Tag Archives: Wikipedia

ANALYSIS: What’s Behind Rick Hill’s Burning Pants

Republican Rick Hill is trying to tell folks in Eastern Montana that he’s a “Montana native” – despite being born, raised and schooled out-of-state.  The deception was attempted at a Lincoln Day Dinner where Hill and the other GOP candidates spoke last week.  

There are two ways to explain Hill’s behavior here.  First, Hill could be lying because he thinks that’s the only way he stands a chance against Bullock.

Governor Schweitzer hit on this recently – pointing to one of the many reasons why Bullock is a stronger candidate  than the GOPers:

“They’re just going to have a real tough time beating Bullock.  Not only is he a great guy, he’s got a young and beautiful family . . . been a spectacular attorney general.  He’s born and bred in Montana.  A lot of these cats that are running right now, they’re born someplace else, they’re interlopers. They just show up, they say, ‘It’s a small state, maybe I can go be governor of it.’…Bullock has got deep roots, he’s a smart guy.  If you’ve got a $100 in your pocket, you ought to bet on Bullock.  Bullock’s going to win this race.”

The only other explanation is that dishonesty and deception is so deeply ingrained in Hill’s imbecilic nature that he just can’t help himself. After all, neither Jim Lynch nor Ken Miller lied about their out-of-state roots in the Sidney Herald article reporting on their appearance.  Nor is this the first time Rick Hill has been caught trying to hide the truth about his past.

He tried to scrub from his Wikipedia page the fact that he left his wife and young kids for a mermaid/cocktail waitress. When his family showed up to beg him to come home he laughed in their faces.  He described this behavior in an email to Republicans assingle parenthood.”  If Rick Hill will lie about his own background, no one should be surprised when he lies about jobs, schools and revenue.

On Skeletons and Closets

When he was announced as Corey Stapleton’s runningmate yesterday, Bob Keenan took a whack at the entire Republican gubernatorial field, saying that all the other candidates “have skeletons in their closets” and thus Corey Stapleton “is the most electable.”

Whether this assertion is true or not, notice that Keenan expects the press to take care of his negative campaigning, to begin writing on the various problematic histories of each candidate simply because Keenan suggested it.

Asked at a press conference to elaborate about the “skeletons” in their opponents’ closets, Keenan declined.

“No, I won’t do that,” he told reporters. “That’s your job, and you’re good at it.”

There are several problems with what Keenan is trying to do.

First, in a big field of candidates, the media has to make some effort at fair treatment. Thus if they write about the scandalous past of one candidate, they must write about them all.  So the easier thing is to just stay away from the whole enterprise.

Second, the Montana press has an aversion to covering negative stuff, especially when it concerns Republican candidates. The conservative-owned newspapers in Montana will all be gunning for the GOP nominee in November.

Witness the hilariously absurd article in the Billings Gazette, regarding Rick Hill’s efforts to scrub his bio on his Wikipedia page (scrub it of any reference to his night club incident with a barmaid, and a subsequent press conference, while he was Congressman, in which his ex-wife burned him down as an abusive spouse).  The article refused to even state specifically what it was that Hill was trying to erase–describing it only as “details about Hill’s past campaigns and his 1976 divorce” but yet tried to report on the fact that he was trying to erase it.

Third, the press has an informal rule: you have to attack someone directly in order to make news.  That’s probably not a bad rule. It’s a spin-off of the age-old maxim, “if you have something to say, say it to my face.” Don’t go whispering it around town. Thus is Bob Keenan a sheep and a coward, for hinting at something but refusing to come out and say it directly. He’s hoping somebody else will do it.  Cowardice is not a quality we want in a leader.

I suppose that it’s not totally a bad thing that that Montana newspapers try to keep things clean.  There is something to be said for a positive news environment, especially in a special place like Montana.  But if you think about the way the press covers national politics, and the way that every little thing gets covered (a Tiffany’s revolving credit account, strapping the family dog to the roof of the car, failed marriages), one wonders if the Montana press’s self-censorship is really the way to go in a free and open society.  Nationally, the press rarely makes a concerted effort to cover things up.  Perhaps, too, should the Montana Press not be deciding what factual items about candidates are relevant.  That’s for the public to decide.

And the press is not always consistent in this regard.  John Morrison got skewered in the months before the primary in 2006, for an incident which occurred almost a decade earlier involving a bit of adultery.  The press simply decided that they wanted to write about it because it was juicy and timely.  Perhaps Democrats should be grateful that the incident was covered, because the issue surely would have been raised by Conrad Burns in the general election.  Morrison had been the big money leader in the primary, but went immediately down the tubes.  The stronger candidate (Jon Tester) thus ended up winning the Primary and the General election, and  thus did the media’s coverage of a steamy affair help ensure a meritorious election.   So maybe Democrats are quietly sitting by and hoping that Rick Hill’s several problems do not get ink until July.

It’s no secret that Keenan is pointing the finger at Rick Hill.  Numerous candidates, including Ken Miller and Stapleton and the now-defunct Essmann, have all been trying to get newspapers and TV stations to cover Hill’s flaws.

