Editors at Wikipedia have engaged in a years-long effort to damage BlazeTV host Mark Levin’s credibility and smear him as a conspiracy theorist, smears that have been repeated by news outlets, according to a report from Breitbart. The author of the report, T.D. Adler, is a former editor for Wikipedia who accuses two Wikipedia editors of “non-neutral editing” and “a history of adding negative content to the articles of conservatives” in violation of Wikipedia’s neutrality policy.
Adler reports that Wikipedia editors with the internet aliases “Snooganssnoogans” and “Localemediamonitor” jointly made negative changes to Levin’s Wikipedia page over several months following Levin’s 2017 exposition of the “police state tactics” of the Obama administration weaponized against the Donald Trump campaign for president and the Trump administration. Levin used various reports from credible mainstream media sources to describe how he believed the Obama administration abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to surveil the Trump campaign, gather intelligence on individuals associated with the campaign including Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and others, and then selectively leak the intelligence gathered to the media with the intent to harm the early Trump administration with accusations of Russian collusion. As a result of these news reports citing anonymous government officials alleging coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations involving Russia, special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate, and House Democrats ultimately impeached President Trump.
In 2017 after President Trump tweeted that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the election, various members of the media attributed the idea to Levin and accused him of spreading a “conspiracy theory” throughout conservative media without evidence. On Wikipedia, “Snooganssnoogans” and “Localemediamonitor” edited Levin’s page to echo the accusations against Levin and smear him further.
Shortly after the media criticized Levin, Wikipedia editor “Snooganssnoogans” added a section to Levin’s page on Wikipedia claiming he made the surveillance allegation “without evidence” despite the Guardian article cited for the material noting Levin’s sources for the claim, though another editor soon corrected this material. The Guardian is considered “reliable” on Wikipedia and is one of the third most-cited news outlets on the site. Using the wire-tapping allegations as precedent, editor “Localemediamonitor” began including what the editor claimed were “past similar allegations [and] controversies” in the article. Snooganssnoogans also added material in this vein and both editors considerably expanded the section with more negative material over the following months.
Two parts of the section Levin specifically criticized were added by Localemediamonitor, such as a paragraph about a hoax caller to Levin’s show and a line about Levin characterizing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as a “radical Marxist who believes in violence.” On his show, Levin noted this remark was in the context of the Alexandria shooting targeting Republican Congressmen carried out by a former Sanders campaign volunteer. The two editors were primarily responsible for expanding the section, with others refining or removing material to try and provide balance. Although some biased edits were filtered out, such as edits by Snooganssnoogans claiming the wire-tapping allegations were false and retitling a sub-section on Levin’s views as “promotion of conspiracy theories”, most negative additions were preserved.
Adler highlights how the biased edits from “Snooganssnoogans” and “Localemediamonitor” violate Wikipedia’s neutrality policy, which according to Adler mandates that “material about a subject, especially a living person, needs to give due weight to coverage in reliable sources.”
This means whether the material should be included at all often depends on whether multiple sources have given that aspect of the subject significant attention. The material regarding Sanders, for instance, cites only Conservative Review, where Levin is editor-in-chief. Aside from omitting context from his show, a recording of which is in the article, the fact this incident did not receive independent coverage in other sources more distant from Levin goes against including it. One section added by Snooganssnoogans about “pay-to-play” charges Levin has denied cites only Politico, the source of the allegations.
“Such non-neutral editing is normal for both editors, who have a history of adding negative content to the articles of conservatives,” Adler writes. He reports that Localemediamonitor is responsible for adding negative edits to the Wikipedia pages of other conservative radio personalities including Dennis Prager and that some, but not all, of his edits were later removed for using “questionable sources.” Snooganssnoogans, Adler points out, was previously sanctioned for biased editing of conservative pages without approval. Negative material from Levin’s page added by both editors was later picked up by mainstream news outlets including the Forward and Raw Story, Adler reports.
Recent revelations from the Department of Justice’s inspector general Michael Horowitz’s report on the FISA warrant issued against Carter Page confirmed that FBI officials lied to obtain a warrant to surveil the Trump campaign. Levin’s 2017 analysis of the “silent coup” against President Trump has been vindicated, and yet Wikipedia’s Mark Levin page remains unedited and continues to accuse Levin of “‘Deep State’ conspiracy theories.”
Levin responded to Adler’s article, thanking him and Breitbart for “spending a great deal of time analyzing Wikipedia’s years’ long smears, lies, and spin campaign against my character and career.”