Senator Kamala Harris’ Wikipedia page has seen a massive uptick in edits recently that falls in line with the type of background scrubbing that the Democrats do prior to announcing vice-presidential picks.
The trend was first reported last week by The Intercept. According to the revision history of the Harris article on Wikipedia, there have been 500 revisions to the page since May 9, most of which have been made by one highly prolific editor.
That same editor began making significant changes to the article on Harris back in April and prompted another editor to question the pro Harris editor’s motives on the Kamala Harris “talk” page, “[y]ou seem to have gone through a database of press releases from Harris’s office, cataloging every single one and adding it to the article. That is not how we write encyclopedic articles.”
That user also removed information that was critical of Harris, including information relating to Harris’ relationship with former California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and her record as an aggressive prosecutor.
Other editors fought back against this type of one-sided censorship, “restoring more scrubbed well-sourced content. Just because it may be ‘unflattering’ doesn’t mean it needs to be censored.”
Ahead of their announcements as vice-presidential candidates, Sarah Palin in 2008 and Tim Kaine in 2016 each saw significant increases in their Wikipedia edits, the Intercept pointed out.
The user who made the contentious edits defended his actions, claiming that he did not work for the Democrats and that he just wanted to get rid of “misinformation” on the page.
“I’m not a Democratic operative, I do this for free because I’m sick of misinformation about Kamala Harris,” he said on the Harris “talk” page.
Wikipedia notes in the “talk” page that the Harris article is now under “discretionary sanctions,” which it says is a “special system that creates an acceptable and collaborative editing environment for our most contentious and strife-torn articles.”
While there’s no proof that the edits to the Harris page – which far outpace that of any other potential Democrat VP pick – signify anything more than an individual acting on his own to prop up the Senator’s standing by pushing only positive information on her page, it has caught the attention of many.
Other editors have been forced to place the page under more scrutiny, aiming to ensure that it includes both flattering and unflattering information on the senator.
Multiple editors on the “talk” page have argued that the one prolific editor should “recuse himself from editing the Kamala Harris page.”
Another added: “I am concerned that Wikipedia not be turned into a campaign website for Kamala Harris.”
Harris has widely been seen as one of the favorites to be the running mate for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Her shoddy record as a prosecutor, however, could prove to be a massive liability for the Democrats should she be chosen as Biden’s VP just as it was for her during a weak attempt at securing the Democratic presidential nomination.