Who scrubbed Wikipedia's entry for Sarah Palin just before nom announcement?

Friday's edition of the NPR program All Things Considered included a piece by Yuki Noguchi on some suspicious whitewashing that went down in Sarah Palin's Wikipedia entry just before she was revealed as the GOP's candidate for vice-president. Snip:
Someone – and apparently it was just one person – felt like the existing biography wasn't appropriate for a vice-presidential candidate. On Friday, 15 minutes before the rumor that John McCain had picked Palin as his running mate, a Wikipedia editor discovered 30 mostly favorable changes had been made to the Alaska governor's profile.

She was called "a politician of eye-popping integrity" and sections on her participation in a beauty pageant and her alleged use of influence to get her former brother-in-law fired were diminished.

That user is one "Young Trigg." He or she was thanked and lauded by other Wikipedia editors for thoroughness, before questions of a possible conflict of interest emerged.

Brian Krebs at the Washington Post writes:

Perhaps more tellingly, some of the same users editing her page were almost simultaneously updating McCain's Wiki entry, adding information dealing with accuracy, sources and footnotes to each.
Palin's Wikipedia Entry Gets Overhaul (NPR)
Tug of war over Wiki entry on Palin (SJ Merc)
Wikipedia Edits Forecast Vice Presidential Picks (Washington Post)


  1. Here’s the article from last December:


    I think it’s interesting that Gov. Palin (who previously was the Mayor of a town of 9000) pissed off Big Oil by pushing through a $26 billion natural gas pipeline deal (which ‘W’ is eager to see happen) with Canada. BO (which has been stalling on a pipeline) now says it’ll build its own, different, pipeline.

    Now that Gov. Palin is busy elsewhere: will the deal stand?

  2. Now that “nom” has become synonymous with “eat” in my mind (as in “om nom nom”), I got confused for a minute when I read that headline. Since when did Palin have to announce she was going to eat? :)

  3. I’m just waiting for one of two things to happen first: 1) “NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!” to be added to McBush’s official campaign platform; or 2) Palin’s acceptance speech at the convention to include the words “like, such as”.

  4. I wrote about this yesterday:


    I’m not putting too much stock in the Wikipedia article to be honest, seeing how over 1500 changes have been made to her profile in the last 36 hours. The edits are very interesting. Lots of literary airbrushing going on. No more “widespread criticism for her handling of Matanuska Maid Dairy.” The hard line “Palin is [[pro-life]], even in cases of rape and/or incest” has gone. The convictions are being wiped clean.

  5. I also happened to be tracking the wikipedia page minutes around the time of the announcement. The pre-announcement impression I received of her attitude towards civil rights for gay people was a positive one, with mention of her many gay friends and progressive legal maneuvering on the issue.

    AFTER the announcement, the impression given was suddenly wary of gay people, with no mention of gay friends, and a pro-same-sex couple rights ruling seemingly forced on her.

    Oh, and something else I have to add on the subject of e-media exposure and candidates – where is Bridget McCain, John’s adopted daughter? The People magazine spread of the two Republican families had the Palin tribe flanked by John, Cindy and Megan. Very wholesome, all american, photogenic and white.

    Perhaps Bridget has asked to not be involved in any campaign coverage or family shots or any sort of media. Or perhaps her existence is being kept quiet out of political expediency.

  6. To be honest I can’t really see the problem. There doesn’t seem to be all that much difference and it’s not like world politicians’ sites the web over aren’t getting sanitised every now and then. The changes seem to be well sourced and factual. If there are glaring errors or omissions caused by recent editing then get your sourced references out and edit them back yourselves, it’s what Wikipedia is for, right?
    I’d like to point out at this juncture that I’m from the UK and so really have no interest in who wins or loses other than a creeping fear of what the incoming president may do to world peace/the global economy/stability in the Middle-East/the World Leader IQ curve.

  7. I thought that Wiki was SUPPOSED to be updated by knowledgeable people…??? Isn’t that what Wiki is?

  8. Caerban @12, I’m sorry you really can’t see the problem. This is what cynicism comes to in the end: you lose your discernment on fine distinctions.

    It’s one thing for politicians to sanitize their own websites. It’s another to have a pseudonymous operative go in and spend five hours airbrushing a candidate’s image on a general-use reference site.

    Saying “just change it back” is seriously disingenuous.

  9. This seems to me a total non-story. The edits made by Young Trigg (if one takes the time to read them) were completely innocuous (especially when compared to some of those made later by others). And it makes perfect sense (given the current fabricated controversy) that Young Trigg would say his piece, retire the account, and “move on”.

  10. Seriously? The changes were made by “Young Trigg”?

    You do know that Palin has a son named Trig, right?

  11. Data mining is becoming such an interesting carreer choice. This is why your comments here are important.

  12. Couple of things….the baby with Down’s Syndrome? It’s her 16 year old daughters. Ask anyone in Anchorage. The governor didn’t announce she was “pregnant” until her 7th month, around the same time her daughter missed school for a couple of months because of “mono”. Heartbeat away from the Presidency. Do you really think the Americans are going to put this woman, creationist, beauty contestant runner up, former TV sports reporter, mayor of a small town up against the likes of Putin, Ahmedinajad, etc? Puhhhhleeease!

    Obama will be sworn in in January 09.

  13. “It’s her 16 year old daughters.”

    Mothers still do that? The Republicans really are stuck in the 1950s.

  14. Lets see what happens to Joe Lieberman’s profile when he gets announced as McCain’s Secretary of State…

  15. KLG19 – Blogger does not need to know; you know, now she knows. Maybe in a few minutes someone else will know something else. Mechanical Turk investigation without payments, blogger finds something interesting, then posts it on a blog, read by millions, to see what comes up. Cool.

  16. Is there going to be another article on this, because it seems to be just a bunch of WikiDrama.

    Reading that page, you can clearly see whoever made the accusation doesn’t know how Wikipedia works.

  17. An 80% approval rating while 87% of Alaskans are positive that she’s lying about her hand in having or trying to have her ex brother-in-law fired. Governor Palin appears to be very well-spoken, an advocate of political reform and yes a self-described hockey mom. But she’s also a blatant liar who didn’t think her plan to attempt to cover up her oldest daughters pregnancy would ever come back to haunt her.

  18. Can someone point me to a source on the story about Palin’s daughter that’s more reliable than “everyone in Anchorage knows”? There are serious objections one can raise to Palin’s story about being allowed onto a commercial flight from Texas to Alaska when she was already in labor, but that doesn’t mean every theory that’s been advanced in opposition to it is automatically correct.

    The Paul, please don’t just say “you can clearly see whoever made the accusation doesn’t know how Wikipedia works.” First, we need to know how one can supposedly tell that. Second, you need to explain, if you can, how that argument invalidates the accusation.

  19. Thanks for posting this, Xeni. I, like many people, clicked on the Wikipedia entry (as it’s always the Google of first resort) and was immediately highly dubious, especially after reviewing other news articles which described Palin in terms only vaguely familiar to the Wikipedia entry. Top-notch sleuthing!

  20. I attempted discussing Palin with my Republican family.

    “She has more experience than your damn liberal,” “good, God-fearing-woman,” etc. I attempted to bring up her ethics violations and I received comparison to my MESSY ROOM and LYING. Mine! I’m not running for VP! My messy room has nothing to do with it.

    Discussed it with my mother, too, as well as her stance on gay rights, and- one of our tricks for arguing politics without getting too angry is speaking in terms of what will help / hurt a candidate, rather than why we like / dislike a candidate- I told her about the gay rights thing. Her response? “Gays are only one percent of the population, so it won’t really hurt the vote-“. “Mom, gays are more than one percent of the population, more than just gays care about gay rights, and that’s even MORE reason for her not to get elected, because we really should get the hell beyond oppressing our minorities.”

    Apparently, “they aren’t minorities, they’re gay.”

    Sigh. There goes my mother’s vote for Obama, because of his stupidly quintessential Conservative woman Vice-President.

    He’s going for the Hillary voters. Hopefully her stance on abortion will send them away like vampires from garlic.

  21. How exactly is this news? If I were going national — I would either a. review my Wikipedia entry for errors and lies or 2. start a Wikipedia entry.

    Bg Dl? Isn’t someone spying on someone somewhere? Some brave soul with a mask and rock is about to speak Truth to power — shouldn’t you be there covering him? He’s raging against the machine safely ensconced in the liberty brought to him by Judeo-Christian principles.

    Ths s prtty vpd.

  22. based on the last two presidential choices America made,why shouldn’t a anti-choice, religious fundamentalist/creationist, global warming-denying political infant get in? And Troy? You aren’t fibbing about being a lawyer are you?

  23. “An 80% approval rating while 87% of Alaskans are positive that she’s lying about her hand in having or trying to have her ex brother-in-law fired.”

    No idea what the truth is on this or not, but her ex-brother-in-law should have been fired. Palin’s father alleged that the brother-in-law, among other things, used a taser on his 10 or 11 year-old stepson (media reports differ as to his age). The investigation of the brother-in-law sustained these allegations and the brother-in-law admits the allegation — his explanation is that the stepson *asked* him to use the taser on him.

    And after things were all said and done, he got a 5-day suspension.

    pltcn wh ctlly wnts t *fr* cps wh bs thr thrty? Tht’s th crrptn ngl n Pln? Ww.

  24. migods, they ARE desperate! Dead-enders? Here? On BB? Doing damage control?? Talk about bailing the sea with a sieve.

  25. The Alaska Eagle Forum’s blog (Schlafly’s group) also took down statements of her position on abortion. They were, however, still in the Google cache.

  26. A few points:

    1) “Young Trigg” has posted a lengthy response on his user page, before deleting the account. Take it as you will.

    2) YT did admit to violating one Wikipedia policy, at least: creating subject-specific accounts to edit specific articles, instead of maintaining a single account across articles so others can track his edits. This is sock puppetry, though it might be inadvertent sock puppetry.

    3) He or she also admitted to being a McCain volunteer (but not a member of the campaign). Determining whether that constitutes a conflict of interest (assuming it’s true) is above my pay grade.

    4) #35, you say “her ex-brother-in-law should have been fired.” This is (obviously!) a matter for debate; remember that all of these accusations came out in the course of a nasty custody battle, where the wife’s lawyer, had a vested interest in making him look bad — and now some very powerful people have a vested interest in the same. The taser, for instance, was apparently on the “test setting” when he used it. Do you know what that means? I sure don’t. Is it dangerous and/or painful, or does it give a little buzz to let you know the taser is charged? Anyone know? Conclusions before facts is not the way to go here.

  27. #20 Mojave
    Brings up an interesting angle, though there are only two outcomes if such things were investigated.

    If proved true, this could compromise the creationist/general christian base that every candidate seems to pander to in the last 3 decades. Palin’s actions would then seem immoral and distrustful.

    If proved false, this would make the investigators look like rabid bipartisan muckrakers and failed character-assassins.

    Given the severity of public perception, I think it should still be pursued.

    Internet Detectives have already found weird legitimate articles such as this.
    A lot of 16-year-olds have kids, I don’t understand why anyone would go to such insane lengths to cover this charade. Allegedly.

  28. who cares about all this? All anyone needs to know is she is willing to team up with McBush. Suppose the old coot croaks in office from an apoplexy of rage over his morning donut? You would have Bush,Bush,McBush and then Bushette. Fourth time is the charm? How much ass-kicking does America really need?

  29. Takuan… I’ve a law degree — don’t practice now just to clarify. I don’t have a Wikipedia page or I’d go “cleanse” it.

    My main point is — what is the big deal? I have a buddy from college who was a pretty big deal in Texas. We screwed around with his Wiki page ALL the time. He was always doing damage control. If he were to get on a national ticket he would check his Wiki page and monitor it closely. I doubt she put anything damaging on her and if she thought something is unfair or incorrect how is it wrong to change it? Isn’t that the raison d’etre of Wiki — open-editing?

    There are many legitimate arguments to take against Palin. Dropping the “she changed her Wiki page” is beyond weak. Make good arguments — inexperience, disagree with her pro-life stance or whatever, but this is weak and a bit scary.

  30. One other thing… it just goes to show that anyone who relies on Wikipedia for reliable information is sadly lacking in discernment.

    It’s great to peruse for general info, but hardly reliable for the very reason this post points out.

  31. TNH @16 “Saying “just change it back” is seriously disingenuous.”

    Why? Is the undo button broken?

  32. RRSafety @27, we’re discussing the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States. I’m calling for sources on that story precisely because I don’t want her daughter inappropriately trashed.

    We know that Rove had a big hand in Palin’s nomination. It would be just like him to set up an easily dismissed fake scandal in order to give the media cover for ignoring real scandals. If that’s what he’s doing, I’m not going to help.

    Sepptb @28, it’s an interesting story, and I thank you for the links. In the end, though, Takuan’s right: genetic testing is the right way to clear this up.

    Tenn @30, you have my sympathies. Not all of my relatives are like that, but lord knows there are a few of them …

    As far as anyone can tell, the number of Hillary voters who find Palin an attractive candidate is very small. Far more of them are offended by the idea that the Republicans think just any women will do.

    P3N3NC3 @31:

    Dare I even ask..if the political affiliation were other than Rep would we even be having this convo?

    Your question is barely comprehensible. Do try to phrase things more clearly.

