Patterico's Pontifications

1/23/2010

Ellie Light Post at Hot Air

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:15 pm

I have posted about Ellie Light at Hot Air, here. An excerpt:

Editors all over the country found Light’s message strangely compelling. It was reprinted at The Politico; the Philadelphia Daily News; the San Francisco Examiner; the Washington Times; and a USA Today blog. In addition, the letter has appeared at literally dozens of small-town papers across the country, with names like the Los Banos Enterprise, the North Adams Transcript, and the Danbury News-Times.

Ms. Light always claims to be a local in these letters. Her real estate holdings are apparently prodigious, as she has claimed residences in Philadelphia, PA; Daly City, California; Mansfield, Ohio; Waynesboro, Virginia; Algoma, Wisconsin; Bangor, Maine; and dozens of other places. Who said Obama supporters were all downtrodden?

The latest count: 47 publications in 23 states.

We’ll keep working on this one. Thanks to DRJ and Stashiu for their ongoing help.

24 Responses to “Ellie Light Post at Hot Air”

  1. That certainly shows the groupthink of the newspaper industry. I’ve had a couple letters published in the LA Daily News. Each time, they called me and discussed the letter before publication. But I guess the Ellie Light letters were just too good to check.

    You see this over and over again, like with the John Edwards paternity case: Big Journalisn simply has no desire to investigate sleaze that points back to liberal Democrats.

    Mike W (cda07a)

  2. It always bears repeating that most of the MSM has no shame, scruples or dignity anymore. This letter is just another in a long list of actions that, in a better world, would cause many mea culpas and recriminations. Need we even speculate on whether that will happen?

    Dmac (539341)

  3. We want headers! We want headers! We want headers!

    I know, you’re working on it. This is just so intriguing!

    w3bgrrl (12f86d)

  4. Oh the washington times is in on it?

    imdw (f7b257)

  5. I’ve compiled a master list that I’ve arranged chronologically by date. So far I’ve found (of course with everyone on this site’s help) at least 55 publications who’ve printed the Ellie letter in at least 24 states.

    I can email it to anyone who wants it. Arranging it chronologically might be able to yield some information about timing patterns and naming patterns (“Ellie Light” vs “Ellie Jeanne Light” vs “Ellie J. Light”).

    Callie (dc27b3)

  6. Mike W (among others) is spot on – I’ve sent letters to Editor at the SD UnionTrib, and they always check back to verify I sent it before publishing. This smells of Journolist-type cooperation.

    Frank G (93c229)

  7. Callie, I’d like that list. How can we connect?

    This Georgia girl was particularly offended by her use of “Ellie Jeanne” in the Gainesville, GA paper (Georgia went McCain, btw, but not sure about the Gainesville area). I was like all, “what are you tryin’ tah say, Ellie?” But then they printed it, so there you go. Evidently Ellie isn’t the only one who thinks all southern women go by the first and middle name. Harumph!

    w3bgrrl (12f86d)

  8. Hi w3bgrrl,

    I’m going to try to email the chronological master list to Patterico, and perhaps he’ll be able to put it up or link it here. Otherwise, to give you the list we’d have to share emails, and of course that’s problematic on a public blog. Unless you can think of another way to do it.

    Hope to get it to you in some form soon!

    — Callie

    Callie (dc27b3)

  9. Would someone explain to me why an astroturfer like Ms. Light would use the same freakin’ name, over and over again?

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  10. […] to newspapers or other online media sources as discussed in Patterico’s posts here and here. It will be updated with additions and corrections as we find […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Ellie Light’s Letters (e4ab32)

  11. I’ve added a master list here. If possible, leave links to additional letters in the comments at that post.

    Callie – Can you send it to Patterico.Tips – at – gmail.com (replace “- at -” with @)? I’m trying to do both a state-by-state listing and a chronological listing, but any help you are willing to offer is appreciated.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  12. Eric,

    One plausible explanation: Ellie Light isn’t one person. She’s a group using one name. The letters are duplicates or very similar. If the similarity with the letters was discovered with various names, then collusion would be obvious. As it stands, the evidence left behind suggests it is one person’s work.

    That’s my WAG, anyway.

    w3bgrrl (12f86d)

  13. the Washington Times

    That would be one of the few newspapers, if not the only one, among the bunch that at least can’t be accused of printing a letter sympathetic to the current occupant of the White House merely because they like his politics. Regardless, the list shows far too much solidarity among the various editors throughout the country who are responsible for going through unsolicited letters and then determining which one will be printed or not.

    At least as importantly, how many of those editors made a truly serious (or even semi-serious) attempt to determine if the sender (“Ellie Light”) was real or not?

