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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

July 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Editing war on Darcy Burner’s Wikipedia page

For the past several months, Darcy Burner’s campaign has been quietly battling what it considers vandalism to an unusual resource: her Wikipedia page.

A series of edits removed reference to her work for Progressivecongress.org in Washington, D.C., and to a fire that destroyed her home during her 2008 run for Congress. Now running again, this time in the 1st Congressional District, Burner herself (her Wikipedia log-on is Zentalon) re-edited her page June 30 to add back the information. She asked one anonymous editor:

are you working for an opponent’s campaign? You’ve been hostilely removing relevant information repeatedly

If so, it’s odd but apparently pervasive skullduggery in the political world. Wikipedia in 2006 blocked edits from an IP address used by the U.S. House. More recently, Newt Gingrich’s campaign was criticized for deleting some references to ethics charges and to his three marriages.

Burner’s Wikipedia page has been edited dozens of times just this year, with deletions to her work for such progressive groups as NARAL and a two-year stint in Washington, D.C., I wrote about in June. 

I’m not an expert on Wikipedia’s crowd-sourced editing, but I queried one prolific editor (log-on Bbb23) about their deletions. I haven’t heard back. References to the 2008 fire seem of particular interest, perhaps because the loss of Burner’s home humanized her to voters while the anti-Iraq War message on her pajamas fired up progressives.

A quick check of her opponents’  Wikipedia pages shows no significant edits. The Republican in the 1st District race, John Koster, doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.

Comments | More in homepage, Politics Northwest, U.S. House of Representatives | Topics: Darcy Burner

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