Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Taylor/Cox Tempest

Even when the Fletcher Taylor incident initially happened, the Cox campaign was, out of respect for the family, silent. Clearly, in my opinion, what happened with Fletcher is a tragedy that should not in any way be exploited for political gain- by either candidate.

In terms of Taylor's allegations today, we don't know who edited the bio yet. The Cox folks say they are investigating, and I am confident they will and that they will take appropriate action.

What we do know for certain is who called the press about it: the Taylor campaign through Senator Robert Brown. I suspect before they made this the press story of the day, very few people were checking up on Mark on Wikipedia. Now they are, though, and Fletcher Taylor is news again simply because the Taylor folks called the press and made these allegations. If the Taylor campaign had not done that, we would not be discussing Fletcher now. The Taylor campaign made the press call, why? Because they thought it was politically expedient to do so. Period.

This situation does raise more questions than answers.

Also, I am NOT an IT expert. I can barely manage the HTML for this blog. But doesn't this situation raise a lot of questions? For example, while it is possible to trace an IP address to a computer, it is not possible to know who was using the computer, and if it is part of a network, does that not create additional challenges?

I went to the Wikipedia site and found the history of changes to the Taylor page interesting. It looks like it has been altered more than once, and on the subject of Fletcher, on April 12th and April 25th. Seems like the Taylor campaign very quickly became aware of these changes.

Here's the track of the changes:

This was the change on April 12th

Taylor is married to his third wife, the former Sacha Wilbanks of [[Lavonia, Georgia]]. Taylor has one adult son, Fletcher, by his first marriage to Robin Taylor. Fletcher Taylor was recently involved in a fatal automobile accident while under the influence of alcohol. He is a member of the Porterfield [[United Methodist Church]] in Albany.
Taylor is married to his third wife, the former Sacha Wilbanks of [[Lavonia, Georgia]]. Taylor has one adult son, Fletcher, by his first marriage to Robin Taylor. He is a member of the Porterfield [[United Methodist Church]] in Albany.

This was the change on April 25th (today)

On [[August 19]], 2005, Taylor's son Fletcher was involved in a car crash in [[Charleston, South Carolina]]. Fletcher's passenger died as a result of the accident, and Fletcher was later charged with felony DUI. It was speculated at the time that the incident would significantly impact Taylor's campaign, but it has not become a major issue thus far.
On [[August 19]], 2005, Taylor's son Fletcher was involved in a car crash in [[Charleston, South Carolina]]. Fletcher's passenger died as a result of the accident, and Fletcher was later charged with felony DUI.

Of course, those of you who are familiar with Wikipedia know that the service allows users to log in and edit information on the site with the hope that the information they provide will become more complete and more accurate. Sometimes vandals have posted inaccurate information, and that has been a problem. That is not the allegation in this case. This information added was accurate.


Amelia said...

This is directly from the newest AP story.

"Revisions to the lieutenant governor's profile on Wikipedia, a popular online encyclopedia, can be traced to an Internet address registered to Brilliant, the Taylor camp said.

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, confirmed late Tuesday that the edit to Taylor's biography traced back to the Cox campaign. But he said he had no way of knowing who made the change.

Wales said there were no plans to remove the reference to Taylor's son from the site because it met a standard for newsworthiness. But he said Wikipedia tries to avoid information posted by a candidate's opponent.

"It's not generally considered in good taste," he said.

Wikipedia has been under fire recently for allowing online contributors to post inaccurate information on its site. The most prominent case involved an entry on John Seigenthaler Sr., a prominent journalist whom a Wikipedia entry linked to the assassinations of John and Robert F. Kennedy. The man who posted the false information later said he was playing a joke.

Almost any Wikipedia reader may edit any of the site's million-plus listings. That has made it an increasingly popular cyberspace attack tool. Political partisans have used the site to smear the credentials of a rival and to polish the resume of a boss. The problem became so widespread that Wikipedia staff have set up alerts that notify them when Capitol Hill staffers are detected rewriting online profiles."

Amelia said...

That was pulled from the other thread posted by 'kimberly'.

Also, I do rememeber Purdue saying that the Taylor family was in their prayers while Cox said "no comment". This is an official statement to the press. I thought that was rude.

