Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tricky Wiki

Posted By on August 5, 2009, 4:10 PM

The Eagle Forum has been bullying Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert over his choice of successor, state Sen. Greg Bell because, by their lights, Bell is so frickin' gay-friendly they can hardly stand it. (Paul Rolly wrote about it here and here.) ---

In Realityland, Bell is no flag-waving militant equality activist (not that there's anything wrong with that). But he was reasonable enough to give a fair shot to some legislation that might have made the lives of gay and lesbian Utahns a bit easier—and, for that, he's incurred the wrath of Gayle.

Bell seems a decent sort, level-headed and damned smart. Politically, he's a moderate—but I guess to a right-wing nutjob in the Eagle Forum, a smart, moderate Republican is something akin to a Communist. The rest of the world, however, would be hard-pressed to characterize him as a firebrand. Personally,I'm glad to see Bell moving up; we need more intelligent people in government.

Interestingly, however, a series of edits was made July 19 to Greg Bell's Wikipedia article that seem to downplay his involvement with any "controversial" legislation. For instance, this statement (a sentence which, in its typical wishy-washy Wikipediosity, could hardly be considered controversial) was removed entirely:

He has also sponsored legislation that would grant financially mutually interdependent couples (without reference to sexual relationship) some "mutual dependence benefits" and legislation seeking to reform the lobbying and ethics rules in State Government.

The edits were logged to a numeric IP address, not a regular Wikipedia editor. The IP number tracks to a block of addresses administered by XMission's Salt Lake City office.

Now, don't get me wrong. There's no skullduggery afoot—it's just Wikipedia, for heaven's sake. Anybody can (and does) make edits. (Actually, the edits seem to improve the article's overall tone somewhat.)

But I can't help but speculate on the timing and motivation behind the edits—could it be that somebody sensed the wacky Eagle Forum was bound to hold such things against Bell, and decided to keep it on the DL?

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