Ellie Light: Obama Astroturfer? Or Very, Very, Very Energetic But Independent Letter Writer? With Houses All Over the Nation?
A woman has written the same letter defending Obama to dozens of publications across the country, getting them published in at least 42 newspapers in 18 states, as well as Politico.com, the Washington Times, and USA Today. And the woman, Ellie Light, has claimed residence in many of these states.
Think there might be some phony Astroturfing there?
At the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sabrina Eaton makes a nice catch:
Ellie Light sure gets around.
In recent weeks, Light has published virtually identical “Letters to the Editor” in support of President Barack Obama in more than a dozen newspapers.Every letter claimed a different residence for Light that happened to be in the newspaper’s circulation area.
“It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work, and that a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything,” said a letter from alleged Philadelphian Ellie Light, that was published in the Jan. 19 edition of The Philadelphia Daily News.
A letter from Light in the Jan. 20 edition of the San Francisco Examiner concluded with an identical sentence, but with an address for Light all the way across the country in Daly City, California.
Variations of Light’s letter ran in Ohio’s Mansfield News Journal on Jan. 13, with Light claiming an address in Mansfield; in New Mexico’s Ruidoso News on Jan. 12, claiming an address in Three Rivers; in South Carolina’s The Sun News on Jan. 18, claiming an address in Myrtle Beach; and in the Daily News Leader of Staunton, Virginia on Jan. 15, claiming an address in Waynesboro. Her publications list includes other papers in Ohio, West Virginia, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania and California, all claiming separate addresses.
She has more houses than John McCain!
But there are a few more places her little pro-Obama missive appeared, besides those documented.
Like Ben Smith at Politico.
And the Washington Times.
And a blog at USA Today.
And in addition to the Californian.com link provided in the Plain Dealer story, listing an address in Salinas, CA, there are other California letters with other California addresses.
And in Good Times, listing an address in Santa Cruz, CA.
And in TheUnion.com, listing an address of Grass Valley, CA.
And Connecticut’s stamfordadvocate.com.
A letter was sent to a columnist at the local Daily Breeze here in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.
On an unrelated note, recall that recently, Glenn Greenwald flagged the fact that Obama’s pal (and head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) Cass Sunstein recently wrote this paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing:
Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government).
Who is Ellie Light?
I would like to know.
P.S. If you find other examples, please leave them in comments with a link. Many more updates in the extended entry.
UPDATE: Add the following:
California: The Los Banos Enterprise, listing an address of Gustine, CA.
Maine: In addition to the Maine link above, there is another appearance of the letter in Maine: in the Bangor Daily News, in which Light lists an address of Bangor, Maine.
Maryland: The Baltimore Chronicle.
Massachusetts: The North Adams Transcript, listing an address of Williamstown.
List your additions below.
UPDATE x2: Add these as well:
Georgia: Gainesville Times. (Her address is listed as Gainesville.)
Massachusetts: In addition to the above, there is The Berkshire Eagle.
New Hampshire: It appeared in the Seacoastonline, which appears to be an online version of several New England papers including the Portsmouth Herald, Exeter News Letter, and others. Light’s address was listed as Portsmouth, NH.
Vermont: Bennington Banner.
Wisconsin: In addition to the above, there is the Oshkosh Northwestern (address listed is Oshkosh).
So far I count 35 publications in 16 states as well as the District of Columbia. Light managed to get herself published in media outlets in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
UPDATE x3: redc1c4 adds Spectrum.com in Utah, where Light claims to be from Washington City. That’s 36 publications in 17 states plus D.C.
UPDATE x4: DRJ adds 5 more publications in comments:
Here are a few more:
HudsonHubTimes.com, in which Ellie listed Streetsboro OH as her hometown.
[Duplicate already mentioned in the Plain Dealer article eliminated.]
The Willits News, with Willits CA as the hometown.
CDAPress.com of Coeur d’Alene ID, with Ellie listing a hometown of Post Falls.
From Ohio, the Chillicothe Gazette, with Chillicothe OH as the hometown.
And my current favorite so far, The Bangkok Post — the “World’s Window to Thailand.” No hometown provided.
Idaho is thus included as a new state, bringing the running total to 41 publications in 18 states plus D.C.
UPDATE x4: redc1c4 adds an Annapolis, Maryland publication. Light lists her city of residence as Annapolis. That’s 42 publications in 18 states plus D.C.