HallCountyDem said...

When the chief architect of Cathy's campaign tries to hide behind an anonmous identity while publically running a campaign of ethics something is seriously wrong.

Ginni Turner said...

Even though the information is true, it's still pretty damn scummy if you ask me. The fact that it was traced back to a computer registered under "Brilliant" just means that he is trying to put out information on a family tragedy. Why on earth would you bring up something like that? This is meant to be hurtful to the Taylor family. Cox would be smart if she lets him go.

Button Gwinnett said...

There's just no room for something like this in campaigns. And I sincerely feel for any innocent persosn who are affected by this. But I would heed Amy's caution to at least let the dust settle on this. Just because you can trace an IP doesn't mean you've found the user.

I would also remind some folks that not too long ago there was a fire at the Taylor campaign headquarters. A few Taylorites jumped to conclusions about who did it and why. And they all had egg on their faces when they found out it was an inside job. At any rate, this whole week has been disappointing to me. Not least of which has been the nasty and mean spirited tone of Rick Dent's blog this week.

And I'm also disappointed for us, because we're making the Republicans jobs that much easier.

Button Gwinnett said...

Has anyone else noticed something suspicious on the Cox campaign site? There's a comment under the Gwinnett Republican poll credited to "Peter Jackson." It could be a coincidence, but Peter Jackson happens to be th name of a Cox spokesperson. And a rather odd comment about Morton Brilliant being a "yankee" is credited to a Peter Jackson. Is something fishy going on here?


jo said...

Amy, You stating that Taylor told Brown to call the media is pure speculation. You have no proof of that. Just more denial of Cathy's shady ass tactics.

Amy Morton said...

Button: I did notice the odd posts under the Gwinnett story and thought that someone was playing tricks and that the posts were just not screened.

Jo: Robert Brown, who is a great senator with a fine history of service to Middle Georgia, is Taylor's point person in Macon. How do you think he learned about the allegations? The AP story simply attributes the complaint to the "Taylor Camp." If Taylor surrogates are calling the press without the blessing of the campaign, then they have bigger problems than someone altering an internet bio.

This would not be a story if Taylor did not want it to be a story. Period.

No, whether or not it is the truth is not justification for altering the bio, but, again, tracing an ISP does not implicate a particular person.

Hall: I'll bet that the whole network at the Cox campaign is registered to Morton. Has no one else ever used one of your computers, with or without permission?

Thanks for posting the story msatl_dem.

Do any of you think that it was in the best interest of Fletcher Taylor for Mark to make this a story?

politically blonde said...

It is if Mark wants to deflate the story. Wow this craziness by the Taylor campaign would make even Billy McKinney proud.

Amy Morton said...

Politically: Are you suggesting that something new is going to break in the Fletcher Taylor story, and so Mark did this as a strategy to deflect? If so, interesting theory. I hadn't thought of that.

But I do agree with all who have said that this conversation is not what this campaign is about. It only helps Sonny.

politically blonde said...

I think the story was going to be stuck to him period, so he attacks a mother figure instead, ultimate deflection...but we'll see. I've been working around the capitol a short time, but long enough to know something smells like crap when I see it. This one's a stinker.

Amelia said...

There is definite proof that it was Morton. Keep up with the news. Also, if you remember the fire incident, it was not the campaign manager trying to sabatoge another campaign. Also, that staffer was released. This is scummy dirty politics.

Ginni Turner said...

Like I said before. Playing on a family tragedy is so wrong. He is trying to win votes by putting that on the bio. If Cathy would like to remain a respectable candidate, she will fire him.

Britt Andrews said...

This keeps getting worse. This is taken directly from Insider Advantage....

"Working to ratchet-up the issue a notch, Dent fired off a new e-mail to reporters this morning saying he had traced "attacks" on two other Wikipedia entries to Brilliant, citing changes to the biographies of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Dino Rossi, a former candidate for governor of Washington state. Sanford and Rossi have nothing in common except "they all are or have been opposed by campaigns that employ or once employed ... Brilliant," Dent said.

Wikipedia is a free-content encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers. The Taylor campaign said it traced to Brilliant two items added to the Taylor biography last November.