But Keenan should be careful what he wishes for.  Stapleton himself has a problematic past.  When he first put up his own Wikipedia page, it made a reference to his having suffered a “childhood addiction,” a term that I’ve never heard before.  (Presumably, this means that Stapleton was once a drug addict, probably as a teenager or young adult.)  A few weeks later, after this strange reference had been reported (and ridiculed) by my blog, the reference was taken down off the Wikipedia page.  But of course, it never made news.

Another GOP Candidate Caught Scrubbing Infidelity from Wikipedia Page

CNN this week chided the Newt Gingrich campaign for attempting to scrub references to Gingrich’s infidelity and ethics problems from his Wikipedia site.

Gingrich is the latest Republican to be caught trying to keep voters in the dark about his extramarital activity.  Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill was caught doing the same here in Montana.

The Billings Gazette reported that:

Wikipedia locked down former U.S. Congressman Rick Hill’s biography page Monday, after more than 30 attempts to add or scrub details about Hill’s past campaigns and his 1976 divorce.

The edits by Hill’s campaign manager included links to articles about Hill’s infidelity to his first wife, and articles describing his nasty campaign tactics in past elections.  I guess they didn’t want us to read about things like this Associated Press article from back in the 1990s, describing an episode during Rick Hill’s affair with a cocktail waitress at the Sip N’ Dip Lounge in Great Falls, the bar with the live mermaid tank.

Spaulding remembered learning about the affair after Hill began coming home very late at night. She recalled packing their three sons, aged 18 months to 8 years, in a car once and driving to the Sip-N-Dip lounge where she saw Hill with the other woman. She said she begged him without success to come home.

To be sure, it is probably pretty commonplace for candidates to monitor and ask for edits to their Wikipedia pages. What’s interesting here is the obsessive number attempts to make the same edits. It shows how far Republicans are willing to go to try to keep the public in the dark about their boss’s true characters.

Technology Produces a Frontrunner in the GOP Gubernatorial Primary

In a primary season with few conclusive results so far, the latest ground breaking news in the  Republican gubernatorial primary settled a couple things: Laurel furniture salesman Ken Miller appears to be the Republican front-runner, while the dry-cleaning guy, the insurance executive, the terrorism consultant, and the childhood addict lag behind.

While other candidates showed potential early on, they have failed to keep the attention of Montanans like Ken Miller, who has recently released the big news that he will be employing campaign technology that is only a decade old. This is exciting stuff.  Apparently it isn’t too hard to receive the text messages either, as it only takes a few paragraphs to explain how this is done.

Plus, as Miller explains in a press release, the technology is being brought to us by actual real life entrepreneurs.  (Not sure why these guys are different than other campaign consultants, but Miller thought it worth mentioning so it must be so.)

High tech advancements have been a major factor in GOP races this cycle from the beginning.  There was Jeff  Essmann’s announcement by conference call–where 13-or-14 planted Essmann supporters were able to ask questions without even being hung up on.  It is really a shame that no press were able to attend the call because it took place at like 9pm or something.

Then we had the slick 1990’s video effects that were featured in the Derek Skees campaign video, which for some reason has been removed from the internet.  And who could forget Rick Hill’s innovative use of Wikipedia to generate earned media statewide.  Livingstone’s campaign consultants are rumored to be trolling for bloggers to cover the primary from a Livingstone perspective, so we’ll surely see more excitement in the future. Ken Miller’s press release is pasted below the fold.

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More Embarrassing Wiki-Moments for Republicans

TEA Partiers Michele Bachmann and Rep. James KnoxFor a party that loves to put itself on the highest pedestal of morality it sure has attracted a lot of dishonest and deceptive politicians and followers.  It appears that attempting to alter or hide the facts of history through Wikipedia is a becoming a major Republican past time.

Unfortunately for Republicans, its not just Wikipedia’s credibility they are damaging, it is their own.

GOP Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, the candidate who (as of this week) is leading among religious conservative voters and Montana Republicans according to the latest polling, was campaigning in Iowa a couple of days ago when she:

told a Fox News reporter that she was proud to be in the town where John Wayne was from, because she embodies his ideals. Unfortunately for her, it turns out that the actor John Wayne was not from Waterloo, but serial killer John Wayne Gacy was.

That’s when Republicans sprang into action to change John Wayne’s birthplace (in Wikipedia) to the Iowa town where John Wayne Gacy was born.  History of course remained unchanged.

But that’s not all, Bachmann’s lack of facts spurred a second round of furious editing this week when she claimed that:

the nation’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams, was a “founding father,” even though he was just a child when his father, the nation’s second president, signed the Declaration of Independence.

Republicans immediately altered the Quincy Adams’s Wikipedia entry was changed to call him a “founding father.”


Wikipedia Editor Issues Warning to Hill Campaign

This is a story that I have observed unfolding for some time and has now become public after being reported by the Billings Gazette. Rick Hill’s campaign has made a constant effort to remove basic facts about Rick Hill from Hill’s Wikipedia page. For a while, the campaign manager Chuck Denowh (or perhaps someone else with the screen name “cdenowh) was removing facts on a regular basis. The history of what Denowh was removing is all laid out for anyone to see. He was usually removing any reference to Hill’s extramarital affair, something that was well documented in the news when it came to light in the late 90s.

