Brad Sherman is engaged in a political battle to the death with fellow Congressman Howard Berman. But over the last month, he's also been waging an epic struggle against some anonymous guy on Wikipedia.
On Sept. 15, Mr. Anonymous changed Sherman's religion from Jewish to Scientologist. The new version also claimed that Sherman and his wife had left Valley Beth Shalom, their synagogue in Encino.
That stayed up for quite a while. On Sept. 21, the same editor described Sherman as “an American politician who prefers the company of men to women.”
That stirred the Wikipedia community to action.
Somebody deleted that within a few hours, and changed Sherman's religion back to Jewish. It went back and forth like that for a few days. Ben Fishel, Sherman's spokesman, jumped in to clarify that though Sherman had indeed married his wife in a conservative synagogue, he was also a big supporter of LGBT equality.
Mr. Anonymous laid low for a few days, before returning with this line: “Sherman was on staff at one of the nation's big four CPA firms when he finally received inpatient treatment for persistent alcoholism, successfully achieving sobriety and inspiring many.”
For some reason, that stayed up. So Mr. Anonymous went back to religion, amending the page to read that Sherman “was a member of the Jewish faith before converting to Scientology.”
That got deleted, but the line about being a recovering alcoholic is still up there.
“It's ridiculous,” said Parke Skelton, Sherman's campaign manager, who thought the timing of the edits was suspicious. “Nothing has ever been changed on Brad Sherman's Wikipedia page until he announced in the 30th District.”
So is some Berman operative having fun at Sherman's expense? Who knows. But if the IP address means anything, then Mr. Anonymous is in Narberth, Penn. So the mystery deepens. Why would they care about Berman vs. Sherman in Pennsylvania?