Patterico's Pontifications

1/24/2010

Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican, Pro-Obama Letter; UPDATED: Two More Pairings Found; UPDATED AGAIN: Four Pairings Total, and One Is a Triplet!; UPDATED AGAIN with Countless Other Examples

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:06 pm

Now that people are paying attention, the Astroturfers are coming out of the woodwork:

Jan Chen of Seattle writes to the Northwest Asian Weekly (a small Asian paper serving the Seattle area):

As one listens to the Republican anger over health care reform, one can imagine an anti-government protester cheerfully paying premiums on insurance policies that drop you after you make a claim, or happily sauntering out of an emergency room that denied them treatment because of a coverage problem. One can imagine a town hall sign-waver enthusiastically forking over most of their pay to bill collectors after suffering a catastrophic injury, thinking, “Wow, the free market system is great.”

Meanwhile, Gloria Elle writes to the Baltimore Chronicle — on the same page as Mark Spivey and Ellie Light:

As one listens to the Republican anger over health care reform, one can imagine an anti-government protester cheerfully paying premiums on insurance policies that cancel you for making a claim, or happily sauntering out of an emergency room that denied them treatment because of a coverage problem. One can imagine a town-hall sign-waver enthusiastically forking over most of their pay to bill collectors after suffering a catastrophic injury, thinking, “Wow, the free market system is great.”

Jan Chen and Gloria Elle certainly have a similar writing style, don’t they?

To the word. Thanks to liberrocky on Twitter for the find.

[UPDATE: Greg McCoy e-mails to note that Cherry Jimenez of Bloomington had this exact same verbiage -- and much more -- in an essay at the Indiana Daily Student.]

Freepers discovered another one: Janet Leigh. (Cute.) This one is explained here. [UPDATE: To make it clear and explicit, the link shows that the very same pro-Obama letter was written by Janet Leigh to NewburgGraphic.com, and by Earnest Gardner to the Memphis Flyer. She also finds Janet Leigh next to Mark Spivey in the Santa Barbara Independent.]

The story is exploding. There is Astroturf everywhere.

Go find some yourself. Just take phrases from suspicious-looking letters and put the phrases into Google and see what you find. Then report back here.

UPDATE: Liberrocky found another one: Jen Park and Lars Deerman writing the same letter to different publications. Lars Deerman writes to the Deccan Herald:

I hear the Obama Administration talk of getting a health bill passed by compromise.

Maybe the so-called public option can be used as a bargaining chip to bring the Republicans to the table.

So what do the Republicans say? That Obama is not a U.S. citizen, and has no right to be President, that his plans are Socialist and contain death panels.They hope the Obama Presidency fails.

I cannot think of a single nice thing that a Republican Congress member has ever said about Obama or his plans. Not one. Can you? Where does Obama get the idea that Republicans want to work with him? They clearly don’t want to.

Lars Deerman

And Jen Park writes at the Baltimore Chronicle:

I hear the Obama Administration talk of getting a health bill passed by compromise. Maybe the so-called public option can be used as a bargaining chip to bring The Republicans to the table. So what do the Republicans say? That Obama is not a U.S. citizen, and has no right to be President, that his plans are socialist and contain death panels, and that they hope the Obama Presidency fails. I cannot think of a single nice thing that a Republican congressmember has ever said about Obama or his plans. Not a one. Can you? Where does Obama get the idea that Republicans want to work with him? They clearly don’t want to.

This is the very same Baltimore Chronicle page with letters from Ellie Light and Mark Spivey.

Oh — and there’s also one from Lars Deerman.

Can we get a Big Media investigation yet? Anyone want to tell the Baltimore Chronicle that its “representative letters” page is filled with garbage from Astroturfers?

UPDATE x2: Another pairing: Jen Park and John F. Stott.

Jen Park writes in The Source Weekly:

So let’s get this straight. Obama’s predecessor took America to war under false pretense, citing “weapons of mass destruction” that everyone agrees did not exist, and today’s Republicans don’t want Obama addressing children because of “indoctrination?”

Our previous president preached war against Iraq to anyone who would listen, children, adults, young and old, making us partners in his blunder, and the Republicans dare talk of keeping their children safe from Obama’s ideas? What are Obama’s ideas? That the government can be an active partner in change, rather than a nuisance? And this notion is suppose to be bad?

The Republican Party seems determined to be “against” everything Democratic.

[UPDATE: A couple of readers expressed concern that the "Source Weekly" link is setting off anti-virus programs. If you want to go to the link, be warned that it may have malware. Here it is.]

And at our favorite Baltimore Chronicle letters page, John F. Stott writes:

So let’s get this straight. Obama’s predecessor took America to war under false pretense, citing “weapons of mass destruction” that everyone agrees did not exist, and today’s Republicans don’t want Obama addressing children because of “indoctrination?” Our previous president preached war against Iraq to anyone who would listen, children, adults, young and old, making us partners in his blunder, and the Republicans dare talk of keeping their children safe from Obama’s ideas? What are Obama’s ideas? That the government can be an active partner in change, rather than a nuisance. And this notion is suppose to be bad? The Republican Party seems determined to be “against” everything Democratic.

Thanks to Mitchell B.

UPDATE x3: wtfci on Twitter writes:

John Stott, Gloria Elle, and Mark Spivey all have #astroturf published by Buzzflash. Mark Karlin & Associates runs Buzzflash.

(I added the links.)

Mark Karlin & Associates is a Chicago-based public relations firm specializing in “Media Relations,” “Issues Management,” “Strategic Positioning,” “Public Interest PR” and “Advocacy Campaigns.”

For what it’s worth.

UPDATE x4: And still more, courtesy of astute reader James O:

First, we have a letter from Gordon Adams in Connecticut’s Danbury News-Times, [cached version], published on 11/20/2009.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives made history by passing H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

After nearly a century of false starts, this was the first time a chamber of Congress has ever passed comprehensive health insurance reform. This is a historic accomplishment.

Representatives who voted for this bill deserve thanks for resisting tremendous pressure from the insurance industry lobbyists and standing up for their constituents.

Those who did not vote for the bill have one last opportunity to reconsider and support reform in the upcoming final House vote — and they should do so.

A vote for this bill was a vote to provide secure and stable coverage for Americans with insurance, expand coverage for those who do not have insurance, lower costs for families and businesses, and begin to reduce the deficit.

Adams lists a home town of Newton, CT.

An identical letter appears in Texas’s Baytown Sun, published on 11/10/2009. Author Joe Rodriguez lists a residence of La Porte, TX.

The final three paragraphs of this letter are identical to one published in the Austin-American Statesman by one Robert Stephenson of Austin.

