As the November general election draws closer, there is great interest in presumptive nominee Joe Biden’s choice of running mate — and one name consistently mentioned as a possibility is that of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Though Sen. Harris has some political skeletons in her closet that could reduce her appeal among Democratic voters, an editor at Wikipedia is now attempting to erase them from public view, according to Breitbart.
According to Breitbart, The Intercept first reported last week that a Wikipedia editor has been working to scrub the former California attorney general’s page on the site so as to remove evidence of scandals and to eliminate references to Harris’ prior reputation as being tough on crime — now an unpopular stance on the left.
Known by the online moniker “Bnguyen1114,” the editor in question is said to have made hundreds of edits to Harris’ page throughout the last several months, according to Breitbart.
Sanitizing the past
As the Intercept revealed, Bnguyen1114’s real name is Bao Nguyen, and he is a California-based attorney who formerly served as a volunteer on Harris’ failed presidential campaign.
What’s more, according to The Intercept, he has reportedly been involved in “fights over the proposed edits with other Wikipedia editors, who pointed out that the language was getting pulled directly from press releases and campaign literature.”
“You seem to have gone through a database of press releases from Harris’s office, cataloging every single one and adding it to the article,” The Intercept quoted one Wikipedia editor as telling Nguyen. “That is not how we write encyclopedic articles,” they further admonished.
Some of the more controversial changes made included the removal of a 2003 quote from Harris in which the then-aspiring San Francisco district attorney stated, “It is not progressive to be soft on crime.”
In addition to removing damaging information, Breitbart reported that The Intercept found Nguyen “added positive material” to Harris’ Wikipedia page, including “significantly expanding content about her securing of mortgage settlements with the major banks.”
Conflict of interest
According to Breitbart’s T.D. Adler, the tactic of biased editing isn’t only employed by supporters of Harris. Adler stated that “editors previously created pages for former presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang without disclosing their connections to them.”
Adler has characterized “editing by editors with conflicts of interest” as a “common problem on Wikipedia” even though such activities run contrary to the site’s official policies.
Is an imminent VP nod from Biden the reason Nguyen is scrambling to produce this revisionist history of Harris’ career? Only time will tell.