A few days ago, VTDigger’s Jasper Craven reported that an anonymous someone had been doing a whole lot of editing to Peter Galbraith’s Wikipedia page. The person known as “Devotedamerican” made dozens of edits to Galbraith’s entry between 2008 and 2011, all adding material favorable to Galbraith or removing unfavorable information. During that period, Galbraith actively considered a run for governor before deciding to run for state senate in 2010.
Devotedamerican has been silent since 2011. But now, Galbraith has a new WikiFriend, “Westerncivil.” It’s a cognomen strikingly similar in content and structure to “Devotedamerican.”
Westerncivil began editing Galbraith’s entry in the fall of 2014, but was only occasionally active until June 10, when Westerncivil made eleven separate edits to Galbraith’s page in a single day.
Craven’s article revealing Devotedamerican was posted on June 9.
Coincidence? Ehh, not buying it.
And Westerncivil has never edited anything else on Wikipedia.
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.
When last we left the Norm McAllister saga, he was threatening legal action against the State Senate if it suspends him from his official duties. He claims that a number of his constituents have talked of filing suit. As I noted, this would just prolong the agony for Senators, for Republicans, and especially for Franklin County Republicans, who are stuck with this tar baby.
Well, VTDigger’s Jasper “Son of Jay” Craven spent a few happy hours getting in touch with the county’s other lawmakers. And all of them, shockingly, denied that a court battle was in the works.
“Nobody has expressed a plan or a desire to take legal action,” said Rep. Carolyn Branagan, a Republican who represents Franklin’s first district. “I think it’s exactly the opposite, the people with whom I know and have spoken to want this over.”
… Franklin Republican Reps. Albert Pearce and Larry Fiske, Independent Barbara Murphy and Democrat Kathleen Keenan also said they hadn’t heard anything about a lawsuit until McAllister’s remarks Wednesday. Nor had Claude Cheralier, the Highgate chair for the Franklin County Republicans.
Rep. Corey Parent joined the chorus, and expressed the increasingly forlorn hope that McAllister would come to his senses and resign.
Well, see, here’s the problem.