally considered a WP:RS around these parts, reports:

The New York Times has defended a new member of its editorial board who wrote racist tweets about white people.[1]

I fail to see why this would not be included in the article. Cheers to all, XavierItzm (talk) 22:50, 2 August 2018 (UTC)

*** @XavierItzm: I have changed your comment, since the BBC changed the article today. For anyone wondering, the BBC used to say “racist” but now says “inflammatory”. You can see somewhere below where I criticize this decision by the BBC, but if they changed it, we have to respect that. wumbolo ^^^ 16:33, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

I’ve reverted this Orwellian change. Changing someone else’s comment on a talk page is not acceptable.2600:1012:B147:F1EA:F559:8E27:8070:B4CB (talk) 09:32, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

I don’t see anyone disagreeing that the tweets are in fact racist. At the very least, we could insert a sentence that says: “Sarah Jeong become the subject of widespread criticism in the media in early August 2018 when, upon her hiring by the New York Times Editorial Board, it was discovered that she had posted a series of racist Twitter messages disparaging white people.” I don’t think any of that is disputed in any way at this point.Ikjbagl (talk) 23:18, 2 August 2018 (UTC)

This goes back and forth for some time, and then the “new proposal” is made:

New proposal

Including this sentence on her article has 8 supports and 3 opposes but many supports want more information as well. However, all of the supports and the mild oppose agree that this information should be included in the article. To address the concerns of those that want more context on the controversy I propose that this section be included after the sentence noting that she was hired:

In August 2, 2018 conservatives commentators on social media drew attention to tweets that Jeong made in 2014 that were disparaging to white people.'The New York Times' issued a comment noting that she was a target of frequent online harassment and that the tweets were Jeong responding by "imitating her accusers." The 'Times' has also said that they do not condone Jeong's tweets and that Jeong regrets her approach to responding to harassment.

I trimmed down the section I originally proposed by stripping the quote and using some of the more encyclopedic wording that Innisfree987 included in his take of this section. I have maintained two key distinctions from his diff though:

One: using “drew attention” instead of “criticized”. The reliable sources were replete with criticism of Jeong’s tweets and their involvement magnified the controversy, it was not just conservatives on twitter complaining about her.

Two: I stated “disparaging to white people” instead of “criticized… as disparaging to white people.” The reliable sources are in agreement, whether they label the tweets as racist or not. This CNN article is a full throated and unequivocal defense of Jeong. In it they say: “Jeong, who is Asian, had drawn scrutiny after the resurfacing of a number of years-old tweets in which she spoke disparagingly of white people.” The inclusion of “disparaging to white people” should be uncontroversial, it avoids having to use the word racist and sources on both sides of the issue use the phrase or a variant to describe her tweets. SWL36 (talk) 17:16, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

This didn’t go uncontested, however, and one Wikipedia Talk contributor took issue with assigning blame for the controversy on “conservative commentators.”

I don’t know that I could agree with the way you’ve written this. Citing “conservative commentators” and not mentioning that it was a large news story in mainstream news makes it sound more partisan than it actually was. I also don’t know if avoiding the word “racist” is the right thing to do at this point; certainly we shouldn’t describe her as racist, but when the BBC has a headline up for 12 hours on their front page characterizing the tweets as racist, and when many (if not every) other major news networks have done the same, it seems most appropriate to characterize them as racist. Still, if you want to avoid the word, I would change your first sentence back to being something about receiving widespread criticism in the news media, because we have plenty of sources to back that claim up. Maybe make it:

 In August 2018, Jeong received widespread criticism in the news media in response to tweets she had made in 2014 that were disparaging to white people. 'The New York Times' issued a comment noting that she was a target of frequent online harassment and that the tweets were Jeong responding by "imitating her accusers." The 'Times' has also said that they do not condone Jeong's tweets and that Jeong regrets her approach to responding to harassment.
And I would append the following three sources as citations:

Ikjbagl (talk) 17:36, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

The “oppose” v. “support” exchange that follows is well worth reading (if you are so inclined, here’s the archived link lest even the Talk page be purged), but ultimately, as we’ve seen, the Wikipedia powers that be have decided not to include any mention of the racist tweet/NYT hypocrisy scandal at all (the two remaining references seem to be an oversight that will likely be “corrected” at some near point . .  . if the entire entry is not ultimately deleted).

Wikipedia, like Twitter, can run itself as it wants, but there’s a reason that Wikipedia no longer enjoys the reputation it once held for providing reliable basic information about its contents.  Like other once-trusted sites (i.e. Snopes), Wikipedia has become politicized to the point that it’s no longer reliable on any topic that is even marginally political.  And for the left everything is political.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.