Texas Politicians Caught With a Revoked ‘Editorial License’ on Wikipedia

For you tree huggers out there: See what Wikipedia saved?

Ah, yes. I love my fabled Lone Star State: the wide prairies; the sprawling plains; the Texas-sized “everything’s bigger here” claims. But let’s not forget this state’s legendary political kerfuffles…

For instance, Texas is the only state to be entered into the United States by treaty and not by territorial annexation because we are kind of a big deal. So much so, that Texas was indeed its own independent nation from 1836 to 1845, and still boasts a clause in the state constitution that says we can be that way again whenever our cracked leaders say so.

Another thing drawing comparatives to “Texas-sized” are the lies hailing from here. Specifically, the ones on Wikipedia from those aforementioned cracked leaders

As we all know, Wikipedia has been doing high school essays and sundry collegiate master’s candidate theses for the past decade. It’s a great source of material, providing you can verify the material with the three other sources. Wikipedia is like a used college book — was this fool a raving genius or just high on hippie lettuce while scribbling these jittery notes?

And then, you take the chance. Much like some Texas legislators did recently with this open-sourced platform, according to The Dallas Morning News

As you can imagine, politicians have quite the ego, which makes me believe many of these party-loyal self-aggrandizers needs the emotional massage every now-and-then. “No, boss, you’re not the hack these people claim. You just don’t care so much about serving their needs like you used to because stress and such.” To wit, some Capitol Hill staffers took to Wikipedia and scrubbed out some of the not-so-complimentary aspects of their faithful employer.

Although Wikipedia — to its credit — tries to wrangle flacks (and other loyalists) from editing a corporate page because of a conflicted interest, there are ample ways to get around their security. And so, we have this list of ballyhooed alterations (S/O to TDMN’s Emily Wilkins for this comic relief). Enjoy watching politics at work:

  • Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington: In 2005, the wording in a paragraph of his views on climate change was changed to make his views sound less controversial.
  • Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland: In 2006, a sentence was deleted stating he had fought against extending the Voting Rights Act to protect minorities.
  • Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan: In 2012, someone removed a line about his time with Marine Drilling when he personally oversaw bankruptcy filings, resulting in a $7.5 million loss to the federal government
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas: In 2008, seven paragraphs were added about Hensarling that were accurate but positively slanted. A paragraph saying he opposed abortion rights was changed to read that he “has consistently voted to uphold life.”
  • Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes: In 2008, someone identifying himself or herself as a staffer added numerous highly positive paragraphs for Hinojosa’s biography with few concrete examples.
  • Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Plano: In 2005, a reference to the time Johnson referred to presidential candidate John Kerry as “Hanoi John” was removed, as well as a paragraph noting Johnson had mentioned that bombing Syria would take care of issues in the region. The same paragraph noted that Johnson said it was a joke.
  • Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land: In October, a sentence was removed stating Olson “voted to continue funding NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens who are not suspected of committing any crime.”
  • Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio: In 2009, several sections were removed. They covered his position on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, his opposition to a bill that would grant equal access to the U.S. Supreme Court for U.S. military members, and his voting for the 2008 financial bailout less than a year before supporting tea party protests for smaller government.
  • Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon: In 2011, several paragraphs were airbrushed to focus on the positives of bills Thornberry backed.