Sunday, April 30, 2006

Green the Victim of a Wikipedia Drive-By

I admit, I use Wikipedia as much as anyone. It's a quick way to get a Cliff's Notes version of virtually any topic you want. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've linked to it on numerous occasions.

The downside, of course, is that in order for the site to house that much information, it has to be supplied by individuals that may or may not have a vested interest in the given topic. Anyone can go in and alter a Wikipedia entry, which opens up the possibility for malfeasance.

As a test, I decided to go check out the Wikipedia entries for a couple of local politicians. I first started with Mark Green, and almost fell out of my chair laughing at this entry:

Green, the son of Jeremy and Elizabeth Green, was raised in South Africa. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1983. After college, he joined the military but dropped out after five days of service.

Green served for six years in the Wisconsin State Assembly before being elected to the House in 1998. He was selected by Rep. Tom DeLay to serve as part of his political operation as an Assistant Majority Whip, a position he still holds.

Green and his wife, Susan, live in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They have three children. Besides serving in Congress, Green also derives income through his ownership of several units of low income housing.
So according to Wikipedia, Mark Green is a draft-dodging slumlord joined at the hip to Tom DeLay. His entry, which some people actually might take seriously, has obviously been "massaged" by some dem operatives to become a hit piece against him.

Contrast that to Jim Doyle's entry: (my emphasis in italics)

James Edward Doyle (born November 23, 1945) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He took office in January 2003 as the 44th and current Governor of Wisconsin. He defeated incumbent Governor Scott McCallum by a margin of 45% to 41%, a plurality reduced by the relative success of a third party candidate, Ed Thompson, the Libertarian candidate.
There you go - your built-in excuse for why Doyle only got 45% - it was Ed Thompson's fault!

Doyle attended Stanford University for three years, then returned home to Madison to finish his senior year at UW-Madison. After graduating from college and inspired by John F. Kennedy’s call to public service, Doyle worked as a teacher in Africa as part of the Peace Corps.
Blaaaaahhhhhhh...... (the sound of me barfing)

In 1972, Doyle earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard University. Doyle then moved to the Navajo Indian Reservation in Chinle, Arizona, where he worked as an attorney in a federal legal services office.
It is on the reservation where Doyle formed a strong friendship with Chief Soft Money, who vowed to bankroll his campaigns henceforth.

Doyle was elected Wisconsin Attorney General in 1990, and reelected in 1994 and 1998. Between 1997-1998, he served as the president of the National
Association of Attorneys General
. During his twelve years as Attorney General, Doyle was considered tough on crime, but not unsympathetic to its causes. He also gained recognition through several successful lawsuits against tobacco companies in
the state.

Governor McCallum inherited a state with a $2.8 billion budget deficit. In 2003, McCallum signed a budget-repair bill that traded most of a long-term return from the state’s $1.6 billion tobacco settlement for a one-time lump sum that fixed the deficit for a year but didn’t provide the necessary long-term solutions. He then spent all of the money in an attempt to balance the budget in under one year.

While McCallum didn't cause the state's deficit, he was accused of not creating long-term solutions for the state and poor decision making. Doyle seized McCallum's faults and brought them to the surface in his 2002 campaign, accusing him of fiscal mismanagement.

With Doyle's election, alongside Barbara Lawton, his Lieutenant Governor, nearly all of Wisconsin's statewide offices are now held by Democrats. Both of the state's U.S. Senators, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the State Attorney General and the Secretary of State are all Democrats. This was a blow to the state Republican party, which has long controlled the assembly and won the state senate the very night Doyle was elected governor.

As Governor, Doyle has made investing in public schools, support for regional economic development, transportation reform, and funding of scientific pursuits such as stem cell research his major programs. However, with a GOP-controlled state legislature, Doyle has had difficulties turning many of his plans into actions. Doyle has vetoed over 100 bills.

So there you have it - a ridiculous lit piece served up for the Doyle campaign via Wikipedia. After reading that, I demand a recount in last year's Papal election - Jim Doyle is obviously infallible. It's pretty clear Doyle's campaign team took a while to write it, so it's worth the read. Doyle cares for minorities, he sees both sides of the crime issue, the budget deficit is all the Republicans' fault, etc.

I would just hope that someone at the GOP or Green campaign is paying attention and corrects a lot of this nonsense. In the end, it won't make a bit of difference, but I demand to be entertained by the creative editing I expect to see over the next few months.

And if you needed any more evidence about how little credibility Wikipedia has, check out this entry for The Iron Sheik, and scroll all the way down to the bottom. No, a little further down. There you go - there it is.

UPDATE: It seems in the few hours since I posted this, someone removed my Iron Sheik post from the links on his Wikipedia site (it was there for a couple months). It was there, you'll just have to take my word for it.

DOUBLE SECRET UPDATE: The same person who identified themselves as "Miss Piggy" in my comments section was the same person who removed my Iron Sheik post from the Wikipedia page (the IP addresses match). They believed it was a "political smear." This, ironically, after they essentially called me a crybaby. Looks like it is back now, though - honestly, I don't care if it is there or not.

Also looks like there is some action at the Doyle and Green pages. To keep up to date, check the "History" links for both Doyle and Green to see what people are adding and subtracting.