President Bush Nabbed In Effort to Alter Own Wikipedia Entry

Wikispace, December 19, 2008 -- Outgoing President George W. Bush was caught yesterday attempting to polish his biographical entry on Wikipedia, sources close to the reclusive commander-in-chief admitted. The effort was immediately spotted by members of Wikipedia's large group of volunteer editors, who described President Bush's revisionist online foray as "comically inept".

President Bush attempts to alter own Wikipedia entry: Photograph by anonymous aidePresident Bush attempts to alter own Wikipedia entry: Photograph by anonymous aide

"The entry for President George W. Bush is one that I have flagged to auto-notify me whenever there's a change," a Wikipedia editor who goes by the name Jarvis229 said. "So the President's fumbling attempts came to my notice more or less immediately.

Wikipedia, a user-driven online encyclopedia, is designed so that any visitor can make changes or additions to a page if they find missing or inaccurate information. All changes are carefully logged to prevent spam and abuse, and are generally reviewed by volunteer editors. As such, a full record of the George W. Bush cleansing effort is publicly available.

"The system's a little cryptic," Jarvis229 said, "so you have to know how to interpret it. For computer illiterates like the outgoing president, the interface can be a little daunting as well."

Jarvis229 said he first got wind of a "legacy cleansing attack", as efforts by politicians to rewrite history via Wikipedia are commonly known, when he noticed the number of soldiers listed as killed in Iraq drop from 5,339 to 11.

"That struck me as inaccurate almost right away," he said.

Jarvis229 kept an eye on the page as an anonymous visitor proceeded to make a number of additional changes and "corrections", altering many of the descriptions of Bush's abilities and activities as president to more flattering terms, and expunging many of the more catastrophic gaffes.

"It was a little sad to watch," Jarvis229 said. "Suddenly a line appeared that read, and I quote, 'President George W. Bush who is a uniter not a divider spent his whole presidency trying hard to work together with the Democrat [sic] party, but they were real stubborn and counterproduction [sic]'. You leave a line like that in, and how much credibility do you think Wikipedia would have left?"

Other phrases and terms characteristic of the president began to appear throughout the text, Jarvis229 said, including references to "the Google", "the rubbles" (of Trent Lott's house), the phrase "families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream" and a cryptic reference to the potential mental losses of madmen. Most mentions of President Bush's name were adorned with linguistic curiosities such as "bestest", "superest", and "presidentialest".

"The classic Bush catchphrase 'stay the course' was, all of a sudden, nowhere to be found," Jarvis 229 said.

"The visitor also attempted to change the $3 trillion added to the national debt during President Bush's tenure from a negative to a positive – that is, to suggest the US had accrued a $3 trillion surplus instead. Nice try, right?"

According to Jarvis 229, a trace on the IP address of the anonymous visitor resolved to the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the location of the White House.

"Not that a trace was necessary," he said. "Only one person on the planet could be this incompetent and self-aggrandizing at the same time."

When President Bush observed that his self-serving cosmetic improvements weren't staying on the page, Jarvis229 said, he apparently tried to use Wikipedia as a kind of time machine to alter flawed and irrevocable policy decisions.

"The visitor – President Bush – clicked the 'revert' button repeatedly, almost hysterically," Jarvis 229 said, "particularly in reference to the war in Iraq, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Plamegate, the NSA spy scandal, the Terry Schiavo intervention, the non-response to the Al Qaeda threat pre-9/11, the slow response to Hurricane Katrina, and the neutering of White House First Dog Barney. I think he thought he could actually roll back history."

An aide to President Bush, who asked not to be identified, said the president had admitted trying to alter the Wikipedia entry – in fact, he had asked the aide for help in getting connected to "the Internets", the aide said – but said President Bush "wasn't trying to put lipstick on the pig."

"President Bush only wanted to correct a few false impressions among some people that his presidency wasn't as big a success as President Bush thinks people should think it was," the aide said.

The aide said that in light of the Wikipedia fiasco President Bush had given up on computers and would instead focus on polishing his legacy in the traditional fashion, by means of a vast, adulatory, seldom-visited presidential library.

"Assuming, that is, there are any Republican donors left who don't have a problem throwing good money after bad," the aide said.

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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