    I’m going to guess that by “convo” you mean conversation or discussion. The answer is yes, we would. She’s been nominated for an important position. It’s not only natural, predictable, and unavoidable that we should discuss her, it’s laudable: part of the democratic process.

    Does it matter that she’s Republican? Well, yes, it does; that’s the candidacy for which she’s been nominated. Would she be discussed just as vigorously and critically if she were the candidate of another major party? Of course she would.

    Troy @32, that story was covered in another entry. Meanwhile, feel free to mount a defense elsewhere for the fellow with the rock.

    Brian @35, Governor Palin has said she had no hand in getting him fired.

    Randwolf @39, good catch.

    Jer7my @40, it’s bound to raise eyebrows, at the very least.

    Versh @41, I’m wary too.

  33. TROY @#44 Nah Wiki is generally good except for articles about recient events or highly politically charged stuff. One look at the oh so reasoned responses here should tell you why. Once the fickle minded have all moved on to something else, the wiki entry will improve.

  34. Hey, Tenn.
    Sorry to hear about the political differences in your family, but I think most people have to deal with that. At least you are in good company. Perhaps your persecution will lead to your magnum opus one day. I’m middle aged and I still squirm when I visit my Republican relatives. They won’t accept gay folks, have a real hard time with African Americans, and feel Bush is on God’s side, faults and all.

  35. BB Ate My Name… awesome moniker first. I agree it can be reliable — probably mostly — but in academic papers I don’t allow it.

    I definitely agree (backing off my perhaps overstatement of unreliability)with your take on the fickle — especially if the page is adopted by one with knowledge, credential, experience, etc. I find it to be a great starting place for research and information generally — so I don’t displease the Wiki gods.

    Takuan… stealing and putting back… Actually you wouldn’t get off — you would get less punishment — so in a since yes… you can put it back. So too can one who lies tell the truth. It doesn’t erase the lie, but may ameliorate its consequences.

    THN… sorry to go OT! Brevity and clarity!

  36. @ #47

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    Ys mm.

  37. To those who’ve asked, “What’s the big deal?” editing you own article (or your boss’s article) must be handled delicately on Wikipedia, because issues of conflict of interest arise.

    In brief, users who are personally connected to a topic are expected to leave their biases “at the door”. This is expected even if the article is about you, and even if it has been vandalized. This can be hard for some people, even so, it is expected. Fixing a problematic article is good; asking others to fix it is good too. Fixing it with bias, or in the sense of “I want my biography to read this way”, can be problematic.


    Correcting mistakes in your own article is not a problem; making a lot of edits that remove or blunt criticism is. Jimmy Wales himself has gotten dinged for it:


  38. Argh! That’s twice now I’ve carefully previewed my comment — and then spotted an obvious typo after posting. It’s “…editing your own article…” above, and kindly ignore the extra comma @40.

  39. …Two points:

    1) This is typical Wikinazi bullshit in action. The logical thing for any admin to have done was to lock the article and revert any edits made 24 hours prior to the announcement, then reviewed those edits to see if they should be put back in. Instead, they use the edits for finger-pointing and other little Wikinazi games, proving that the inmates are running the asylum over there.

    2) In response to some comments I’ve gotten from my OMBlog comments on Friday, I stand by what I had to say about Palin. She’s a MILF who would make even Clark Kent or Buddy Holly specs sexy, and not only would I do her, I’d do her in Alaska, in the middle of a raging blizzard, with her on top and me protecting her from the snow. She’s the first political candidate we’ve had for a major office who’s going to get a whole generation of teens through puberty as they hold her photo with one hand. McCain clearly chose her for a term I’m now patenting: “Competent Arm Candy”. Ergo, he’ll die of old age, and we’ll have someone that’ll be able to run the country *and* look good doing it.

  40. OM @#56 “She’s the first political candidate we’ve had for a major office who’s going to get a whole generation of teens through puberty”

    Hw bt y cm bck whn thts dn nd lt th dlts tlk, k?

  41. Well Little Sureshot fills me with the same visceral hatred I felt in the UK for M.Thatcher, so I’m not minimising her chances. To be fair, Thatcher had real experience and had come up through the ranks, but her voice grated up my libertarian spine just as Lady Wolfdoom LeDriller’s does. So I have nothing particular to say except don’t take our lady of the snows for granted. Of course, I won’t be here to get the full force of any win, if they have one. I’ll be haring back to Europe rapido. Denmark looks good. High taxes, highest quality of life. Good healthcare for all. Everything Thatcher destroyed for the middle class in the UK. And Denmark’s not that far from the North Pole, come to think of it. Don’t worry, we won’t let them privatize Santa…

  42. Takuan @ #61 Im sorry, not enough frapping comments for you? I mean, if not toeing the line gets you disemvoweling, but frapping on the thread gets nary a peep, then let me be the first to say ZOMG! McCain’s VP has a VAGINA!!!! Want! Better?