See this search for many, many, many more. [UPDATE: Including Ron Avila in the San Francisco Chronicle; Mary Acosta of Baldwin Park in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune [cached version]; Nancy Speed of Tulsa in the Tulsa World; Sheila Price of Valencia in the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, and Clarence Ndangam of Clarks Summit, PA in The Citizen’s Voice. Interestingly, Mr. Ndangam’s unusual name allows us to learn that such a person really exists, as an Intelius search (no link) reveals.] [UPDATE: Still more: Vernetta Mason in the Suffolk News-Herald; Greg Mitchell of Fort Mitchell, OH in the Cincinnati Enquirer; Ermelinda Giurato of Elk Grove Village, Illinois in Chicago's Daily Herald; J. Scott Piper of Cape Coral, Florida in the Cape Coral Daily Breeze; Robert Vander Molen of Camdenton, Missouri in Missouri's Lake News Online -- and finally, Terri Reese of Vista, CA in the North County Times. (Calling Bradley J. Fikes!)]

If this isn’t an Organizing for America deal, I’ll eat my hat. [Probably something very similar to this Organizing for American letter-writing campaign. H/t: Reader Michele and the blog Because No One Asked.]

[UPDATE: I don't think I should have to eat my hat. Michele at Because No One Asked figured this one out, and it's Astroturfing. But it's not Organizing for America, it's The Democratic Party. Nice job, Michele! This may be worth a separate post. And I will ask Bradley J. Fikes to ask his editors if they're embarrassed at reprinting this talking points nonsense.]

Also, It’s Only Words investigates a letter from a Bambi Lin Litchman in Tacoma, to the Seattle Times — and notices that it is identical to one from a Bambi Lin Litchman in Honolulu, to the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

UPDATE x5: Ellie Light speaks further to the Cleveland Plain Dealer — but does not explain why she lied about where she lives.

210 Responses to “Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican, Pro-Obama Letter; UPDATED: Two More Pairings Found; UPDATED AGAIN: Four Pairings Total, and One Is a Triplet!; UPDATED AGAIN with Countless Other Examples”

  1. [...] UPDATE x2: Another example: this time identical pro-Obama letters allegedly written by two completely different people. Details here. [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Who is Mark Spivey? Another Obama Astroturfer; UPDATED With Still More Astroturfing (e4ab32)

  2. This is what Axelrod and Plouffe are good at, not fixing the economy.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. Definitely an organized effort now unraveling. Keep up the good work.

    JWF (970765)

  4. Because Asian Americans are always compaining about free markets.

    /s

    JCred (4cf8da)

  5. Because Asian Americans are always compaining about free markets.

    /s

    JCred (4cf8da)

  6. LMAO, Your last post got posted over at DU, and was *inflammatory, and baiting*, so it was locked.
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=433&topic_id=149312&mesg_id=149312

    sybilll (5339e1)

  7. As one listens to the Republican anger over health care reform, one can imagine an anti-government protester cheerfully paying premiums on insurance policies that cancel you for making a claim, or happily sauntering out of an emergency room that denied them treatment because of a coverage problem. One can imagine a town-hall sign-waver enthusiastically forking over most of their pay to bill collectors after suffering a catastrophic injury, thinking, “Wow, the free market system is great.”

    Funny, I was just thinking that I might not be alive today had it not been for a basically market driven health care system.

    As opposed a great system like they got in Cuba, or something.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  8. LMAO, the last story got linked over at DU, and was *inflammatory & baiting*, so it was locked.
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=433&topic_id=149312&mesg_id=149312

    What’s good for the goose?

    sybilll (5339e1)

  9. [...] Patterico is digging out more: “The story is exploding. There is Astroturf everywhere.” Possibly related posts: [...]

    UPDATED: Connecting the Ellie Light Dots « The Rhetorican (677e60)

  10. Sorry about the dupe. Been getting bounced out of here all day.

    sybilll (5339e1)

  11. I cannot think of a single nice thing that a Republican congressmember has ever said about Obama or his plans. Not a one. Can you? Where does Obama get the idea that Republicans want to work with him? They clearly don’t want to.

    Good, I don’t want ‘em to either.

    Just wish more of ‘em would get the hint.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  12. I’m not going to be surprised when this traces back to stimulus funds or the SEIU.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  13. Obama’s predecessor took America to war under false pretense, citing “weapons of mass destruction” that everyone agrees did not exist,

    Huh. Speak for yourself, doofus. Since there were hundreds of WMDs recovered in a space of only two years, I think we are going to have to disagree on that one.

    But “speaking for somebody else” is the whole point of the exercise, isn’t it?

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  14. #11 Kevin Murphy:

    I’m not going to be surprised when this traces back to stimulus funds or the SEIU.

    I guess I wouldn’t be as well.

    But I might get more bitter.

    And clingy.

    ;)

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  15. the contempt this shows for free speech is really sad because of it’s so dilutive of real people and also the cynicism this sort of desperate tactic breeds is a lot inimical to the kind of discourse our little country’s governance depends so much on.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  16. The adolescent snickering tone is SO transparent. These are not adults.

    Sissy Willis (33a2d0)

  17. I am betting that Ellie is Ellen Moran. Everything fits her rolodex, including Indonesia/Thailand.

    Tom (cc8676)

  18. Well now we know why they were so quick to label the tea parties as “astroturf”, they apparently know the term and methods very well. What is it with liberals always accusing others of the sins they have already committed?

    ray (f45cc3)

  19. It’s amazing to me that that Baltimore Chronicle page is FILLED with like 6 of these bogus letters.

    CCC (679517)

  20. Shows you what it takes to get published in newspapers these days….

    Techie (43d092)

  21. Sorry about the double post. Connect is weird here.

    Flurmf (d480f9)

  22. This is a huge scandal. Or at least it should be. But it won’t be. Any other president, Democrat or Republican, who had this kind of thing going on, even if they had no idea about it, would have some work to do finding some answers and explanations. Obama will get a pass.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  23. It appears that there is no method of communication that the Democrats have not attempted to hijack or spoof or control. The Republicans need to get much much better at getting their own beliefs out without resorting to the underhanded and oftentimes illegal practices of the liberals or they will be left behind in the modern world of sound bites and limited attention spans. The state run media will ignore the “regressives” posting bogus support messages so we must expose them ourselves!

    Paganpink (a70129)

  24. Ha! And if you think these letters were actually [e]mailed to the paper, I have this bridge . . .

    The Dread Pirate Neck Beard (4054ee)

  25. Saudi Arabia, huh.

    Now THAT makes sense.

    AM (a656ea)

  26. The group “J Street” had a function on their site (last year?, no longer there) that allowed people to email a form letter to newspapers using a zip code search. Not sure if I am describing this well. It allowed the user to edit the form letter if desired or to send pre-formatted astro-turf copy to newspapers via zip code – enter zip code and select newspapers retrieved in the search and send the pre-written letter with name and city via their website email — or something along those lines. I just remember thinking it was the ultimate in astroturfing.

    I’m not saying these letters were generated by the JStreet site, but perchance there are other lefty sites that had this automatic letter writing function which enabled a mass of the same letter to be delivered to papers to publish?

    Topsecretk9 (ab69ad)

  27. I was wondering how I work in Baltimore and had never heard of the Baltimore Chronicle. I did some research and discovered its an online only, not for profit, progressive hack paper. I am pretty sure they know these letters are official communications from the White House.

    STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP & PURPOSE: The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel is wholly owned and controlled by Baltimore News Network, Inc., a 501(c)(c) nonprofit organization. Its purpose is to bring communities, organizations, and individuals together in ways that promote understanding and participation, and encourage initiative and freedom of expression. It is devoted to the proposition that people deserve better than they usually get. Unless otherwise indicated, information is gathered or voluntarily submitted from local sources. Criticism, contributions, and comments welcome. The opinions expressed by our contributors are their own.

    IN 1989, Baltimore News Network, Inc. (BNN), a nonprofit corporation, was established by a group of concerned citizens who believe that the mainstream media offer a narrow perspective of the news. Too frequently these news sources ignore or trivialize progressive or alternative viewpoints. BNN’s goals include fostering public information exchange through various means, such as book and film discussion groups, informal dinners offering a chance to meet important leaders, and for nearly a decade operating BNN Books (at 10 West 25th Street) as an outlet for information until its building was torn down to make way for a CVS.
    As of July 16, 2003, Baltimore News Network, Inc. acquired the 31-year-old Baltimore Chronicle from its founder and publisher, Larry Krause, and his wife, Alice Cherbonnier, its managing editor.
    Baltimore News Network, Inc. is supported by members in various financial categories, and actively seeks grant monies to underwrite public service publishing and media awareness projects. Thank you for your encouragement and support.

    The Baltimore Chronicle was founded as The City Dweller, an independent monthly newspaper, by Larry Krause in April 1973 and incorporated as Schenley Press, Inc. in 1976, when the paper adopted its present name. Over the years, it expanded to serve 23 different communities in Baltimore City. The paper fostered local writers and provided internships for high school and college students. In the early 1980s, the paper added national and international reporting and commentary, seeking to supplement the news then locally available. In 1989, Krause and others established the nonprofit Baltimore News Network, Inc., which began publishing The Sentinel, a small newspaper that highlighted peace and social justice news and views and which, due to its nonprofit status, was able to obtain reprint permissions that were otherwise unavailable to the Chronicle. The Chronicle returned to its primarily local beat, carrying the Sentinel as an insert. In 1995, the Chronicle established its website, http://baltimorechronicle.com. At first, this site mirrored the print reportage in the Chronicle and Sentinel; gradually the site began posting daily, becoming a far more extensive and timely source of news and views. In 2003, the Baltimore Chronicle was acquired by Baltimore News Network, Inc. and the print edition ceased. Others active during the long tenure of the newspaper include Alice Cherbonnier, its managing editor and wife of Larry Krause, and her brother, Marc Cherbonnier, the webmaster.

    CCC (679517)

  28. Not sure if this has already been found or not but this is dated from September.

    http://www.tsweekly.com/opinion/the-mailbox/the-nattering-naysayers.html

    jonny (791131)

  29. Not sure this is a significant story. On our side of the aisle, I routinely get solicited to send a “form” letter to a Congressman. Is this different?

    Chris Reilly (4dd7fb)

  30. I get a malware warning at that last link.

    Having a Mac I’m not worried but others should be careful.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  31. Shouldn’t these “news” orgs that got fooled be helping by turning over IP addresses so we can easily trace origins?

    lonetown (d7ec3b)

  32. As long as the astroturf is in praise of Obama the media socktuckers will print it with great glee. They really don’t give a stool what we think.

    glenn (757adc)

  33. Should send all this to Pelosi..

    Heidi (ae0fc6)

  34. Can we get a Big Media investigation yet?

    Ask my daughter would say, “Are you on crack?!” Asking when the “Big Media” is going to investigate this administration is like going back in time to 1936 and asking when Pravda would be investigating Stalin. However, I score you a 9.9 on your optimism!

    Misterbee (400b32)

  35. [...] UPDATE: Two more Obama sockpuppets found. Their names are Gloria Elle and Jan Chen. [...]

    Right Angles » Blog Archive » UPDATE: Ellie Light meet Mark Spivey (1490a2)

  36. [...] Holy cow, they’re coming out of the woodwork…. [...]

    Astroturfing Makes a Comeback Updated « Nice Deb (5381c6)

  37. This smells like Fenton Communications.

    They are the masters of astroturf.

    crosspatch (6adcc9)

  38. C’mon people! There are only 26 letters in the alphabet…it’s PURE coincidence that these LTTE sound so similar. Get real! (/////and double/)

    Chewy Thelab (7d9b47)

  39. astroturfing on this level is as much designed to displace not-dirty socialist memes as it is to inject dirty socialist ones I think

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  40. I have a feeling The Baltimore Chronicle knows it’s being used. It’s just too much of a coincidence for the paper to have been taken in by all these fake letters.

    Left Coast Rebel and Dan Riehl point to some evidence implicating Adam J. Segal, president of a PR firm called the 2050 Group. According to his online profile (http://www.the2050group.com/segal.htm), he’s a graduate of and teaches a class at Johns Hopkins University… in Baltimore.

    randomizer (d2ee34)

  41. [...] Holy cow, they’re coming out of the woodwork…. [...]

    Desperate people do desperate things…and pathetically-desperate people have a way of setting their shorts on fire.

    Chewy Thelab (7d9b47)

  42. here is that Dan Riehl post

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  43. “Not sure this is a significant story. On our side of the aisle, I routinely get solicited to send a “form” letter to a Congressman. Is this different?”

    Oh, do they ask you to lie about your address, too?

    AM (a656ea)

  44. I hope the ‘real’ Jen Park, John Scott, Janet Leigh and Ellie Light are keeping good notes for their tell-all book. I should be a blockbuster.

    LASue (5f0073)

  45. Since it’s a not for profit and it solicits donations, is there some way we can figure out who contributes to the Baltimore Chronicle?

    CCC (679517)

  46. [...] Don’t buy just yet! We have even more to make this deal even sweeter! [...]

    Liberal Prostitutes For Sale (Cheap) « Truth Before Dishonor (15b8a9)

  47. These letters are aimed at alternative newspapers in areas and communities where Obama has strong support, particularly young people. They’re designed to provide talking points for people already sympathetic to Obama’s causes in conversations with peers. The goal being to “maintain enthusiasm” amongst these groups for Obama’s agenda.

    tallsy (a7b801)

  48. The Baltimore Chronicle printed three Astroturf letters? That means one of three things:

    1) They don’t get many letters.

