Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Herseth, Whalen, And Wiki

In probably one of the first cases of it’s kind in South Dakota, the online user maintained encyclopedia Wikipedia is causing a bit of a stir in the local political arena. Stephanie Herseth’s entry was apparently incorrectly updated by someone with a political axe to grind to read "She opposes abortion rights, citing her new found change of heart after announcing her pregnancy with fiancee Ajay Bruno’s baby."

Editing Wiki entries to include inaccurate information is not something that is new and PP over at SDWC was quick to catch on to the "drive by" of her entry but it still didn’t stop several people locally from latching onto the "story" and running with it including Lee Breard, the campaign manager for Herseth’s opponent, Bruce Whalen.

Breard sent out an email to several bloggers including Bill Harlan from the Rapid City Journal’s political blog that asked for confirmation of the story and included an off handed remark about Herseth that has actually become a story on it’s own (highlighting is mine).
Bloggers,

Please read the profile below in Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephanie_Herseth

It says that she is engaged to her Chief of Staff, Pregnant, and Pro-Life.

This is a big change from being a Home Wrecker with a Texas Congressman two years ago!

I look forward to your thoughts and verification of the claims.

Lee Breard
Campaign Manager
Bruce Whalen for U.S. Congress
Breard’s comments have set off a firestorm among the State Democratic Party:
Don Carr, State Democratic Party press secretary, then demanded an apology from Whalen and the firing of Breard.

Whalen did not respond to any of the events surrounding the incident or the request from Carr.

"I’m the one who sent the e-mail. He (Whalen) had no knowledge about it," Breard said.

And Carr’s call for his firing?

"That doesn’t deserve a response," Breard said.

Whalen’s failure to comment brought a response from Herseth’s office.

"This is sad, desperate, dirty politics. What is even worse is that Bruce Whalen is refusing to take responsibility for his campaign’s unethical behavior," said Russ Levsen, Herseth’s press secretary.


As if the Whalen campaign doesn’t have enough to overcome being down by 34 percent in the latest polls, he now has to overcome incompetence among his own staff that allowed them to be duped by the Wiki entry in the first place and then by sending an email that included more controversy to a major South Dakota newspaper.


Bruce, just a quick suggestion, we are in the internet age, maybe it would be a good idea to have someone on your staff that understands that not everything you read online is true and that can be counted on to figure that out from within.


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