  43. I would love to see the old media investigate the allegations of her daughter being the real mother of her son. If it’s not true, then it can be put to rest. If it is true, it is a big deal. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence, but it’s growing to be a BFD online.

  44. Abstinence-minded pro life Republican mom forced to conceal unwed teen pregnancy. The big deal is: why not just come clean about it in the first place?
    Meanwhile we forget momentarily that the VP pick from Alaska is pro-drilling?

  45. P3N3NC3, please, don’t. Really, I’m not even American and I’m sick of Republicans and their “well, well, well … but, CLINTON!” It isn’t a valid response to every argument, despite what you lot think. Hell, its not a valid response to any argument, unless it was about Clinton in the first place.

  46. Because she is accountable for the sins of her daughter, right?

    Ok, so if she’s pro-drilling or whatever, then how about a big article about why her oil positions are harmful to the country? Why fall for the distraction?

    Im afraid Tak was right at 64, the left is going to run with this issue until Palin “comes clean” and says that yes her daughter made some mistakes and Palin was just trying to protect her. Then what are you going to do, continue to attack a teenage unwed mother and her mother who wanted to avoid just this sort of thing? The harder you push the more Palin and family will look like victims nd y gys lk lk sshls. And, oh yes, you momentarily forget about drilling. Grats!

  47. @ gormless and sundry commenters,

    Wikipedia editing is based on good faith adherence to the rules, which are extremely specific in a case like this. What do you get out of defending someone who did something in obvious bad faith?

    @ p3n3nc3,

    BB has ripped new assholes for candidates from various parties.

    @ OM,

    You work with strippers. Why are you perving on this woman?

  48. I didn’t think there was any need to point out why it matters if she’s lying about the baby, but ok. And I say all this with knowledge that it may well end up being false, and she really did defy all medical expectations and stay incredibly thin during her pregnancy and maybe her daughter really did have the longest case of mono ever during her mother’s pregnancy. But if not, this is why it matters:

    Firstly, if the birth certificate says Sarah Palin is the mother, and she isn’t, I’m no lawyer but that seems like a crime on someones part. The doctor? Her? Fraud of some sort? If the birth certificate list the daughter as the mother, well, as far as cover ups go, ‘ur doing it wrong’.

    Second, when she was announced as the VP pick, one of her strengths and primary reasons for picking her was her working bringing accountability to the Alaskan political system. So she’s an accountability expert, but lets her daughter escape accountability? Yea, its a different arena, but it speaks to character. That’s a pretty involved cover up, it makes me (and many others, certainly) question her sincerity in that aspect, and also wonder if she wouldn’t have any qualms about ‘less accountability’ for friends while she is in office. Though under Cheney the VP office has become Office of Secrets, so maybe that makes her more qualified.

    Third, she’s the VP nominee! If elected, that puts her one step away from presidency, with a rather old president at the helm, who has a history of cancer. So any issues I listed before, it puts further emphasis on them. Don’t we usually like to find out how dishonest our executive branch is AFTER they are elected, not before? That’s tradition!

  49. @#65: I would say because you’ve got someone who would potentially be the 2nd most powerful person in the USA who has, whatever the motives, attempted deceit on a large scale, as well as using the birth as a means to justify her anti-abortion stance. I don’t actually care if she did or not, but that is almost certainly how she would be portrayed if it turned out to be true.

    Seeing as I’m not American, whether she did cover up for her daughter’s pregancy or not doesn’t matter to me, but I do like conspiracies :) as I said, if it’s true, then a lying governer (not mentioning Troopergate as I’ve recently found out about) wouldn’t do McCain any favours. If it’s not, then it’s gone, but traditional news outlets demonstrating this would end it more than bloggers complaining to each other.

  50. ANTINOUS @ #70 “What do you get out of defending someone who did something in obvious bad faith?”

    I havent reviewed any diffs or anything, but can you show me a good example of obvious bad faith? To be clear, I dont consider NPOV violations to be bad faith, just bad editing, some people dont even know they are doing it. Likewise, single purpose accounts (SPAs) arent illegal per se, just using multiple accounts to fake the appearance of consensus. As usual on wiki, focus on the message, not the account.

