This week in tech fiascos: The Weiner and Palin edition

As the two politicians discover, it's not so easy to manipulate Twitter and Wikipedia for your own benefit

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You gotta believe Weiner is praying for another tsunami right about now -- the real kind, not the media version -- to get people's minds off his Twitter problems.

The second techno-politico fiasco doesn't have a "gate" attached, probably because she's already had a few too many "gates" already: Sarah Palin's surreally inaccurate account of Paul Revere's midnight ride, which got the full YouTube treatment last week.

(In her version, Revere is shouting, ringing bells, and firing his weapon to warn the British that they can't come and take our guns away from us. Stephen Colbert's hilarious attempt to re-create this narrative is worth six minutes of your time.)

But that wasn't enough. Palin supporters then swarmed Wikipedia, attempting to insert the Palin version of the Paul Revere story into the public record. (Because, if it's in Wikipedia, then it must be true, right?) After a furious edit war, the Wikipedians held the Palin forces off, finally freezing the page from further edits.

The Palinites then moved onto the Conservapedia, which contains ideologically predictable articles on global warming, "creation science," and homosexuality. Even they couldn't swallow the Palin version of American history, though at blog time that edit war was still being fought.

As someone smart once said, you are welcome to form your own opinions, but you are not welcome to form your own set of facts.

Both Weinergate and Palin-o-pedia are symptoms of the same malady, I think: the mistaken belief by people in power that they can manipulate technology to their own ends while remaining exempt from the rules.

Here's a news flash for Weiner, Palin, and all the rest: You can't, and you're not. Feel free to retweet that, if you like.

Got more examples of politicians crashing face first into tech? Share them below or email me:

This article, "This week in tech fiascos: The Weiner and Palin edition," was originally published at Track the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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