    2) Most of the letters they get are Astroturf.

    3) Somehow they managed to select the Astroturf to print and left the others out.

    Which is it? Does anyone know?

    Andrew Koenig (d9ed19)

  49. CBS, NBC, ABC, NY Times, PBS, etc., are all Astroturf.

    Alta Bob (e8af2b)

  50. Here are a couple of more.

    A Robert Stephenson in the American Statesman from Austin, TX.

    A letter to the Kane Country Chronicle.

    A Kenneth S. Alexander from Anchorage in the Peninsula Clarion.

    And more at Yahoo search link.

    James O (9e3ca3)

  51. I just wish you did not use the word ‘astroturfing’. It sound like a cute, technical euphemism that hides the intended meaning.

    florin (ac4ad7)

  52. So . . . if the White House’s “Axman” is behind this, what then? Is it a big deal? Anything illegal here or just dirty fingers for the nanny party?

    So dishonest though, isn’t it.

    The end justifies the means.

    Ding (e9de40)

  53. [...] UPDATEx2: Still more opstroturfing. [...]

    PelosiCare (e3a4cc)

  54. Hmm. Sent Dan Rhield a “name coincidence” mail – a person with a small marketing firm who might have a connection to “winston44″.

    The little marketing group is headquartered in Maryland. Ground Zero? :)

    SarahW (692fc6)

  55. There’s no way this is Fenton. Fenton would subcontract to another firm if they were going to do this.

    A firm like Mark Karlin & Associates is a good bet on who is running this. Karlin runs buzzflash.

    WTFCI (8b7ab3)

  56. This cracks me up because as a Republican I am always being hectored by my own party to write more letters to the editor. The left is really good about that and locally it’s usually the same old tired warhorses who participate. And now it’s pretty clear they’ve been getting high-level help.

    The GOP places letters too but is not good at it.

    cassandra in MT (dede09)

  57. These letters are aimed at alternative newspapers in areas and communities where Obama has strong support, particularly young people. They’re designed to provide talking points for people already sympathetic to Obama’s causes in conversations with peers. The goal being to “maintain enthusiasm” amongst these groups for Obama’s agenda.

    Interesting tallsy. That would dovetail with my Mark Karlin theory. Buzzflash is just a site that regurgitates far left talking points. It’s a PR operation entirely. I used to see Duncan Black link to Buzzflash right after 9/11. I believe Black stopped once he learned that Buzzflash was a public relations front.

    WTFCI (8b7ab3)

  58. And good luck getting anyone in the socktucker media to give up IP addresses. Some of ‘em probably come right back to the papers that printed the letters.

    glenn (757adc)

  59. Found a new and more prolific one that even got as far as arabnews.com, again it was posted at the Boston Chronicle (Joe Bialek).
    Google gives 389 results for this search: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22I+applaud+the+efforts+of+Mir+Hossein+Mousavi%22&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS318US318&ie=UTF-8

    Ben (463b1f)

  60. [...] The pen names of that body are Ellie Light, Mark Spivey, Gloria Elle, and Jan Chen. That is, these are the names known so far. [...]

    William M. Briggs, Statistician & Consultant » Astroturfing Explosion: Who Did It? (86ba12)

  61. WTFCI:

    Updated the post based on your Twitter comment. Karlin is indeed a good lead.

    What about the Santa Barbara Independent? They published two of these Astroturfers. Another similar progressive paper?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  62. [...] Jan Chen, Gloria Elle and Mark Spivey are all sending the same letter to the editor around the country. Comments [...]

    Gateway Pundit (f2568a)

  63. “What is it with liberals always accusing others of the sins they have already committed?”

    It’s called projection. They project onto others their own attitudes and behaviors. They assume that everyone else will do the underhanded things they either want to do or have already done.

    SAM (f704d5)

  64. Sorry I’m not going to spend any time researching this, but I definately remember reading about one of Obama’s propaganda outlets specifically asking his little sock puppets to do precisely this and they even provided an on-line form to fill out with links to all the media outlets. I don’t remember whether it was the White House website or Organizing for America, but these days that doesn’t seem to make a differnece since they both seem to be operating the same way. And if I’m not mistaken, David Plouffe had something to do with it. If I have the time later, i will do some searching to try and put some meat on these bones.

    OxyCon (d3bc7e)

  65. I’m not going to do any research either, but I think OxyCon is wrong.

    Intelliology (00d844)

  66. “…I’m not going to do any research either..”

    Folks, add your own punchline. And remember, this guy thinks he is smart.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  67. OxyCon: What is RockTheVote?

    Frankly, I thought the Obama team did a good job when they went after the Milt Rosenberg Show in Chicago because he hosted National Review writers to talk about Obama’s work with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The Obama Rapid Response team lead by Bill Burton successfully blasted an “attack Rosenberg” memo to flood his phone lines. Caller after caller repeated the same nonsense from the Obama RR memo. The callers weren’t thinking critically at all. They just read the email, dialed, and then read the script.

    Milt Rosenberg was astonished. He pleaded with the callers to question what they were reading.

    WTFCI (8b7ab3)

  68. You’re just determined to be “against” everything Democratic!

    Jan Chen (4dce1a)

  69. kind of gives you an answer to the “repubs get their talking points from limbaugh” argument.

    sammy (86cbe3)

  70. And the funny part, WTFCI, is I would bet you a thousand dollars that 75% of the callers could not have explained much about their script.

    No, it was “Obaaaaaama goooooood.” That’s it.

    There was some comedian who walked around some very left of center districts, and asked people if they were going to vote for Obama. For those who said “yes,” the comedian went on to ask if they agreed to “Obama policies,” which were GWB policies with Obama’s name instead.

    Most of them say “Heck, yeah!”

    Cult of personality.

    Fortunately, that is changing. The Emperor has…well, a nice Chicago suit.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  71. Ellie Light has been published in Buzzflash, too.

    Official Internet Data Office (e46847)

  72. You’re just determined to be “against” everything Democratic!

    Gloria Elle (4dce1a)

  73. This is terrible. Keep digging folks.

    Much more, and my faith in the MSM will start to erode.

    Pious Agnostic (b2c3ab)

  74. Okay, after a little Googling I came up with this info about Obama’s Organizing for America, which shows exactly what I said earlier. This whole sock puppetry was created and organized through OFA:

    “OFA initially collected about 238,000 health care stories,78 and featured several in television
    ads.79 White House officials also said the stories collected through OFA helped “continually
    remind each and every leader in this country of the importance of health care reform.”80
    OFA also estimated that it collected over two million declarations of support for the
    President’s plan. (It did not indicate what percent of those declarations were by individuals
    who were already OFA members.)
    On another public track, OFA supporters reported that they sent about 233,500 letters to the
    editor in local publications on behalf of health care reform. (A year-end tally later estimated
    the figure at 250,000.81) The official website also provided an activist portal to “set the record
    straight,” providing fact sheets, talking points and videos to rebut misinformation about
    health care.82 In one indication of the audience for the effort, the video embedded on the
    main page drew about 78,000 views over several months.”