  51. first off, Teresa noted the possible stench of Rove, not me. Secondly, Palin is all about the pipeline.

  52. have to think Roman… OK,got it: murder Obama on the eve of the election, engineer a scandal/terror “threat” and stampede a McBush victory, off the old bugger a month later (“natural causes”) and viola: Little Miss Pliable at the apparent wheel and none of the old apparachicks stand trial. Bidnezz as usual. Tiberius would have been proud.

  53. “How about you come back when thats done and let the adults talk, ok?”

    …BB may have eaten your name, but someone’s obviously absconded with your sense of humor.

    Bottom Line: I’ll go where I please. Deal with it.

    (Teresa? I thought you were on troll patroll here?)

  54. WHO CARES? She is running with McCain, she is a liar by definition! Forget the smokescreen and start calculating a firing solution.

  55. Taking on her daughter’s disable child as her own will make her a ‘hero’ to many so I don’t think it’s a great thing to bring up in the campaign.

    My MIL says that Palin is a very good at giving the short sound bites so Joe Biden needs to make sure to work on his zingers.

  56. You, and you know who you are,

    Very funny, but you should have at least gotten the right continent.

  57. I treat Wiki as my lawn only when letting the dogs out.

    Scrubbing aside. What has she got against polar bears?

    This year, Palin sued the federal government for adding polar bears to the endangered species list, arguing the move would interfere with oil and gas drilling efforts.” -Jeremy Funk, Americans United For Change

  58. Apparently she’s cool with hunting wolves from airplanes too.

    If there aren’t attack ads that use that and the bear issue on the air by next Friday someone should get fired.

  59. never could understand that. Shooting something to eat, shooting something trying to eat you, sure. But wolves? From the air? I know they make all these arguments about unfair wolf competition with good honest folk just trying to cut the head off an animal for their wall, or how the shiftless wolves just can’t practice proper birth control… but really? Have you ever met a wolf? Even in a zoo?

  60. Really, the woman is a Young-Earth Creationist. By definition, this makes her dangerously crazy and unfit to hold any elected office whatsoever.

  61. We’d better hope the dems have finally gotten around to trying to ensure an election happens this time around…

  62. I saw a bumper sticker today with the Darwin fish on it that said: “We have the fossils. We win.” =D

  63. Teresa @16: I don’t think disingenuousness has anything to do with it, assuming you’re using the word to describe genuine naivety not a deliberate attempt on my part to fake it. You need to approach all wikis with a certain level of cynicism as to the veracity of the statements within. All editors, even the sincere, put their own spin on entries from people editing stuff on evolutionary theory to Teletubbies. This is because most people edit entries about which they have an interest and as such a viewpoint. As a user I rely on that “tug o’war” of editing and re-editing of viewpoints to find the more likely middle ground. If you think that the wiki entry is wrong and you can back that up, you change it. Surely that is the raison d’etre of a wiki?
    Beyond that you have no facts to assume this person is anything but sincere in their wish to update that particular wiki entry to the best of their ability. I’ve known people spend 5 hours updating a wiki entry, books spread around and various internet sources open. I know people who create multiple accounts to edit various different passions, even people who’ll create a new account to edit a single entry just to make a joke or salient point with the name. You have some slightly suspicious timing but in a climate of election hysteria, with possible nominees names flying around I don’t think it’s too suspicious that someone, a person with knowledge of the subject, should look at an entry, notice something they disagree with and change it. It probably is some suited PR grunt, part of a horrific Republican power-grabbing spin team. But you have no reason to believe it beyond your own paranoia. Just look at the entry…
    *sigh* at any errors and omissions and…
    In a world of difficult problems it’s a relatively simple one to fix. It’s what the rest of us do and if you’re right… well congratulations you’ll have foiled an evil propaganda plot to boot.

  64. BB Ate My Name @57, that falls far short of treating others as you would want to be treated.

    Adonai @63, read the thread. Do you have any new sources on that story? If not, let’s all back off a little and see what happens over the next day or two.

    BB Ate My Name @65: Because John McCain is 72. His running mate has to be able to function as POTUS. If Palin really is that false, we need to know about it now.

    Andrew @68: Just so. Also, it has the unfortunate effect of making them look like political ignoramuses, as it suggests they’re unaware of quite how many Republican politicians of the same era were caught out in nontrivial sexual irregularities.

    BB Ate My Name @69, your arguments aren’t making any sense. Why not just be grumpy over the selection and have done with it?