But now a formal warning has been issued by Wikipedia, in bold letters at the top of Hill’s page: “A Major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection to this subject,” the warning says, and goes on to say that the article is no longer reliable and is protected from editing because its viewpoint neutrality has been compromised.

Wikipedia editing is a common thing for political operatives to fiddle with (Conrad Burns’, Brian Schweiter’s and Brad Johnson’s people both were all reported to have been editing their bosses’ pages). But, Hill is trying to remove a basic biographical fact that is a fair-game item in a political race. He is trying to make something (namely, his penis, and the improper use thereof)  disappear, as if it never existed. Generallly not a smart thing in politics.

Rick Hill’s Campaign Banned from Editing Wikipedia Page

Wikipedia has temporarily blocked edits to its Rick Hill article after someone inside the campaign tried to erase references to some particularly-controversial Rick Hill scandals.

Early last week, the user cdenowh, who presumably is Rick Hill’s campaign operative Chuck Denowh, was banned from editing Rick Hill’s article on the “free encyclopedia anyone can edit” after a series of biased postings–and relentless whitewashes.

The shutdown warning cited a problem with bias, saying that:

A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. It may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia’s content policies, particularly neutral point of view.

Hill’s campaign had attempted to remove the portion of the page that currently reads:

When he was running for re-election in 2000 shortly before Hill dropped out of the race citing eye-sight problems, it was reported in the New York Times that Hill had attacked his opponent, Chief State Schools Officer Nancy Keenan, for “lacking an understanding of family values” because “she has no children of her own.” Keenan responded she had a hysterectomy after cancer as a young woman. [2]

The campaign was also frantic to remove information about the details surrounding Hill’s extramarital affair with a cocktail waitress, which have recently resurfaced in a series of emails from religious conservatives. Before the Rick Hill campaign’s edits, the page contained this information, (screenshot) which Hill’s campaign repeatedly removed.

The sources were listed here, but Hill’s campaign repeatedly removed both the language and the source material.

Whitewashing Rick Hill’s Dirty Laundry

Someone on GOP Gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill’s team seems to think his past needed a little bit of a touch up.

Yesterday, after the GOP leadership’s meeting with the Governor yesterday, (during which GOP leadership admitted that the current work comp system, crafted while Hill was chair of the work comp board, is the most expensive in the nation for businesses and a top problem the GOP hears about from constituents), the helpful internet sprites edited Hill’s page to limit his involvement in the matter.  Here’s a screenshot of a list of the edits as of Thursday evening.

Rick Hill’s involvement in crafting the current work comp system had been something the campaign was bragging about, as you can see from a screenshot of Hill’s website. Anyhoo, following yesterday’s meeting the wiki friends downplayed that bit. From the list of edits posted above:

Oh, they were also good enough to alter passages dealing with the whole matter of how expensive the current work comp program is, which you can see are not included in today’s version. Good thinking friends, because how would anyone ever find out about what a disaster the expensive work comp is if it’s not on Wikipedia?

Since November of last year, just days after Rick Hill announced he would run for Governor someone named “C. Denowh” among others, made more than 30 favorable changes to Hill’s Wikipedia page.

This is but the latest incident of the brown shirts editing out portions unflattering to Hill, such as a reference to Hill’s infamous assertion that a woman without children is unfit to hold office because she would have no knowledge of family values which you read about here. He’s done this again too.  Here are the latest before and after screenshots that show someone continues to try to suppress Rick Hill’s own remarks.

Helena Establishment Behind Hill; Top Operative Scrubbing Wikipedia Page

Though the election is two years away,  already Montana gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill seems to have at least one major Republican insider helping him out: Chuck Denowh, former GOP director and now the state’s top Republican operative.

Unless it is an impostor (which we know can sometimes happen on the web), a person by the handle of “Cdenowh” has lately been editing, and usually scrubbing, Hill’s Wikipedia page.

Most recently, “Cdenowh”erased unflattering factual information and replaced it with the canned talking points designed to gloss over some of Hill’s political vulnerabilities, such as a reference to Hill’s infamous assertion that a woman without children is unfit to hold office because she would have no knowledge of family values.

If a curious Montana voter had looked for information about Hill on wikipedia last week, she would have found a page that read:(screenshot)

Hill attempted a campaign against Superintendent of Public Instruction (an elected position in Montana, unlike most other states) Nancy Keenan in 2000 by claiming that she was unfit for office because she was childless and unmarried, only to learn that she’d had a hysterectomy in 1983 after a battle with cancer. His approval ratings tanked, and so Hill bowed out of the race citing “health problems.”

Now, it reads:(Screenshot)

Hill was elected to Congress in 1996, defeating [[Bill Yellowtail]], and represented [[Montana’s At-large congressional district]] from January 3, 1997 until January 3, 2001. Hill retired from Congress in 2000 due to deteriorating eyesight, which has since been recovered.