Timothy Hill, the press secretary of first district Congressman David Davis and brother of Tennessee Representative Matthew Hill, is facing criticism. Just days ago, he admitted to using a congressional office computer to edit the Wikipedia sites of both his boss and brother, both republicans, removing what he called inaccurate and unflattering information. The Tennessee Democratic Party is now questioning Timothy Hill’s actions and a U.S. House Committee is reviewing the incident, which Timothy Hill calls a mistake.
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia written by many of its readers. According to Wikipedia’s administrators thousands of changes are made to its content every hour. However, not all changes are welcome. Wikipedia classifies Hill’s efforts as vandalism.
Administrators believe the press secretary deleted an entire entry about David Davis and Matthew Hill’s ties to former King Pharmaceutical’s CEO John Gregory back in June. Wikipedia has since restored both entries and has issued Timothy Hill a warning, saying his edits did not appear to be constructive.
Hill’s boss has asked him not to comment any further about this situation, but Davis’ Chief of Staff Brenda Otterson tells us the issue is being addressed at the federal level.
"We’ve taken it up with the committee, an internal committee of the house, that’s going to review it to see if they think there’s any issues there that need to be dealt with," Otterson said.
Hill’s brother doesn’t think there are any issues. In fact, he can’t understand what all the fuss is about.
"I just have to admit that i was kind of like, ‘what’s the big deal,’" Matthew Hill said. "As i understand it, Wikipedia is a website that invites people on their homepage to edit it."
That’s just part of Matthew Hill’s problem with the situation. The state representative says overall, Wikipedia can’t be trusted. Hill tells us the entries that were deleted were partly attributed to the Tennessee Democratic Party. For example, one, now restored on his page, describes a lobbying effort in 1999. Back then, Hill was not yet a legislator.
"People need to consider the source of where their supposed information is coming from," Hill said. "The bottom line is Wikipedia is just full of lies."
A Wikipedia spokesperson admits the website is not an authoritative source by any means. However, she says while Wikipedia can’t guarantee an article is 100% factual all the time, the website is improving its accuracy.
In the meantime, the Tennessee Democratic Party is raising questions about Timothy Hill’s actions. "This calls into question the judgment of any congressional staff member who will spend their time editing factually cited articles because it may be politically damaging," TDP Spokesperson Wade Munday said. "It is in poor judgment and is a disservice to their constituents."