The first read: ““The primary campaign has so far been a bumpy road for the Lt. Governor. Public polling shows him trailing Cox by double digits in the primary, and running far behind Perdue in the general election. Two-thirds of the Georgia House Democrats have endorsed Cox over Taylor, and she is raising more money than he. His campaign was also rocked by news that his son was involved in a DUI that left one man dead. Finally, his gubernatorial campaign is hampered by persistent speculation that he may run for reelection instead.”


Button Gwinnett said...

MsAtl and Kimberly, are you simply worried about Taylor winning the primary? Or do you care anything about winning in Nov. too?

Trolling around the blogosphere (much like the Taylor campaign exploiting this) isn't helping Fletcher Taylor or anyone else involved. There are real people involved in this who are probably still suffering from the stigma and the trauma of the incident. Yet, some folks act like they're wetting their tweeds with delight over this. If winning the primary is that important to you, I will remind you that the general election is the most important battle in this war.

You two have made up your minds already. And that's fine with me. But please don't act like that's not been the case for quite some time. And please do remember that real campaigns are about issues. And they are about hashing out ideas that will best serve the public's needs. I hope both campaigns will just get on with it.

Amelia said...

If she is about the issues, why is her chief strategist trolling around in the middle of the night stirring up trouble?

I am a Georgia native. I love my home state passionatly! It tears me apart that it is being run by crooks (Purdue) and that a possible next leader is just as dirty and wicked (Cox)!

I WAS a Cathy Cox supporter! I did my research. I don't see her as the best candidate for Georgia. "She is a liar, a cheat, and a phony!" to quote a comment on Peach Pundit.

I do not want Cathy Cox for Georgia's next governor if these scumbags are the sort of people that she hires and employs. She is more corrupt than the "good ole boys" she speaks against. These dirty republicans (Morton Brilliant) is exactly who we are fighting against, yet she works with them????

She will NOT supply us with a paper trail for the voting machines because "the printers would cost too much money". BULL!!!! The Diebold machine already has a printing mechanism in the machine! She used state funds to help her in her campaign. She is vague on the issues. She has done nothing to help us. Her whole campaign speech is bashing everyone else. She calls for election reform... Great! Oh wait, her husband is a lobbyist. hmmmm.... I am disgusted by her politics. She is the queen of "going negative" and dirty politics.

I was once fooled like the rest of you. She is not for Georgia, she is for Cathy Cox.

Button Gwinnett said...

Oh yeah, then why did you post just YESTERDAY that you "hadn't made up my mind yet." Did you do all of that research and come to all of those conclusions in less than 24 hours? You've only been waiting for an opportunity. Now who's a liar?

You need to remember something. Taylor can't win this election in Nov. without a united Democratic party - which means a whole boatload of Cox supporters like me. And your behavior isn't doing much to interest me in working for a potential Taylor campaign in the fall.

Amelia said...

I have done my research. Mark Taylor is the better candidate. I'm waiting to decide who to vote for because I do want to beat Purdue in November. HOWEVER, this shit is unacceptable.

Amelia said...

Another thing, MY behavior? Who is the dirty politician?

JennyB said...

Why is this woman being defended for her dirty politics? I don't understand. People seem blinded. Yes, ladies, I would love for us to have a woman governor too. I just don't see her as the right one... just like Schrenko was not to be the first female governor of Georgia. She's dirty too.

Amy Morton said...

Discussion is fine. Disagreement is fine. Profanity is not fine, so please either edit it out of your posts or I will delete.

And, Jen: No two people could have less in common, and I suspect you know that. Here are my questions for you Taylor-ites:

1) Why did Mark leak this story now when he has known about it since November?

2) In this instance, Taylor using his son for poltical gain by leakign the story to beat up on Cathy. Are all of you fine with that? It's ok for him to do that? Me thinks thou doest protest too much.

2) Does Mark Taylor really want to make this election about character? He'd better think hard about that choice.

JennyB said...

I think that if someone starts fighting with you, you should fight back. Why sit back and let someone continuosly beat up on you.

Cyndi Lynn said...

I am very happy to hear that Cox said she will do something about this in her press conference today. Brilliant should be fired. It's been proven, she should now show some positive action by letting go of the sneaky campaign manager.

Ginni Turner said...

