With his allies already caught red handed pushing fake news headlines on social media, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart admitted to CNN that his campaign has also been actively editing his Wikipedia page.
While Stewart attempted to downplay the edits as “fixing incorrect information,” the edits go well beyond corrections and seem to be designed to recreate Stewart’s image. Let’s take these line-by-line, for the fun of it.
Under a section on his page about the 2017 governor’s race, his campaign added that Stewart is “widely considered to be the most conservative of the potential candidates for Virginia Governor.”
Wikipedia’s user community, despite its early reputation, is actually pretty zealous about having sources. A campaign buzz line couched with the words “widely considered” is certainly not a correction or a statement of fact.
The campaign also removed information about his private practice as a trade lawyer and added information about where Stewart attends church.
This one is all about the version of Corey Stewart that’s running for office today. His campaign obviously believes that a lawyer who has now run for 4 different offices (2 successfully) wouldn’t play well with his target audience.
In one case, the campaign added that Stewart’s role in the Donald Trump’s campaign had “thrust Stewart into the forefront of Virginia GOP politics.”
This is another example of narrative setting without citation or reason. Stewart is struggling to gain traction in his gubernatorial bid, and was struggling before he was fired by President Trump’s campaign. If “thrust into the forefront” is “thrust into a double-digit deficit in all public polling,” then it might be deemed accurate.
Another edit appeared to spin the reason Stewart had been fired by Trump’s campaign.
Stewart, who served as the Virginia chair of the campaign, was fired after he staged a protest outside the RNC without approval from the campaign. An edit to his page minimized Stewart’s involvement, phrasing his termination as, “refusing to shut down a pro-Trump women’s demonstration protesting the Republican National Committee’s lack of support for Donald Trump.”
This one is just hilarious. Stewart wasn’t fired for “refusing to shut down” anything. Stewart was fired for appearing at a rally against the RNC, which was at the time led by Reince Priebus, who is now President Trump’s Chief of Staff. Stewart spoke to media, blasted the national committee, and ignored campaign calls to not attend.
Editing Wikipedia isn’t some sort of fatal political crime. What it shows, however, is that Corey has to do everything possible to attempt to remake his image, and his campaign took steps to try to accommodate that.