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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Congress and Wikipedia

At Buzzfeed, Andrew Kaczynski offers some examples of how congressional aides have altered their bosses' Wikipedia entries:
The Renton Patch writes of Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA):
According to BuzzFeed, staffers "decided to do a bit of historical airbrushing" for Rep. Adam Smith by "add(ing) lengthy additions to Smith's biography". A search of edits made to his page by Mercer Island Patch reveal several edits were made shortly after Rep. began running for re-election in June 2010, when the US House-registered editor removed portions of the existing content and replaced it with a substantial re-writing of the "Biography" section with titles such as "Home Grown Leadership" and "Work in Congress" rather than the standard format adopted by other Wikipedia editors. The text was taken from the biography of the congressman's webpage. For a time after June 2010, the page remained largely unedited. Shortly after the 2010 election, another editor tried to reverse the changes, only for staffers to once again change it back in January 2011.
Reached by phone, Rep. Adam Smith said defending himself and his record against false attacks was the main reason for the edits, and that the edits were made on just three occasions and unrelated to any re-election effort.