    Sepptb @71, I’d have said that if she’s capable of planning and executing a cover-up operation of that complexity, her life hasn’t been spotlessly truthful the rest of the time, either.

    BB Ate My Name @74:

    I haven’t reviewed any diffs or anything, but can you show me a good example of obvious bad faith?

    Oh, for pete’s sake. You’re not even trying to sort this out. You’re just mad it’s happening.

    OM @78: I went to a party at a friend’s house for a few hours. (Life, I has one. Just not as much as I did before I took on this moderation gig.)

    Vespabelle @81, I like the analysis that says she’s actually Mary Sue, so you have to be very cautious about appearing to attack her.

    Mark Temporis @92, she’s a Young-Earth Creationist who thinks the public schools should be teaching Creationism. This betrays a basic lack of understanding of our national laws.

  65. MFG, th llgtn tht sh sd nflnc t gt hr brthr-n-lw frd???

    S, ths wmn dsn’t hv NRLY ngh xprnc fr hgh ffc. Hw cld w pssbly xpct hr t b cpbl rpst nd pllgr f r Cnstttn f smthng lk PSSBLY scrwng vr hr brthr-n-lw s bd ngh t wrrnt scrbbng frm hr Wkpd ntry?

    J Bdn’s gtt b lghng hs btt-cks ff t tht n, thnkng “MTR!”

    ‘m nt McCn spprtr, bt y knw wht? f w’r nt smrt ngh t vn gv Rn Pl fr lk, M LL FR lctng fr Myrs f twns wth ppltn 9,000 fr VRY lctd ffc n r cntry.

    Th thr wy’s gttn s n lt f trbl. Wht cld grp f frmr Myrs f Mybrry scrw p wrs?

  66. 1. Pln’s mthr ws scnc tchr. Pln sd schl-tchng bth vltn nd Crtnsm wld b gd fr dbt. Dn’t gr. Sd sh wld nvr frc schls t d t. Nt n ss xcpt t FDs.

    2. Sh’s fr drllng n NWR. Sh’s prbbly vn BN thr. nybdy ls hr? 19 mlln crs n ttl. 10 thsnd crs n th cstl pln mpctd by drllng. D th mth. Th ctl l tk s prbbly nglgbl. Bst cs: mks PC lwr crd l prcs.

    3. Sh hnts nd fshs. Gd. Ths r th ppl wh ctlly g nt th wldrnss. Tr tdrsmn lv nd rvr ntr’s bty. Sh’s tr tdrsmn.

    4. Sh’s Chrstn; s’s bm. S wht?

    5. Lk hr vws r nt, sh hs wht klls th Gry Hrts nd Jhn dwrds f pltcs: chrctr. t pprs sh wlks hr tlk.

    6. njy hw sh xcts th Ks flks.

  67. The comments about genetic testing are a bit naive I think – surely either of the two big US parties is powerful enough to order up whatever result they want on a genetic test?

    Anyway, isn’t Down syndrome highly correlated with older mothers? Surely it’s more likely for Mrs. Van Palin her to have a baby with Down syndrome if she conceived at the age of 40, than for her daughter conceiving at the age of 16 – right about the age where humans are fittest for childbirth…

  68. #101 – Yea, as women age the risk of Downs increases for their babies. However, the majority of people with Downs are born to younger mothers – by virtue of them having more children.

    But, big news: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/01/palin.daughter/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

    Palin’s oldest daughter is as of right now 5 months pregnant. Doing the math – that makes it impossible for Trig to be hers. Ends that rumor. So Sarah Palin just is a freak of nature that doesn’t show she’s pregnant until her 7th month and can take 8 hour flights + 45 minute car rides after her water breaks. Impressive!

  69. Now it’s all over the news that the 17 year old daughter is 5 months pregnant. They offer this as a “defense” that she couldn’t possibly have given birth in April. Let’s do the math: April…May… June…July…August…September now. I know those Young Earthers tend to compress time, but it still looks to me like no defense at all. It lends credence to this possibility, in fact, given that: Bristol (What “average mom” names her kids like this?) A) Likes to have pre-marital sex. B) Clearly doesn’t use birth control. C) If she had conceived Trigg, (again with the names. Was she overly fond of trigonometry or something?) and her mommy said she couldn’t have an abortion and agreed to raise him as her own, but she still wanted to be a mommy herself, wouldn’t she be trying again ASAP? and D) Ok, so they are saying that she conceived while recovering from the worst case of mono in recorded history. It sure seems to me like Bristol didn’t come down with the “kissing disease” so much as a bad case of the “fucking disease.”

