Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wiki-wipe -- Or... remember when it wasn't acceptable to do politics using the state's equipment?

Remember when $50 worth of phone calls related to fundraising for a 527 group made by staffers from Gov. Martz's office was enough to cause a major upheaval that administration?

Well, then, you perhaps remember when the Montana press cared deeply about keeping the political operation separate from the governing side of the governor's office. And rightly so.

Montana Headlines quite agrees with Electric City that "outrage, OUTRAGE!" over relatively minor stuff is off-putting, so we won't express any.

But we also do agree with Electric City that it is at least worth taking note of the Wiki-wipe operation apparently being carried out on state-owned computers to keep any information about the governor's (joking?) boasts of election-day shenanigans off the Governor Brian Schweitzer Wikipedia entry.

A "high crime?" Hardly.

Part of a pattern of an operation that can't or won't acknowledge the difference between what belongs to the state and what should be done by political campaigns using their own time, money and equipment? It would seem reasonable to at least explore the concept.

Given that it was newsworthy when someone back in 2006 used a Senate computer to edit out a report of something embarrassing that Conrad Burns had said -- will it now be newsworthy to learn that someone in state government is using state-owned computers and servers to wipe Wikipedia of references to the governor saying that he used his power as governor to "turn some dials" to make Sen. Jon Tester's election happen?

Just curious -- we'll wait and see.


Rocky Right said...

The thing is that the news media has just played their hand. They can't/won't beat him up on this because that means that Schweitzer is just like the Missoulian online said. This is the root problem with our media "biased"

Anonymous said...

The plot gets thicker. I saw from Electric City Weblog that the Tribune had a short story in which the governor's press secretary admitted that she was the one who went in and admitted that she had gone on to Wikipedia and deleted the stuff about the governor's speech to the lawyer's group. But when I went back to look at the story a day later, it was deleted from the Tribune's archive.

What is that all about?

And why did the AP or the other papers pick it up?

And why did so few papers comment on the governor's speech, or on McGrath's speedy refusal to investigate it?

You think back, for example, to how the press went on and on and on about Martz's comment about lapdogs for weeks and months. But this they can't forget soon enough. I've never seen anything like it.

I noticed that the Gazette had an editorial comment on the Schweitzer speech in one of those briefs they do on the weekend. Three sentences long!

Wow! That's taking a stand!

Makes you wonder....what kind of a spell does the governor have over these news people.