Palin and ‘Wikigate’

The NY Times has an article that details how someone altered Sarah Palin’s Wikipedia entry in the 24 hours before the VP announcement. The changes provided much more detail and greatly enhanced the bio — for the positive:

Beginning at 2 a.m Eastern time on Thursday, a Wikipedia user with the name YoungTrigg began an overhaul of the article, adding compelling stories about her upbringing, including that “she earned the nickname ‘Sarah Barracuda’ because of her intense play” as point guard for her high school basketball team and that she and her father “would sometimes wake at 3 a.m. to hunt moose before school.”

Many details were culled from, and footnoted to, the book “Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment on Its Ear,” by Kaylene Johnson.

Soon enough, YoungTrigg pivoted from the biographical to the political, adding that Ms. Palin had high approval ratings as governor and that, as mayor, she had “kept her campaign promises, reducing her own salary, as well as reducing property taxes 60 percent.”

As governor, YoungTrigg wrote, her “tenure is noted for her willingness to take on oil companies” and that she has been called “a ‘politician of eye-popping integrity.’ ” Both of those statements were attributed to a profile in the conservative Weekly Standard magazine.

In total, YoungTrigg — whose user name is a reference to Ms. Palin’s infant son, Trig — made 30 “edits” to the article, all positive and largely unnoticed . . .

Nobody knows the identity of “YoungTrigg” (named for Palin’s youngest child). If it’s not a Palin relative, it’s a likely bet that it’s a McCain campaign operative (not even members of Palin’s staff and reportedly all but a tiny few McCain insiders knew of the announcement ahead of time). So it’s unlikely to be some random, prescient editor.

One of the reporters I saw on TV (CNN) shorly after the VP announcement said, “I didn’t know much about Sarah Palin, I must admit that Wikipedia has become my friend this morning.” Clearly the envisioned and intended result: to influence the public perception and early news coverage of Palin.

Wikipedia is the top entry for Palin on the result for her name search:

Should we call this “Wikigate”?


One Response to “Palin and ‘Wikigate’”

  1. Tim Cohn Says:

    There have been nearly 300 edits on her wiki page since 12:00 AM this morning September 1.

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