Utah Mayor Used Fake Name to Write Positive News Stories About His City
Disguising himself with an alias, the mayor of Utah's second-largest city has been writing upbeat freelance articles about his town for area news outlets because he claimed the media spent too much time on crime coverage.
He unapologetically revealed himself this week, insisting the balance was needed.
"I thought about all the people just reading about crime in our city and nothing better," West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder said Friday. "I'm trying to stand up for us because we do get the short end of the stick _ negative stories."
Winder had been writing under the name Richard Burwash, an alias he actually swiped from a real man _ a one-time professional tennis player from California _ that he found on the Internet.
He said getting stories published by the Deseret News, KSL-TV's website and a community weekly was as easy as setting up a Gmail account and Facebook page. He communicated with editors by email and phone, never showing his face.
As an unpaid writer for several months earlier this year, the so-called Burwash even quoted himself as mayor in some stories. In one published piece, he wrote about the opening of a Buddhist Temple in his Salt Lake City suburb, quoting himself as saying, "We applaud any time a group builds a place to celebrate peace and to encourage people to live better lives."