The Commissar Vanishes

Free Government Information, which has been counting down the “days to government information liberation” – i.e. the inauguration – notes a couple of articles on ways the current administration is altering history. No, not by making a global mess of things, but by rewriting and backdating websites to change the record.  See “Airbrushing History, American Style” from researchers at the Cline Center on Democracy at the University of Illinois, and this New York Times story about it.

A hero of the day is Brewster Kahle, whose Internet Archive stored the original pages. Without his free, non-commercial effort to preserve the record we would have no way of knowing this airbrushing had occurred.

It’s worth visiting the Newseum for a little comparative political history.  They have an exhibit on how Stalin altered the historical record by airbrushing people out of photographs. Or check out the book, The Commissar Vanishes, by David King.


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