    Above info was found within this PDF file:
    http://techpresident.com/files/report_Year_One_of_Organizing_for_America_Melber.pdf

    OxyCon (d3bc7e)

  75. Not sure, but I think I was wrong about this guy Joe Bialik (comment 63), the ones I found with aliases were other people referring to his original letter.

    Ben (463b1f)

  76. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago. She just couldn’t understand why the David Axelrod would “astroturf” our fellow Americans. “Even the Baltimore Chronicle ?” she asked pitifully.

    I sat down with her on the sofa and (as calmly as I could) tried to explain to her why David Axelrod would insult the intelligence of every American, past and present. “And yes honey, even the Baltimore Chronicle”, I was forced to say.

    I tried to keep my voice steady, but it became increasingly difficult – the rage and feelings of helplessness were just too much. I think my daughter could tell something was wrong. I found myself at such a loss for words – nothing made any sense; nothing makes sense anymore. I finally had to admit, “Honey, I just don’t know – I don’t know what’s going on in this country anymore…”

    When I finished her lower lip started to tremble and her eyes began to fill with tears, “Daddy” she said, “why are the Democrats doing this to the country?” Well, that was it for me: I finally fell apart. She just fell into my arms and we both began sobbing for several minutes.

    For once she had to comfort me and get me back on my feet. Sometimes I just think it’s too much, but seeing the strength in my young daughter’s voice helped me to get through.

    Neo (7830e6)

  77. And in some dog bites man news, the person who runs this chicago based ‘media advocacy’ consulting group donated to guess who?

    http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=name&lname=Karlin&fname=Mark

    SheldonCooperPHD (be378a)

  78. Here’s another pairing, from the Seattle Times and the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

    Bambi Lin Litchman

    itsonlywords (c09b6f)

  79. I’m not going to do any research either

    Head, meet ass.

    Dmac (539341)

  80. Heres a little more from the same PDF report:

    In late December, OFA appeared to shift its communications slightly to address concerns
    about compromises in the Senate bill, sending a 13-point policy brief from David Plouffe to
    specifically advocate for the legislation emerging from the Senate. The email directed
    supporters to share a link to an OFA page, “The Benefits of the Senate Health Reform
    Bill,”116 by email, Facebook and Twitter. Plouffe also spoke to supporters on a conference call
    on December 18. OFA also sent emails from President Obama when the Senate reached 60
    votes for cloture on December 21, and again when the Senate passed the bill on Christmas
    Eve. “If we finish the job,” Obama wrote, “We will have beaten back the special interests who
    have for so long perpetuated the status quo. We will have enacted the most important piece of
    social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s.”
    He also credited OFA members for
    their calls, letters and organizing, directed supporters to a web portal
    to send “note of
    appreciation to all the senators who have worked so hard to make this possible.”

    As you can plainly see, David Plouffe rallies his sock puppets to use an on-line web portal his organization created in order to spam all the media outlets with pro-Obama propaganda.
    That I belive is where all these current astroturf letters to the editor originated.

    #69…real funny. Thanks for the laugh. Now you can choke on what I dug up. Bon appetit! lol

    OxyCon (d3bc7e)

  81. [...] Letter Sunday, January 24, 2010 5:45:52 PM · by Painesright · 46 replies · 1,210+ views Patterico.com ^ | 1/24/10 | Patterico.com Now that people are paying attention, the Astroturfers are coming out of [...]

    Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican, Pro-Obama Letter « ~ THE GUNNY "G" BLOGS ONLINE ~ NEWS, VIEWS, BS, and…The BIZARRE! (bfba74)

  82. Buzzflash ran the Ellie Light past before Ben Smith did also.

    Jason (2494ac)

  83. Good catch, ItsOnlyWords. Bambi Lin Lichtman? Where do they come up with this stuff?

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  84. [...] Astroturf, Seattle Times Edition Jump to Comments This story is getting so big and growing so fast, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. (More from Patterico here and here.) [...]

    Astroturf, Seattle Times Edition « It's Only Words (32c23e)

  85. It looks like this site has become the clearing house for a new media scandal. This is great work.

    I hope is serves as a stick in the eye for CJ at LGF. At one time there was a good group of commentators there that would have been all over this story. They are all gone elsewhere now, banned by the demented Chucky.

    snookered (6f83c5)

  86. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/nov/18/seals-have-their-day-court-great-victory/

    I just searched the San Diego Union Tribune and found more astroturf from Mark Spivey from their November 18 Letters to the Editor.

    Leslie (31b007)

  87. The response will be as follows:

    1. Astroturfing doesn’t happen, and it is a dumb expression originating with paranoid conservatives.

    2. There is no proof that astroturfing is occurring.

    3. Okay, there is some astroturfing, but Republicans do it more.

    4. Okay, Republicans aren’t doing as much astroturfing. But historically, they did.

    5. There is nothing wrong with astroturfing. It is just getting the message out.

    6. Bush is responsible.

    Sigh. You will see it here from Our Loyal Trolls, and you will see it nationally.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  88. This appears to have been going on for some time:

    Aug 01, 2009 – email from listener Jan Chen – http://kbiaviews.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html

    Aug 20, 2009 – American Spectator – in the comments under Jen Park – http://spectator.org/archives/2009/08/20/power-pure-and-simple

    DaveinWS (4a3578)

  89. This is what obama ACORNies do best, violate laws. They aren’t moonies just ACORNies loonies. Craft and corruption just like what went on with reid, pelosi, schumer, obama with the obamascare healthcare. It had nothing to do with Healthcare but another false fraudulent attempt by the democrats and obama to steal taxpayer money and pay off their goons. Same witrh man made climate change and the left with obama-gore got caught red handed. Why in the Hell would anyone trust anything obama says or does?

    Jake (9d1bb3)

  90. The only good republicanist is a… oh wait. Good and republicanist cannot be in the same sentence unless it is an obituary and the sentence also contains “good riddance” or “woo whooo!”. Honestly, is it okay to hope and pray the South secedes again, because I have had had it with “blew dog” dimo-crats and their “centrist” enablers.
    Without dumping Emmanuel, Bernanke, Geitner, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito there can be no hope for this president or this republic.
    America needs justices of substance, integrity and honesty. None of the conservatives sitting on the bench have demonstrated any of those qualities as they continue to legislate from the bench (impeachment is calling). This country also needs an administration that represents the majority of the populace and not just the fascist corporatist agenda. I can see the the dims scrambling to cast themselves as ‘progressive” or “liberal” and can see them trying on the “populist” mantel. We will not be fooled again y’all.

