February 15th, 2010
01:57 PM ET

As candidates battle for votes, fight extends to Wikipedia entries

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Burt Hubbard
The Denver Post

Denver Mayor and Colorado gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper has received "poor ratings" from "some Denver employees," according to one version of his online biography on the website Wikipedia.

Seconds later, the ratings of the mayor are still poor, only the group responsible for them has been changed to "small businesses."

And with a few more clicks of the keyboard, the original could just as easily reappear, disappear and appear again.

Like county fairs and gossip fences of days gone by, the Wikipedia biography is an emerging battleground in the modern political campaign.

The online encyclopedia lets anyone and everyone edit the posted articles. And while that may be a boon for the First Amendment, it can be a nightmare for politicians who want to maintain control of their personal narrative — and want it to tilt in their favor.

In Colorado, Wiki wars have already been waged over U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet's ethnicity, challenger Andrew Romanoff's standing within the party, Hickenlooper's reputation with small business and Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis' relationship with former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay.

Snapshots of the pages for leading candidates for governor and U.S. Senate taken last Monday trace how the pages had changed during the prior months.

Tracking the changes shows a pattern of online political intrigue, some originating from government offices.

All the pages had been changed, usually anonymously, since the candidates had announced their intentions to run for office.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Internet
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Saba Rahman

    Anderson, welcome to the internet and social network generation coming to age. Lot more of them are of voting age now and gaining more grounds as the time passes.

    February 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  2. Tim Gibson

    Battle grounds change and evolve. The evolution of the campaign battle ground may bring forth information previously held at arms length for public view and revelation as our political leadership push back against the people in a fight to maintain power and control of a leadership gone wild.

    February 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm |