I have long been a defender of Wikipedia. The fact that it allows for instant correction makes it far more reliable than many Pulitzer Award winning books, which sometimes have errors on their first page.
And the way it has maintained balance in the midst of national socio-political debates has been remarkable.
But if that applies to the big stories, I have good reasons to know that Wikipedia can also be a tool for political bullies to target their personal enemies.
For many years now my own Wikipedia site has been controlled by competing trolls who seem to have different agendas. I am told by people in the publishing industry that it has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions.
Even when I get a contract I have to send links to publishers to show the accurate information.
Recently, a new Wiki editor has become involved and seems to be trying to clean up the site, for example, he (or she) has finally corrected my name, and this leads me to have hope that someone at Wikipedia will try to correct other mistakes that have been ongoing for years and, additionally, bring some balance to this article.
Here are some of the issues:
- For years my name was incorrect.
- Even now, my birthday is incorrect. It is not May 19.
- The article has long had a qualifier at the beginning that implies it has been written as an "advertisement," or by myself or persons directed by me, of for self-promotion, when in fact, I never asked for this article and attempts by anyone associated with me to correct obvious mistakes were always rebuffed.
- One of the trolls who has dominated this site uses it to promote a favorite member of Congress. Surely the congresswoman’s own Wikipedia article is the appropriate place to promote her. Persons who read my books or see me on television are not even aware that I ever ran for Congress.
- It is said that I am credited for coining the phrase "compassionate conservative" but says a citation is needed. In fact, Wikipedia’s own page on "compassionate conservative" declares this fact and cites Time magazine, books published and other sources. If Wikipedia’s own article on "compassionate conservative" is wrong about this, it should be taken down. If it is correct, then it should be accepted as a legitimate citation.
- The article says, "Beyond high school, Wead has no other formal education or college degree," but omits honorary doctorates from two universities. (The article on Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, includes his honorary doctorates.)
- The article includes critical quotes from persons I have never even met, Bill Press and Bill O’Reilly, but refuses to include quotes from President Ronald Reagan, for whom I wrote a book and spent many days and hours with and George H.W. Bush, with whom I co-authored a book and for whom I worked for in the White House. Nor does it include quotes from former president Gerald Ford who was entertained in my home on two occasions and who worked with me on the "Charity Awards."
- Most people who contact me, know me from television appearances, but this Wikipedia site ignores that and at one time, when one of my publishers tried to correct it, the Wiki supervisor actually contended in the talk section that there is no evidence that I am / or ever have been on television.
- Even now it does not mention it. While Amazon, Hachette and Simon and Schuster all refer to interviews with Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, Charlie Rose, Sean Hannity, Jake Tapper, etc. Not to mention earlier classics with all the top shows, from David Frost to Connie Chung and Dan Rather.
- No mention is made of my recent book "Game of Thorns," about the 2016 election, which reached No. 4 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, drawing widespread praise from Neil Cavuto and many others, and included information directly from Donald Trump.
My humble thanks to anyone who has any advice or knowledge of any legal help available to address these issues.
I have no ill will toward Wikipedia and continue to defend it to teachers and educators, because of its quick chance to correct mistakes.
But sadly, my own personal experience has been disappointing.
If this site is not important enough to warrant supervision and rescue from persons who have a personal agenda — why don’t they take it down?
If it has to exist, then why should it be controlled by people who don’t even know my name or my birthdate and who only see it as a utility to hurt someone they imagine to be their political enemy?
If any of you have any similar experiences let me know.
Doug Wead is a presidential historian who served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush. He is the author of "Game of Thorns: Inside the Clinton-Trump Campaign of 2016," which is due to be released on Feb. 28, 2017. Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.
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