    Ted (df44ca)

  91. They will lie, cheat, steal, and deceive to any degree to gain their objective,
    which is the destruction of Liberty, Freedom, and the Republic in which those two greatest accomplishments of the human experience lives.
    It is an unending battle that must be constantly engaged if the American Experience is to endure.

    AD - RtR/OS! (287590)

  92. “This appears to have been going on for some time”

    Yeah, now they will all have to go and create new fake identities.

    crosspatch (6adcc9)

  93. We’re working on a new update with revelations from ItsOnlyWords and from James O. at comment 54. Great stuff. Keep it coming, folks!

    Patterico (c218bd)

  94. Chi-caa-go, Chi-caa-go, that toddlin’ town!!

    sherlock (e1e91e)

  95. If you need any more proof that the Democrats are turning our country into a communist state, this surely is it.

    America is Rising and we will reclaim democracy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=662R2awSwPQ

    DVS1 (53cca4)

  96. 86.Buzzflash ran the Ellie Light past before Ben Smith did also.

    I don’t think so. Ben Smith at Politico posted it at 12:05 PM on January 7, while Buzzflash posted it at 12:31 PM on January 7. Politico is in the eastern time zone (Arlington, VA) while Buzzflash is in the central time zone (Chicago, IL).

    And that’s all I’m going to say about that, before I start sounding like Mae Brussell.

    Official Internet Data Office (e46847)

  97. Neo – Thank you for that. That was a thing of beauty, and it kills me every time I see it.

    JD (21d65c)

  98. Investigative citizens instead of investigative journalists! Bravo.

    Great work; thanks for the work and following-up in this way to the Ellie Light story!

    Mutnodjmet (d67610)

  99. the ‘organising for america’ website has a page where you can bulk send pre-written ‘form’ letters to the media.
    the letters have the usual talking points of the day.

    david (b9b0cc)

  100. This unfortunate small publication has Ellie Light and Denzell Levett (yet another pseudonym) on the same page. Both letters seen elsewhere under different names…could play the Google game all night. Mr Levett’s comments also appeared here and here.

    Harper (594a8e)

  101. The power of self-directed citizen “soldiers” is amazing! Besides the obvious ethical and political violations on display, has discussion been given to whether a Criminal violation has occurred, if this propaganda involved tax dollars?

    Has some site taken the lead on this aspect??

    scottdl (40dee3)

  102. Patrick, congrats on the American Thinker link….

    reff (176333)

  103. Patrick, congrats on the American Thinker link….

    reff (176333)

  104. Patrick, congrats on the American Thinker link….

    reff (176333)

  105. [...] has uncovered what appears to be curiously similar letters-to-the-editor by “Ellen Light” and “Mark Spivey” appearing in publications all over the [...]

    The Letter Game – Missoulapolis (024b0e)

  106. Comment by Neo — 1/24/2010 @ 5:06 pm

    Like a good Downfall vid, That bit never gets old. LOL

    SarahW (692fc6)

  107. Patrick, congrats on the link at American Thinker….and I apologize if this posts too many times….

    reff (176333)

  108. Oops. Caught.

    Ellie Stott Levett Chen (75f27a)

  109. It’s really going to be a letdown when we find out that liberal America is comprised of three individuals madly writing letters to newspapers.

    DaveinPhoenix (2bd6c3)

  110. The fact that a writer may have the same letter at different papers doesn’t mean that s/he’s an AstroTurfer. It may mean that s/he’s just someone with a LOT of time on their hands–i.e., many typical Obamanots.

    NOW, as in the case of many of the above, including Bambi Lin, Ellie Light, etc., IF they are writing to different papers and using a local address…Well, then that’s an AstroTurfer, for sure!

    Then, the writer is trying to give the impression that s/he’s just a typical local who’s trying to explain why Obama’s AOK to other locals.

    IMO.

    Mondo (f8a800)

  111. There are Winston44′s with chocolate mini poodles and
    WInston44′s who like mustangs
    And one with an old blogspot blog

    and this one too –

    http://www.peopleandpicks.com/profile/winston44

    Winston Hassan
    Dearborn Michigan

    SarahW (692fc6)

  112. “arf,” said the chocolate mini poodles hopefully, but you could see in their soft brown eyes they knew this wasn’t going to end well.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  113. It’s really going to be a letdown when we find out that liberal America is comprised of three individuals madly writing letters to newspapers.
    Comment by DaveinPhoenix — 1/24/2010 @ 6:34 pm

    OMG. Can you imagine!

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  114. OFA was pushing the post by Ben Stein from all over the country via Twitter, most likely through other channels as well.

    Email, Facebook, Twitter. It’s clear to me that OFA’s the reason why Ellie’s op-ed made it into so many newspapers all over the country, but I have two questions:

    1. Did OFA direct their members to do this?
    2. Why would they all use Ellie’s name and fake her with a local address?

    It kind of seems like OFA spread the word about this op-ed to all their members, and then quite many of them took it upon themselves to submit it to their newspapers, thinking it was best to leave the original author’s name on it. They wouldn’t have been aware that everyone else was doing the same.

    Yet, are there any examples of Ellie’s op-ed being published under a different name? If not, that would seem to give the answer to question number one as YES.

    George (fdc2fd)

  115. [...] PDRTJS_settings_1225303_post_7979 = { "id" : "1225303", "unique_id" : "wp-post-7979", "title" : "Ellie+Light+%28and+other+Obama+Sock+Puppets%29+Update", "item_id" : "_post_7979", "permalink" : "http%3A%2F%2Fjames4america.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F01%2F24%2Fellie-light-and-other-obama-sock-puppets-update%2F" } They’ve located more sock puppet’s and numerous letters, look where they lead to. http://patterico.com/2010/01/24/still-more-astroturfing-gloria-elle-and-jan-chen-write-the-same-anti… [...]

    Ellie Light (and other Obama Sock Puppets) Update « Just Americans Making Ethical Statements Weblog (b4fd43)

  116. [...] PDRTJS_settings_1225303_post_7979 = { "id" : "1225303", "unique_id" : "wp-post-7979", "title" : "Ellie+Light+%28and+other+Obama+Sock+Puppets%29+Update", "item_id" : "_post_7979", "permalink" : "http%3A%2F%2Fjames4america.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F01%2F24%2Fellie-light-and-other-obama-sock-puppets-update%2F" } They’ve located more sock puppet’s and numerous letters, look where they lead to. http://patterico.com/2010/01/24/still-more-astroturfing-gloria-elle-and-jan-chen-write-the-same-anti… [...]

