The biographies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are under siege. Whether we like it or not, tons of us turn to Wikipedia for digestible background information. Because any of us can edit an entry, we all hold the power of truth in our hands. With that much influence at stake, why wouldn't a prankster, or worse, a political opponent, try to include not so flattering, and not so true, information?
Luckily two unpaid and unofficial wonks are on the case. NPR profiled Jonathan Schilling and Tina Vozick, Clinton and Obama supporters, respectively. These two dedicated defenders of truth, and their candidates, police the pages around the clock, protecting their candidates in this Wiki-warfare.
Sometimes the most offensive material pops up at inconvenient times. For an example,
Vozick visited Obama's page one summer late at night. "There was a picture there of naked men, black men in a sauna. It wasn't there very long, but it was put back a couple of times."
These monitors are self-trained. Schilling explained to NPR: "I've read any number of books about her. I've gone to libraries many times to research it, I've gone to university libraries to find political science papers about some aspects of her public reaction. I'm pretty familiar with her whole biography."
Why do they do it? Schilling likes the large audience, and the chance to research something he's passionate about. But it's not all good. Vozick said: "We put in a lot of hours and the pay is absolute zero." I'm sure Clinton and Obama appreciate this complimentary support; but I wouldn't be surprised if they also had a few paid staffers on hand to monitor the internets.