'Reputational assault': Mystery Wikipedia editor Philip Cross targets journalist Rania Khalek
Notorious Wikipedia editor Philip Cross, known for his campaign against anti-war and left-leaning journalists on the platform, appears to be at it again — this time taking part in a smear effort against journalist Rania Khalek.
Khalek, who produces content for online video platform In The Now and has been critical of US foreign policy, seems to have caught the attention of Cross and another editor with the username ‘Flickotown’ — and the pair have repeatedly edited the information on her page.
The notorious @Wikipedia editor Philip Cross has now involved himself in the page of @RaniaKhalek, whose page was edited to call her a Kremlin/Assad-supporting antisemite, edited back, and is now being re-edited to put the smear back again. #PhillipCrosshttps://t.co/8CArGY6pCBpic.twitter.com/Wo35JbX3aa— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) January 28, 2019
The opening line of the page at one point described Khalek as “pro-Assad,”“pro-Kremlin” and even suggested she is “anti-Semitic.” Tweeting about the edits, Khalek said the smears on the page, which is the first thing people see when they Google her name, amount to “reputational assault” and suggested that she was targeted for her support of Palestinian rights and criticisms of US foreign policy.
Someone edited my @Wikipedia page, which now labels me “far left, pro-Assad, pro-Kremlin and anti-Semitic.” That is the 1st thing you see when you google me. This is reputational assault, all bc I oppose US regime change wars & support Palestinian rights https://t.co/uwyIfHqABppic.twitter.com/YXmAqDokz0— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) January 28, 2019
When Khalek’s page was restored to display the original description of her work, another editor appeared and changed it back.
After my page was restored, some new troll re-added libelous statements to my @wikipedia page labeling me “pro-Assad,” “pro-Kremlin” and “anti-Semitic.” These people are dedicated to attacking me. It’s outrageous they can keep doing this. https://t.co/uwyIfHqABppic.twitter.com/iK9wMJm0Fs— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) January 28, 2019
A discussion about Khalek's page was started on a Wikipedia noticeboard, with one user suggesting there was “a co-ordinated editing attack” happening, while another user wrote that it appeared 'Flickotown' was trying to “inject bias” into Khalek's biography as “a form of political activism.”
At the time of writing, all ‘libelous’ statements have been removed from Khalek’s Wikipedia page, there is however, a warning that the article has “multiple issues” and that its neutrality is “disputed.”Also on rt.com War on the left: Targets of relentless Wikipedia editor Philip Cross report intriguing patterns
It’s no surprise that Cross has cropped up as one of the mystery figures editing on Khalek’s page. His prolific editing has focused on journalists and pundits he appears to personally dislike and has in the past targeted academic Tim Hayward, former British MP George Galloway and ex-UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray. Cross has targeted Galloway's page so often that the former MP has offered a reward for anyone who manages to reveal his true identity. Last year, requests made to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on Twitter to respond to complaints by those targeted by Cross were ignored.
For week, @RaniaKhalek's endured efforts to force Congress members to denounce her and had her Wikipedia page defaced. All in response to how effective she's been in speaking out on Venezuela. We respond with this special episode of @UnauthorizedDis: https://t.co/dTuer9qMho— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) January 30, 2019
There has even been some speculation online that the Philip Cross character might be the creation of Times columnist Oliver Kamm. Murray and others have noted that malicious edits of their Wikipedia pages have oddly coincided with criticisms Kamm was making of them on Twitter and in articles.
When approached by RT last year about his 15-year Wikipedia-editing creer, Cross said, however: “I am not Oliver Kamm.”
RT has contacted Wikipedia for comment but has not yet received any response.
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