Altered States

The Links to Nowhere

Tracking down edited references to the “Bridge to Nowhere” on the Web.


Sometimes timing is everything. Last week I wrote about the mysterious relocation of a pro-Barack Obama press release on Gov. Sarah Palin’s Web site. (It’s still there, just harder to find.) This week it was the Democrats’ turn to bury a pro-Palin passage.

Palin’s claim that she said, “Thanks, but no thanks” to Congress for the now infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” has been exposed as a lie. But there was a time when Democrats viewed her position more favorably. In the last few days, an anti-Ted Stevens site, funded by Alaska Democrats, deleted a Web page noting Palin’s view that Alaska “had higher priorities” than the Bridge to Nowhere. Like Palin’s praise for Obama, the page still exists—it’s just harder to find:

Another bit of interesting Palin editing: After she was announced as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, the right-wing Eagle Forum Alaska deleted Palin’s pro-life answers to a gubernatorial questionnaire (see below). You can run, but you can’t hide:

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign continues to edit its hyperactive Web site, which famously doubles as an online social network, allowing readers to make comments and even post entries. Is this such a good idea?

The majority of entries vanish into the system with few comments or readers. The value of these orphaned posts is little, but the risk is high (due to intrepid Googlers). What to make of this anti-Zionism blog, for example? Or, for that matter, the anti-Muslim content in the Palestine section?

Posts are deleted from my.barackobama, but it takes time. A hard-core anti-Clinton rant below stayed online for more than six months until it was deleted a few days ago. (The author continues to blog on the site.) Obama’s site is constantly fending off “smears.” Yet it also seems to attract a few itself.