FL Senate Candidate Tries To Edit Scientology Links From Wikipedia Page, Streisanding Those Links Everywhere
from the hail-thetan dept
You really would think people would know better by now when it comes to trying to surrepticiously edit Wikipedia pages to hide information, but they don’t. There is a long history of people and companies trying to disappear or edit potentially embarrassing facts from Wikipedia, only to have it backfire directly in their faces via a little thing we call The Streisand Effect. And yet they still try.
The latest example of this is the Florida Senate Campaign for David Jolly attempting to simply delete his ties to the Church of Scientology from his Wikipedia page.
Sarah Bascom, Jolly’s spokesperson, confirmed that the campaign removed references to Jolly’s past career as a lobbyist, his association with the Church of Scientology, his support for same sex marriage, and political contributions he made to Democratic candidates. Bascom accused a unspecified rival campaign of adding what she described as “campaign propaganda” in the first place. Two edits were made — one on March 15 and one on April 4 — by a user named “Bascomcomm”. Bascom is the president of Bascom Communications & Consulting, a political firm in Florida.
“We were notified a few months ago that a consultant who works for one of our us senate [sic] opponents has been intentionally editing the David Jolly Wikipedia page to follow their opposition research messaging so they can use it in a mail or digital campaign,” Bascom told BuzzFeed News in an email. “Once we found about it, we went in and attempted to correct his page to be consistent with all of his public bios.”
Except that none of that appears to be true. By all accounts, the sections which Bascom’s firm deleted from Jolly’s Wikipedia page were heavily sourced and most of the contributions that were disappeared had been put into the page well over a year ago. It would take some Nostradamus-level seeing skills for a rival Senatorial prospect to edit Jolly’s Wikepedia page to include damning information years in advance of the campaign actually taking place. And, even if we are dealing with a political prognosticator here, the sections were sourced. Note that nothing in the quote above suggests that the campaign was editing out lies. It only says that it edited the page to be consistent with Jolly’s current public bio, that of a Republican senatorial candidate.
One section dealt with Jolly’s long history with the Church of Scientology, including financial contributions he’s gained from them and his attendance at political rallies hosted by the group. That was all replaced by the campaign with information detailing Jolly’s work on flood insurance relief and his committment to reducing government spending. Another section detailed Jolly’s career as a lobbyist, replacing that with his history of business ownership in the private sector. When Buzzfeed mentioned to Bascom that the original page contributions were done by long-time Wikipedia editors, in one case an award-winning editor, she repeated her claim that one of them worked for a rival’s campaign. When asked to name that campaign?
“I have been told by numerous people who is behind it, but I can’t use that,” she said. “That would be unethical.”
Ah, yes, ethics. The most important of things, except when concerning trying to hide factual information from the public during an election cycle. How politician of you! And now that this has been sussed out, of course, we can all spend much time, energy, and screen-space discussing in volume all of the things that Jolly’s campaign had tried to hide from us. The Streisand Effect is a bitter mistress, would-be Senator Jolly, and you’ve treated her poorly.