    I also have to wonder whether it’s easier for a pro-Obama letter to get through the screening process without as much scrutiny because of the prevailing sentiment of the average John-Doe (or Mary Q Public) commentator? I’m referring to the prevailing POV in at least the online letter forums of various newspapers I’ve come across through the months, in which the amount of anti-Obama sentiment outflanks the type of comments of an “Ellie Light.”

    I originally thought much of this was due to my opening a story linked via the drudgereport, and the type of reader that would bring to a web site. But then I noticed a similar prevailing sentiment in the comments posted to forums of a few other online publications (with the caveat that I rarely or never drop by sites like the Huffington Post, Kos or LGF).

    Mark (411533)

  14. I’ve been thinking about the name Ellie Light. I’m doubtful it’s one person. With that, the name chosen is interesting. It’s a positive sort of name, it’s easy, simple, and of course, Light conveys, well, light.

    The selection of the name is important because it conjures up a mental picture of a youngish woman, all-American, earnest, sincere, loves her country, loves her president, etc. It’s one of the nice and friendly sort of names. It makes me think that someone clever and familiar with using good imagery and maybe advertising, etc. may have been involved. Words matter, and depending on the purpose, so do names.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  15. Mark,
    I also have to wonder whether it’s easier for a pro-Obama letter to get through the screening process without as much scrutiny because of the prevailing sentiment of the average John-Doe (or Mary Q Public) commentator?

    Yes.

    Newspapers like to get balance, or what they think is balance, among political letters. So they are happy to get the rare articulate, pro-Obama letter.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  16. Which suggests that articulate letters supporting Obama are few and far between, especially in the small-town markets.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  17. http://www.thegatewaynews.com/news/printer_friendly/4751295

    A new one?: The Gateway News, January 20th, Ohio, Ellie says from Streetsboro again.

    Also, on January 12th, someone on a blog called The Blogmocracy posted the editorial– except they listed “ellie.light@yahoo.com” as the origin, instead of linking to a website.

    http://www.theblogmocracy.com/2010/01/12/chaber-of-commerce-warns-of-double-dip-recession/#comment-237061

    Callie (dc27b3)

  18. Good catch, Callie. The Gateway News appears to be the online home for several small Ohio newspapers, including the Hudson Hub-Times that I already listed. However, the publication dates were different so it probably appeared in two of the area newspapers. I added your link so both are included.

    Also, thanks for the Blogmocracy tip. Patterico is aware of it.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  19. Having the LA Times, you can imagine how biased the letters to the editor are in my local paper.

    I never read them.

    Alta Bob (e8af2b)

  20. Patrick,
    What’s Glenn Grunwald doing these days? If it’s not Mr Grunwald, perhaps it’s a student of his.Maybe someone getting their Bachelor’s of Sock Puppeting (BSP) in Glenn’s school.

    CORWIN (24ee42)

  21. They want to be hidden by using a proxy server 212.24.236.50 that is out of Saudi Arabia or They Stayed at the Shereton near there !! Street is Amir Al Mou’Meneen Jeddah 22234 Saudi Arabia

    Ed (c52392)

  22. Newspapers like to get balance, or what they think is balance, among political letters. So they are happy to get the rare articulate, pro-Obama letter.

    As a former opinion editor/letter selector myself, I can confirm this. Not the Obama part, mind you (I haven’t edited an op-ed page since 2006), but the general pattern.

    Most letters to the editor are really awful and have no business being printed regardless of what opinion is being expressed. A readable one is a godsend when you’re trying to fill the letters space, and one that argues opposite of what everyone else is writing is particularly valuable.

    In my experience, people fed up with the status quo are much more likely to write letters than people who think the current guy is doing an okay job. The few people who do write printable pro-administration letters, regardless of the administration, tend to do so with such frequency that you start limiting them to one letter every two months… and even then, people from the other side will call to complain that your paper is biased in favor of pro-administraton writers.

    So while articulate pro-Bush letters were hard to come by during the last administration (when I was editing), I suspect articulate pro-Obama letters will continue to be rare in this one. It’s just the nature of things.

    Carolinianjeff (1bfdaf)

  23. Carolinianjeff,

    That’s a great point, but this level of saturation is astounding. And the letter is saying that the GOP wants Obama to fail and is a load of birthers… What is it articulating? It’s free of grammar error and easy to read, but it’s not really making an argument for Obama, other than “poor Obama has to deal with those awful Republicans”.

    Still, you make a good point. I’m surprised the democrats in the newspapers never confirmed these letters, but the real culprit is the person who claimed to actually be this citizen all over the place. It’s just another example of why you have to take things with a grain of salt.

    Dustin (b54cdc)


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