Bill Weld's campaign for NY Governor just hit a bit of an ethical problem. The Times reports today that the News section of his website weldfornewyork.org has been playing fast and loose with the facts.
"Campaign aides have significantly altered two newspaper articles on his Web site about his bid for governor, removing all negative phrases about him, like "mini-slump" and "dogged by an investigation," and passages about his political problems."
Other phrases removed from the articles? "Getting back on track" and "raising money has been a challenge."
Though it is generally "considered inappropriate for a political campaign to alter news articles or photos and then render them as the true content," that seems to be exactly what the Weld campaign has done. For instance, a Times article with the headline "Campaign May Be Down, But Weld Certainly Isn't" becomes simply "New York Times Article" on Weld's site. And though the story still carries the byline of Patrick Healy, the first three paragraphs, and hundreds of other words, of Mr. Healy's story are nowhere to be found on the version published on Weld's site (to be fair, once the issue was pointed out to the Weld campaign by the Times they did add the phrase "Excerpted Version" to the beginning of the questionable articles).
A spokesman for Weld told the Times that what the campaign was doing was no different from standard publicity practices (think of the critic's quotes on movie posters). Further, the aide said that "every other candidate is doing the same thing," though Times wasn't able to find evidence of any other other candidates engaging in similar activities.
While we can't say we're that surprised by any campaign tactics at this point, this whole thing still leaves a bad taste in our mouth. What about you, do you think what the Weld campaign was doing is OK? Why?