Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is said to be on Joe Biden’s vice presidential shortlist, and should she receive the nod, her past is sure to receive a great deal of renewed scrutiny.
With that in mind, reports from Breitbart and elsewhere have suggested that Harris’ Wikipedia page has recently been surreptitiously edited in order to scrub elements of her biography that may be seen as undesirable by potential voters.
After the content was removed and replaced and removed yet again from Harris’ page, it reportedly became apparent that the overwhelming bulk of the edits in the senator’s favor have come from one individual who has now admitted to having been a volunteer on the campaigns of both Harris and Biden.
“Unflattering” material scrubbed
The battle over the content of Harris’ Wikipedia page was first noted by Aida Chavez in The Intercept, which reported on July 2 that “unflattering” aspects of her career as a prosecutor were being removed, sometimes replaced with more neatly-framed tidbits of information and other times scrubbed from existence altogether.
When this process was first noticed in June, it was recalled by Chavez that the same thing had previously occurred to an extent with the Wikipedia pages for Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, as well as with then-Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate in 2008.
As such, a special code script was created that searched for recent edits among those rumored to be on Biden’s shortlist, and it was discovered that more than 400 edits had been made to Harris’ page in recent months, far more than any other contender.
The Intercept noted that some of the deleted information pertained to her “tough on crime” stance as a prosecutor as well as instances of hypocrisy and rumors of potential corruption for refusing to pursue certain prosecutions of well-connected individuals.
Other deletions included information about prior campaign finance violations as well as a whole section pertaining her stance on Israel and a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Intercept noted.
Biased editor banned
Breitbart reported that there had been other deletions made that went unmentioned by The Intercept, such as Harris’ personal relationship with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D), then the California Assembly speaker who admittedly provided her with well-paying appointments that helped launched her political career.
The Intercept noted the user name of the editor who made the bulk of the changes, and Breitbart pointed out that internet sleuths had quickly determined the user’s actual identity by way of an IP address and a similar user name on other social media platforms. It was also found that, in addition to removing negative information about Harris, the user was also adding highly positive information to improve her image.
Breitbart added that the battle over Harris’ page has continued even after the emergence of the Intercept’s article and the identification of the editor, though it was pointed out that the individual has since admitted his connection to Harris and Biden and has been banned by Wikipedia from making any further edits related to them or other political figures with whom he has been involved.
Unfortunately, this problem will certainly persist, and this whole affair only underscores why Wikipedia articles cannot be fully trusted as credible or taken at face value, especially when dealing with politicians or controversial topics, as they can be edited by virtually anyone with an agenda.