Wikipedia editors are under fire this week for removing the entry for Rosemont Seneca Partners, the investment company connected to Hunter Biden and his alleged multimillion dollar influence peddling schemes. The site bizarrely claimed that the company was “not notable.” The timing itself is notable given the new disclosure that Hunter Biden’s business partner, Eric Schwerin, made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015. That included a meeting with then-Vice President Joe Biden despite Biden’s repeated claim that he knew nothing about his son’s business dealings. Schwerin was the president of Rosemont Seneca.
Wikipedia has been accused of raw bias in removing the entry at a time when interest in the company is at its peak, including the possibility of an indictment of Hunter Biden over his financial dealings. Rosemont Seneca is one of the most searched terms for those trying to understand the background on the Biden business operations.
Yet, an editor “AlexEng” wrote that the company was simply “not notable” — an absurd claim reminiscent of the recent claim by Atlantic Magazine’s writer Anne Applebaum that she did not cover the scandal because it simply was “not interesting.”
Alex wrote: “This organization is only mentioned in connection with its famous founders, Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz.” That itself is an odd statement. It is mentioned as one of the key conduits of alleged influence peddling money. Alex added that “keeping it around” ran the risk of the page becoming “a magnet for conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.” It is that last comment that I found most concerning as part of this decision.
Any Wikipedia page could be a magnet for conspiracy theories, including the page on Hunter Biden himself. The fact is that this is a real company with real dealings that are the subject of a real criminal investigation. Indeed, various Republican members have already pledged to conduct investigations into this and other companies if they secure either house of Congress after the midterm elections.
So Wikipedia killed it just as a United States Attorney is drilling down on financial dealings of Hunter Biden, including money received from foreign sources through Rosemont Seneca.
The bias in the reference to the “conspiracy theories” is glaring. While some clearly misstate the facts of the Hunter Biden dealings (on both sides of the controversy), the central role of the company in these dealings is no conspiracy theory. I have long criticized Hunter Biden and his uncle for engaging in raw influence peddling — a practice long associated with the Biden family.
I have also been highly critical of how media and social media companies killed the Hunter Biden story. Much like Wikipedia’s explanation this week, they claimed the Hunter Biden laptop story was merely conspiracy theories and Russian disinformation before the election. We are now approaching the midterm elections and suddenly Wikipedia is killing the page on this key company.
Republican senators claim that Hunter Biden was a partner in Rosemont Seneca with Chris Heinz, the stepson of future Secretary of State John Kerry, and their friend, Devon Archer. Archer was recently sent to prison for fraud in a matter that did not involve Hunter Biden.
In 2013, Rosemont Seneca entered into a business partnership with a Chinese investment fund called Bohai Capital. There are references in these transactions to Bohai Harvest RST. “RST” stood for “Rosemont Seneca Thornton,” a consortium of Rosemont Seneca and the Thornton Group, a Massachusetts-based firm.
Hunter Biden’s counsel insists that he did not have an equity interest in RST. However, Rosemont Seneca and RST feature greatly in the controversial transactions with foreign figures. Moreover, the Wall Street Journal reports that
“Prosecutors have focused in particular, those people said, on the payments from Burisma, which first flowed to a company called Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC before going on to Mr. Biden. Between 2014 and 2019, Hunter Biden held a Burisma board seat for which he was paid around $50,000 a month.”
The company has been tied to a series of payments to Hunter Biden from car purchases to cash transfers that are under investigation. Wikipedia does not (and should not) take sides in such allegations. Rather, it can serve as a conduit for those searching the company as part of a major and ongoing controversy.
Yet, “Alex” does not consider any of that “notable” and dismisses references to the company in a federal investigation as mere “conspiracy theories.”
Wikipedia was founded on lofty and even revolutionary goals of empowering the world with free access to sources of knowledge. The key minds behind Wikipedia saw the danger of bias creeping into this work and emphasized the need for strict neutrality.
Larry Sanger declared “Wikipedia has an important policy: roughly stated, you should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly.”
Likewise, Jimmy Wales insisted “A general-purpose encyclopedia is a collection of synthesized knowledge presented from a neutral point of view. To whatever extent possible, encyclopedic writing should steer clear of taking any particular stance other than the stance of the neutral point of view.”
I have long been a fan of Wikipedia and its noble purpose. For that reason, I am saddened by this move which seems to reject the essential pledge of the company. Wikipedia’s editors have been increasingly accused of bias in such decisions. However, this move is particularly raw and inexplicable. Wikipedia will lose the trust of many if it goes down the path of companies like Twitter in allowing staff to use its platform for their own political agendas.
Wikipedia or WikiMedia should immediately reverse the decision of Alex on the Rosemont Seneca page.