Go ahead and make this about character. She talks about the evil lobbyists, but she's married to one. She talks about ending back room manuvering, but her campaign uses the internet in the middle of the night to score cheap points. These are things that Perdue will use against her regardless. It doesn't matter if we talk about them now or not. We need to know what we are buying before the general election starts.

Britt Andrews said...

It's interesting that you removed a comment Amy that had profanity. You let politically blonde post some lovely things the other day. Bias?

Amy Morton said...

I have not removed any of the referenced comments, but the author did and I appreciate that. One of the "deleted comment" notes you see on the list was my own post that had more than one error in it. I couldn't figure out how to edit it once it was posted, so I deleted it and tried again.

And, do you really ,really want someone to start a discussion about character? Please, please, please let this election be about character.

politically blonde said...

Character about MT? He IS one, he doesn't have any. Well, unless you have something he wants, then he might, MIGHT, make a deal with you. Anyone that's ever worked on legislation in the Senate knows that.

Brenda4Taylor said...

I personally know Mr. Taylor and I will vouch for his character any day. He is the one person in politics for the right reason. He listens to everyone. He will meet someone and hear about their sick cousin. 8 months later, he meets this person a second time, and he will ask "how is your cousin?" He is genuinely concerned for each and every Georgian. He is definitely the most progressive candidate and he is the only candidate of whom I believe will be proactive to solve Georgia’s problems.

I love what he has done for this state. HOPE, Peach Care, and he eliminated the state sales tax on groceries to help families. He is proposing health coverage for every child in the state. Also, he is proposing to eliminate the tax on all OTC drugs.

I am a teacher and a former student of mine said that he had tried numerous times to reach the Cox camp to help volunteer or intern. He wants to give to her campaign yet had a hard time getting anyone to talk to him. He is a 4.0 student who has volunteered before. Why would she not be willing to use him? She claims that she is there for us. She is a very hard person to reach. I have tried to contact her and have had no response.

If this is what it will be like to have her as a governor, no thank you!

Cyndi Lynn said...

Why do you say he has no character? I'm not under that impression at all.

Cyndi Lynn said...

Do we know for sure that it was Taylor who "leaked" this information. From what I read, Senator Robert Brown came upon this and became upset with these campaigning tactics.

SarahFz124 said...

I don't think it matters why the Taylor campaign didn't release this until now. THe real question is, why did he do this?

politically blonde said...

congrats amy, looks like you've drawn most of the taylor staff that isn't busy reading Wiki to your site instead of campaigning.

Kidding, but was trying to make a point none the less. Love the defensive tactics...bring it.

jo said...

The real question is why did she do this, not he. Cox not knowing what her campaign does is as stupid as Ralph Reed saying he didn't know what commercials Skandilakis (sp?) was making. I don't want a Governor that I can compare to Ralph Reed, and now I can't say that about Cathy Cox or Sonny Perdue. Vote Mark Taylor!!

ohyurkidding said...

He just resigned

politically blonde said...

taylorites burn crap and cox's manager posts it...too much.

Taylor can stop making this race a circus anyday now if he wants to, something tells me he doesn't.

Everything up to now - the using 1mil of his family's money to releasing this now immediately after the polls show he's STILL lagging behind after a huge media buy - show one thing. A guy who's DESPARATE to hold onto power he can't have, and you want to compare this to an internet posting by a campaign manager?


jo said...

How can you say Taylor is making this a circus. Cox bought the tent, hired the actors and put on the show. Taylor has shown he will stand up for his family and he will stand up against unethical bs. Don't like it, then just continue to defend the Cox/Reed team.

Amy Morton said...

Jo, if you think that a staffer altering an internet bio (with factual but ought to have been off limits info)is comparable to Reed, you need to do some reading on Reed. That's just nuts, and I suspect you know that.

You're ready to write off a candidate for bio thing, yet, I have yet to hear you-or Taylor or any Taylor supporter-condemn Dent for what he wrote on the Taylor website: mocking untruths about Cox. Apparently, your rules are for one side only.

Cyndi Lynn said...

I would call myself a taylor supporter and Dent's blog post did make me a little uneasy. From what I hear through the grapevine, they weren't so happy with his actions either.