    Just like with the announcement of Trigg as a Downs Syndrome child, they are acting like this is the happiest news possible: “Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned…” Yeah, she’s growing up faster and faster all the time. Wouldn’t this be great for us as a nation: “Today, the most beautiful and glorious nation on Earth was discovered to no longer have a viable economy…Good gosh golly gee, ain’t that swell?”



    Btw, if it’s a girl, they are going to name it Hairbrush, and if a boy, they are going to name it Calculus, as family tradition demands.

  70. Phikus I am with you in the spirit of jest, but those are interesting names to me-no reason to trash them. One of the things I like about living here in the US South is the very creative naming that goes on.
    I’m sure that’s where TC Boyle got his inspiration for all those unique names.

  71. “OM @78: I went to a party at a friend’s house for a few hours. (Life, I has one. Just not as much as I did before I took on this moderation gig.)”

    …AWK! Mea Culprit! I left off the smiley at the end of that “Troll Patrol” query! I wasn’t trying to imply that you weren’t doing your job, Teresa. I save that for when you disemvowell *me* :-)

    Still, he -was- trolling. He was failing too bad not to be…

  72. ANTHONY@104: Ok, you got me, I took a cheap shot, but it felt pretty good. =D I am the first to say Frank Zappa got too much flack (mostly from conservatives) for naming his kids Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva, so I guess I wanted to turn the tables a little. At least those were creative names. Bristol and Trigg? Might as well name the kids Curmudgeon and Hamm. (Btw, I wish Zappa had lived to have possibly made a serious presidential bid. RIP FZ.)

  73. People are spewing such hate-filled venom merely because some were attempting to find the truth in a story that just didn’t add up. It wasn’t about attacking “their” candidate – especially since some of the information concerning Trig’s paternity was posted by Republicans. But I say… the Rumor mill…a path worth taking.

  74. ANTHONY@110: She would have been a real hit at the Hop. =D

    ROSHELLE@111: “Hate filled venom?” I don’t really see any of that in the above thread, and in any case, Dems have never received any of that from Republicans now, have they?

  75. #112 – I think you totally misread what #111 was saying =)

    Roschelle seemed to be pointing out that it makes sense to pursue the truth, even of rumors, and thus defending those of us who were curious and ‘investigating’ said rumors.

  76. There’s probably not a family that hasn’t had an unmarried teen-age pregnancy. If the GOP plays this right, it plays; it’s called empathy.

  77. Based upon my experience, though, the empathy card only works when it applies to them, not when it is applied to others.

  78. VagabondAstronomer:

    Based upon my experience, though, the empathy card only works when it applies to them, not when it is applied to others.

    Empathy usually means sympathizing with someone or something because of sharing a similar experience.

    “OMG, I know exactly what you mean!” is empathy.
    “OMG, that must be awful!” is sympathy.

    Sympathy takes more imagination.

  79. It’s pretty pathetic when something like this passes as news. It shows how truly lazy and decadent the press has become. Journalists used to pound the pavement looking for real news. Now they sit at their computer screens surfing the ‘Net for some purported smoking gun. Its truly remarkable that the editors of NPR consider this news worthy.

  80. Takuan: I am posting because I had a viceral reaction to the article as I was browsing. I believe declining media standards is the real issue not if someone anonymously updated a politician’s profile in a popular Internet open source reference. If my opinions offend you then I appologize and should have been more considerate. I did not realize people were so sensitive here.

  81. “Now they sit at their computer screens surfing the ‘Net for some purported smoking gun.” is what got me going. Too many traditional journalists and others disparage our best,immediate source of breaking news. Of course you can’t believe everything uncritically, but I get annoyed when it seems dismissed. As to my sensitivity; no more than a mincing machine’s.

  82. @PYLB: why bother with the WayBack Machine when Wikipedia keeps every edit on every article?


    (n.b.: I’m responsible for a few of those.)

    @everybody saying “fix it yourself”: the Palin entry is currently semi-protected, so unregistered and newly registered users cannot edit. (n.b.: I’m responsible for some of that too.)

  83. Sarah Palin’s candidacy for Vice President provokes discussion on many issues related to science, the environment, foreign policy, sex education, abortion, rape, incest and a host of other matters that allow us to examine how we agree or differ on these issues and why Sarah Palin was selected and what might be the consequences of her election regarding any of these issues. Discussion gets to the heart of the country’s division. I have more than 200 links as well as personal postings,as a journalist. I am asking for people to peruse those links and offer more to have the most comprehensive site on the subject, for the enlightenment of the voters today and even after this election.


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