The Lowell Sun has a story on U.S. Representatives altering the Wikipedia entries for themselves and others. In particular, it focuses on Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA). He or a member of his staff deleted, among other things, a reference to his 1992 promise to surrender his seat after 8 years, a promise he has broken.
He isn’t the only Representative to engage in such behavior. Apparently the problem was so bad that Wikipedia went so far as to block users of the House of Representative’s IP address from making edits.
Wikipedia certainly isn’t perfect. Relying on the public to input knowledge is going to cause problems given the inevitable existence of axes to grind, oxen to gore, and any number of other political metaphors. But U.S. Representatives and their staffs ought not be in the business of deleting factual information.
Violation of a campaign pledge made me think of Rep. Souder. His page didn’t show any evidence that his term limits campaign pledge had ever been on Wikipedia. However, I did see that the following statement was deleted:
He has come under widespread criticism from students, educators, and substance abuse recovery advocates for authoring and championing the [[Higher Education Act Drug Provision]], which denies federal financial aid eligibility to college students with drug convictions. The law has thus far afected (sic) more than 175,000 students.
Souder was originally elected in 1994 on a platform that included a 12 year term limit. 12 years later, Mr. Souder is apparently not going to honor that pledge.