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Wikipedia as a political battleground: after a GMO/Monsanto content dispute, longtime Wikipedia contributor Viriditas is blocked

by Wer900 (with Eric Barbour, Hersch, and others)

A lie told often enough becomes [The Truth™]. —Vladimir Lenin

The dispute summary Many editors of Wikipedia, particularly those who have high social status in its “community” or are employed by the Wikimedia Foundation, are (or at least appear to be) fervent believers that corporations and government lack any significant influence on Wikipedia. They like to pretend that their “conflict of interest”, or COI, regulations keep Wikipedia a “neutral” and trustworthy reference. If the encyclopedia’s history, social structure, and its leaders’ dealings are any guide, though, one can only conclude that Wikipedia is an arena of combat for competing groups of propagandists. A case in point is the controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in particular those relating to large biotechnology corporation Monsanto.

Viriditas, a long-standing editor of Wikipedia, reverted edits by various users on the March Against Monsanto article, many of which removed or mitigated the impact of information critical of Monsanto or GMOs. These edits included a removal of content on the March Against Monsanto protests, the excision, twice, of CNN journalist Jake Tapper‘s reporting on Monsanto’s government ties and questionable ethics practices, and even the burying of the fact that the Hawaiian Crop Improvement Association (HCIA), a nonprofit whose research is oft-cited by GMO advocates in favor of their position, is “partially funded by Monsanto.” Two columns supporting the march, one in The Louisiana Weekly and another in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, were allowed to stay in the article, but in a highly mitigated form. A (failed) attempt was even made to delete the article. (Bear in mind that a major reason for Monsanto’s interest in GMO crops is to make them “Roundup-ready”, meaning resistant to their own industrial glyphosate herbicide products. So they can sell both seed

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