Wikipedia for the Bigoted

By Bryan Ochalla

Among conservative circles, John Schlafly is widely known as the eldest son of Phyllis Schlafly, the sweetheart of the silent majority. Not so widely known is that the conservative activist and director of the Alton, Ill., branch of the pro-family Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund was outed by the now-defunct New York-based magazine QW in 1992.

Dont expect to find the latter tidbit in Schlaflys profile on Conservapedia.com, the trustworthy encyclopedia his brother Andy created in late 2006 to combat Wikipedia, a site Andy has called six times more liberal than the American public. Like Wikipedia, Conservapedia is a mostly open-source medium, save for specific pages that are locked and inaccessible to editing. (Wikipedias pages on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are closed, while Conservapedias are wide open.)

Although Conservapedias administrators may be too bashful to talk about John Schlaflys lifestyle, theyre more than happy to tackle gay issues elsewhere on the site, which boasts more than 21,000 pages of content and 50 million page views. A quick search brings up more than 60 pages with homosexuality in the titleeight of which are among the most viewed on the site.

Those pages likely are among the sites most edited as well. Early last year, visitors repeatedly attempted to alter John Schlaflys ever so brief biography to include the fact that he enjoys attending gay film festivals, but Conservapedias administrators denied them at every turn and eventually protected the page due to repeated violation of rules.

Andy Schlafly may soon regret his 2007 comments to the British newspaper The Guardian: I've tried editing Wikipedia and found that the biased editors who dominate it censor or change facts to suit their views.

(The Advocate, Mar. 2008)

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