Molly Osberg and Dhruv Mehrotra at Splinter have done some great work tracing at least 150 Wikipedia edits back to IP addresses at the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. Like the @CongressEdits Twitter account, which tracked edits from IP addresses on Capitol Hill, it's difficult to say for certain whether these were intentionally duplicitous acts under order from above, or just some bored administrative office worker with a comprehensive knowledge of crystal skulls and stinkbugs.
Given the NRA's long history with the savvy PR firm Ackerman McQueen, however, it's hard to chalk up the selectively-edited articles on Holocaust Denialism, George Zimmerman, or the history of "stand your ground" laws as mere coincidence.
In 2013, a few days after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges after shooting the unarmed Trayvon Martin, and as “stand your ground” laws made national news, a Wikipedia user named SkippG created the first Wikipedia page for Brown v. United States, the 1921 case that set a precedent for Americans with no “duty to retreat” to legally kill someone in “self-defense.” SkippG also attempted some revisions to Marion Hammer’s page, insisting so thoroughly on their edits despite the protests of other editors that their account was later frozen. Coincidentally, a man named Skipp Galythly has been an assistant general counsel at the NRA for 20 years.
It's too bad Splinter will be shutting down soon, the latest casualty of the various clueless finance bros who scooped up the former Gawker Media sites after the company's evisceration by Peter Thiel. The NRA's ongoing civil war won't implode soon enough.
(Thumbnail image via Occupy Global/Flickr)
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