    Ellie Light (and other Obama Sock Puppets) Update « Just Americans Making Ethical Statements Weblog (b4fd43)

  117. dana, that is the funniest thing i have heard in a long time. lol! “…Liberal America consists of three individuals madly writing letters to newspapers” ROFL

    mistress overdone (5204e4)

  118. [...] PDRTJS_settings_1225303_post_7979 = { "id" : "1225303", "unique_id" : "wp-post-7979", "title" : "Ellie+Light+%28and+other+Obama+Sock+Puppets%29+Update", "item_id" : "_post_7979", "permalink" : "http%3A%2F%2Fjames4america.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F01%2F24%2Fellie-light-and-other-obama-sock-puppets-update%2F" } They’ve located more sock puppet’s and numerous letters, look where they lead to. http://patterico.com/2010/01/24/still-more-astroturfing-gloria-elle-and-jan-chen-write-the-same-anti… [...]

    Ellie Light (and other Obama Sock Puppets) Update « Just Americans Making Ethical Statements Weblog (bfba74)

  119. [...] PDRTJS_settings_1225303_post_7979 = { "id" : "1225303", "unique_id" : "wp-post-7979", "title" : "Ellie+Light+%28and+other+Obama+Sock+Puppets%29+Update", "item_id" : "_post_7979", "permalink" : "http%3A%2F%2Fjames4america.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F01%2F24%2Fellie-light-and-other-obama-sock-puppets-update%2F" } They’ve located more sock puppet’s and numerous letters, look where they lead to. http://patterico.com/2010/01/24/still-more-astroturfing-gloria-elle-and-jan-chen-write-the-same-anti… [...]

    Ellie Light (and other Obama Sock Puppets) Update « Just Americans Making Ethical Statements Weblog (bfba74)

  120. [...] has also been identified as a prolific letter-writer.  and it looks like there’s a lot more where that came [...]

    an Ellie Light list « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi (3d8069)

  121. [...] has also been identified as a prolific letter-writer.  and it looks like there’s a lot more where that came [...]

    an Ellie Light list « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi (3d8069)

  122. Doesn’t this whole thing basically reek like all the illegal and foreign campaign contributions Obama got this past election?

    Remember “Doodad Pro”, “Good Will” and “Dirty Pooey”? They were all fictitious people, just like these sock puppets, who gave illegal campaign contributions to Obama’s campaign through Obama’s unsupervised web page, just as I’m sure all these current “letters to the editor” were funneled through Obama’s website.

    All the other candidates refused tainted contributions, but not Obama, and surprisingly nothing was ever done about this criminal enterprise.

    OxyCon (d3bc7e)

  123. Terri Reese of Vista, CA in the North County Times. (Calling Bradley J. Fikes!)]

    Gack!

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

  124. George, except Susan Eaton at the Cleveland Plain dealer corresponded with “ellie” who said she “expanded her submission” to so many areas.

    SarahW (692fc6)

  125. I’ll explain that “gack” further. Confident my paper was Astroturf-free, I went to a friend’s house to watch beer being brewed. So I come home about 15 minutes ago to see my paper mentioned as an Astroturf victim.

    Gack!!!

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

  126. In Patterico’s Update x5 link to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, we learn:

    “Light said she didn’t submit her letter to all the outlets that published it. . .”

    So, who did?

    “. . .and said many carried it after it was cited several weeks ago by Politico’s Ben Smith.”

    All the newspapers that carried it did so after Politico did, not “many.” And newspapers don’t just copy letters they like from elsewhere, while naking up a new address for the author.

    Official Internet Data Office (e46847)

  127. Regardless of anything else, these media outlets need to explain why they all ran essentially the same op-ed, unmoved by the fact that they obviously were not genuine local reader letters.

    We all know what would be happening right now if this had happened under Bush. Questions Would Be Asked, Answers Would Be Demanded.

    George (fdc2fd)

  128. I just found Jan Chen’s letter on KBIA’s webpage listed as a “Letter from a Listener” She get’s pretty good reception in Seattle since KBIA appears to be an FM station (91.3) in Columbia, Missouri. Amazing!!! Also, this submission was dated August 21, 09. So this has been going on for quite some time.

    Chris Jacobsen (92e30d)

  129. I think we are missing the other angle to this story. How did over 60 editors at over 60 newspapers all pick the same letters to publish out of hundreds submitted to the paper every day? That just seems…..bizarre.

    Saskatchewan Conservative (9be4eb)

  130. [...] Fake letter-writing campaigns to prop up the President. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Obama First 100 Days LinkfestThe Exaggerations, Lies, Distortions, and Flip-Flops Of Barack ObamaAnn Coulter On The Dem Smackdown In MAattack of the holiday sweaters Posted in Commies, Corruption, Deesgusting, Obamessiah. Leave a Comment » [...]

    Axelrod Defends Obama’s Shock and Aw-ful First Year On ABC’s “This Week « Nice Deb (b78058)

  131. Now Ms. Eaton and The Plain Dealer do a complete cop-out on this.

    http://www.cleveland.com/politics/index.ssf/2010/01/often_published_pro-obama_lett.html

    Nothing to see here, move along.

    Highly predictable. We’ll see if the toothpaste can be put back in the tube.

    JayCee (00f5a1)

  132. There has to be a better way of compiling and presenting this evidence than a stream of links. There’s just so much it’s difficult to process in this form.

    Also, letters from the same person to multiple newspapers happens all the time, it could just be some passionate person who sends their letter out to everyone.

    When they start changing names and/or locations, that’s a sure sign of astroturfing.

    Joel (ca4139)

  133. Googled in just a small segment of the tecy and came up with this– Anyone come across the name ‘Cherry Jimenez’ yet? Check this one out at the ‘Indiana Daily Student’ posted September 1, 2009:

    http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=69640

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  134. [...] are hot on the trail of the elusive (or omnipresent; take your pick) Ellie Light.  And now research has started into finding information about and where some of her friends are, including Mark [...]

    PoliGazette » Is Mitch Stewart the True Identity of Ellie Light? (9bf351)

  135. “ellie” changed her address deliberately, and she did it both to get published in the first place, and to create the impression that her’s was a local view to readers, in order to persuade, to be taken seriously.

    She’s also been unappealingly arrogant and unapologetic in “her” responses to Eaton, really quite a bully; offense as defense, I suppose but fairly pathetic and obnoxious; and lost no opportunity to drag in boilerplate “axlerod dribble” mischaracterizing the SCOTUS decision and the monumental importance of TED KENNEDY”S SEAT no longer being TED KENNEDY”S SEAT.

    She did Obama no favors if she’s a lone jihadi in his cause, because who can believe it? She’s working in organized fashion with a team of people trying to scam readership across the nation. If she’d lie about who she is dozens of times for gain, why should she be believed on any point. She’s already proved she’ll lie in the purpose of a higher cause whenever expedient.

