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article imagePalin supporters attempting to rewrite history on Wikipedia

By Graeme McNaughton     Jun 6, 2011 in Politics
While former governor Sarah Palin claims she wasn't wrong in her story on Paul Revere, some of her supporters have taken to Wikipedia to make it true.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Palin responded to anchor Chris Wallace's claims that she made a mistake in her history:
"I didn't mess up about Paul Revere...part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there. That, hey, you're not going to succeed. You're not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have...he did warn the British."
This is in stark contrast to the historical account of Revere's famed 'midnight ride,' where the purpose was to set off an advanced alarm for the colonialists to protect an arsenal in Concord. As well, historians don't believe the warning shots that Palin originally referred to ever happened.
However, some Palin supporters have taken it upon themselves to change history by editing Paul Revere's Wikipedia page to include the presidential hopeful's claims. What resulted was a back and forth editing war, with nearly 70 edits made before the page was locked.
On the Paul Revere talk page on Wikipedia, editor 'Ocnup' posted a response to Palin's supporters:
"If you want to find a source to work into the article, you should search for sources that agree with what Palin said BEFORE she said it. Sarah Palin doesn't belong in this article, because it's an article about Paul Revere not about Sarah Palin, but if you want to bolster her position retroactively you just need to go back to anything released a week ago or more that counts as a [reliable source] and bring that to the forefront."
As published before on Digital Journal, the gaffe came when Palin was making a stop in Boston on her One Nation bus tour. Talking to a local television station, she talked about American revolutionary Paul Revere:
"He who warned the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms by ringing those bells, and makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."
This is not the first time that fans have taken to edit Wikipedia to support their celebrity idols. In 2006, supporters edited the page on elephants to state that the population had tripled over the last six months as the result of a segment on satirist Stephen Colbert's Comedy Central show 'The Colbert Report'. On the show, Colbert discussed a self-coined term 'wikiality' which he described as being that if enough people believe a falsehood to be true, it would actually become truth.
More about Sarah palin, Paul revere, Wikipedia
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