Gingrich Aide Defends Edits in Wikipedia

Joe DeSantis says he stopped editing site months ago
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2012 4:08 PM CST
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich speaks at a rally February 6, 2012, in Golden, Colorado.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Notice that Newt Gingrich's image on Wikipedia has gotten cleaner lately? The site's editors raised a fuss over it—and Gingrich's communications director, who made the changes, issued a statement defending them. "I stopped making direct edits in May 2011 because I was alerted to the [conflict of interest] rules," said Joe DeSantis. Some editors praised DeSantis for disclosing his affiliation and posting change requests on a site forum, but others were less impressed.

"Pointing out factual errors is one thing, but your input should not go beyond that," posted one editor. DeSantis' changes include:

  • Removing these lines from an article on wife Callista Gingrich: "She met her husband while he was in the House, and had an affair while he was conducting the impeachment investigation for President Bill Clinton."
  • Deleting a description of Gingrich approaching his first wife for a divorce while she was still recuperating from surgery.
  • Removing several lines about a 1997 House ethics probe into Gingrich.
Such edits are nothing new, however: Supporters of Sarah Palin edited Paul Revere's page after she mis-characterized his historic ride in the American Revolution. (Read more Newt Gingrich 2012 stories.)

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