Way, way back in the spring of 2012, it came to light that an anonymous South Burlington resident had been adding a whole lot of material to Bill Sorrell’s WIkipedia page — turning it from a brief stub into a very Sorrell-friendly recounting of his accomplishments, and omitting anything at all negative.
Much of the added verbiage was strikingly similar to the bio on his campaign website. And at least once, Sorrell was referred to as “Bill” — an odd thing for a dispassionate Wikipedia editor to do.
Well, according to VTDigger’s Jasper Craven, there’s a new entry in the pantheon of small-minded Vermont politicos. Because one specific individual has spent ungodly amounts of time editing Peter Galbraith’s Wikipedia entry. The edits have been done by a user called “Devotedamerican,” but it’s hard to believe that anyone other than Galbraiith himself was responsible.
The Galbraith shenanigans go deeper than Sorrell’s. Not only did Devotedamerican post obvious fluffery, s/he also repeatedly scrubbed anything negative from the entry, particularly about Galbraith’s oil dealings in the Middle East. (You know, the ones that made him a rich man.) And did it so frequently that Devotedamerican was actually upbraided for his work.
Devotedamerican repeatedly deleted whole paragraphs on the Galbraith page referencing the oil controversy, describing it as “libelous content.” After every edit to minimize the oil deal, other Wikipedia editors objected and repealed the changes.
In obscure Wikipedia “Talk” forums, Devotedamerican repeatedly drew heat for the edits.
There’s no proof that Galbraith is Devotedamerican, and he denies it. But it’s of a piece with the reputation he earned as a state senator for narcissism, grudge-bearing, and thin skin. And Craven throws plenty of bread crumbs on the trail.
Besides the oil edits, Devotedamerican added many details about Galbraith’s life and work in a series of edits demonstrating a deep knowledge of the gubernatorial candidate.
… Devotedamerican’s edits on other pages all related to the gubernatorial candidate and suggest an intimate knowledge of his family.
The user has edited the Wikipedia pages for Galbraith’s brother, James, as well as his parents, John and Catherine.
After being shown the Wikipedia edits, and Devotedamerican’s ardent defense of Galbraith’s foreign policies, the gubernatorial candidate smiled.
“Sounds like there is a real patriot out there,” he said.
Yeah, “a real patriot” in his own mind.
The words of an Internet meme spring to mind: “Christ, what an asshole.”