    SarahW (692fc6)

  136. #139- OICU have.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  137. Real question here is public money being spent to do the astroturfing.

    glenn (757adc)

  138. Apologies if this has already been mentioned – I haven’t read all the comments on this thread. It looks like Bambi Lin Litchman (one of the letter writers mentioned above)was on the ballot for Lt. Gov. in Washington state in 1996. Her residence is listed as Tacoma.

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/1996/aug/28/ballot-questions/

    Kay K (12956e)

  139. The Teacher’s Unions do this all the time. They give you stock phrases you can insert into e-mails to have sent to your representatives; IIRC they even offered to send paper letters on your behalf.

    Conservative Teacher (8f03a1)

  140. Anyone come across the name ‘Cherry Jimenez’ yet?

    Cherry Jimenez’ article at the link is the same as Gloria Elle’s article at the Baltimore Chronicle and Jan Chen’s article at the Northwest Asian Weekly.

    The next byline I expect to see is Lucy Ramirez.

    Official Internet Data Office (e46847)

  141. I found the source of at least some of the letters.

    http://my.democrats.org/page/speakout/posthouseLTE

    In case it’s gone, I’ve copied the text to my blog:
    http://becausenooneasked.com/2010/01/24/astroturfing-source/

    Michele (8d2866)

  142. Awesome, Michele. That’s it.

    Updating now.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  143. Good information, Michelle. Thanks.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  144. [...] she claims to be from the towns she has posted in. It's completely different. Update III: Oh my, this story is just getting more interesting by the minute. It seems Ellie Light isn't [...]

    Who Is “Ellie Light?” Isn’t The Only Question We Should Be Asking. | Right Wing News (c8efe7)

  145. I’ve located the mother lode:

    It’s the Democratic Party’s “Party builder”.

    http://my.democrats.org/page/content/partybuilderLTE/

    Michele (8d2866)

  146. Oops. It’s expired. I’ll keep looking.

    Michele (8d2866)

  147. The Internet Archive is your friend.

    As is Google Cache.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  148. I am going to guess that the Democratic Party and Organizing for America do not have the Apache Junction News and Buzzflash on their list of possible destinations for a form letter.

    WTFCI (8b7ab3)

  149. Glenn – I imagine that would be a violation of law prohibiting propaganda… so that’s a very big question. The lesser issues are bad enough. I don’t might any Ellie anywhere writing all the letters she wants or sending them from here to China. I mind very much fake identities, misrepresented as local, being used to get space in a paper and gull readers, and/or use of cheap plagiarism to accomplish it. Cat’s out of the bag – no one’s going to put up with it anymore.

    SarahW (692fc6)

  150. Michele, I was just reading through all the boilerplate talking points. Good God almighty.

    SarahW (692fc6)

  151. I just completed my letter from Michele’s link using a false name/address/email and it worked, but as I went to screen print it, it just vanished.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  152. WTFCI,

    We are looking at AT LEAST two distinct forms of Astroturfing. So you’re right: Michele’s link DOES NOT explain all.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  153. We’ve recently had Climategate, now Glaciergate — is this Lettergate?

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

  154. #135 your angle opens up a whole new set of questions…

    1. Saw comments elsewhere (Plain Dealer) regarding identity verification procedures at newspapers – a contention was that most newspapers call to verity identity, but I don’t know and I’m not going to research it. Sounds logical, I mean, what if they published a defamatory letter over your name and they didn’t bother to check??? So, how did so many get published anyway, (or) why are some editors allowing lax policies that risk lawsuits (wouldn’t they care who is actually writing what goes into the newspaper)? Some do, some don’t, some don’t always?

    2. Bulk mailing of form letters: I can see blanketing your gov. or rep. to show broad support of an idea, where specific names and unique writing are not the critical aspect (almost like signing a petition), but a Letter to the Editor is a personal appeal in a public forum, where both truthful identification and authorship matters. Wouldn’t most editors reject publishing an identical letter from multiple authors?

    3. Would an editor be happy to learn that the “local letter” in the newspaper has already been published elsewhere? Look how easy it was for commenters here to use Giggle to spot check prior use of phrases. Do any editors currently screen their LTTE to make sure they are not duplicated elsewhere – my recollection is they really want to be publishing original material. What is state of the art and will this change operating standards? Like checking for plagiarism? (or just too much bother?)

    4. If this is a “you generate” bulk mail program, could programming issues possibly be causing some of the “letters” that Ellie Light said she did NOT send? One person, over enthusiastic and with a balky “submit” button (see above) does not a conspiracy make (but the deeper and wider follow-up here might have interesting results). Its important to nail down the information before reaching firm conclusions (accusations), but labeled speculation seems appropriate. Just don’t get caught in a trap where one “accusation” is shot-down by perfectly reasonable tech glitches and this gets used to smokescreen the real problem.

    5. If this is a paid astroturf program, is this what you do if you sign up for one of those “work at home on your computer” opportunities? Someone actually paid to comment? Do they have a blog ‘turf program I can join. Free sample of my writing is attached. I can assure you that money will not unduly influence my opinion, but I am very interested to learn more about what I should think. – Is their anyway to datamine blog comments with the same names or search for repeated phrases?

    Good fraud detection work folks!

    Sashland (0b25f5)

  155. From the my.democrats.org letter writing page:

    Note: These points are only to provide extra information and suggestions. Do not use these points verbatim. Your letter must be original and should focus on your personal views and experiences.

    aunursa (a1573d)

  156. That caveat is in the compose letter tab by the talking points that were copied word-for-word.

    aunursa (a1573d)

  157. Even if Michele’s Democrats link explains part of the origin of some of the messages, it doesn’t explain the decision to print them. If a canned form was the source, presumably most of these papers received more than one copy. Which means they knew that this was a spam/astroturf message. Yet they printed them anyway.

    CTD (0fd893)

  158. More dots to connect: Mark Karlin & Associates received a $650,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation, where Barack Obama served as a board member from 1994 to 2002. Such an odd coincidence…

    lostingotham (2ccb2c)

  159. “Ellie” says some of her letters were picked up on websites, news forums online and so forth (think of that Multicultural Friends site) She doesn’t deny the letters published in newspapers under a variety of addresses were her own doing. She admits doing that.

    SarahW (692fc6)

  160. The North County Times link is garbled.

    [Fixed it. Thanks, Jeff. -- DRJ]

    jeff (9799c1)

  161. She did Obama no favors if she’s a lone jihadi in his cause, because who can believe it? She’s working in organized fashion with a team of people trying to scam readership across the nation. Comment by SarahW — 1/24/2010 @ 8:21 pm

    That would be a key difference from what Republican operatives were sponsoring several years ago. In that case a pre-written letter on some GOP-sponsored web site was to be copied and pasted by volunteers receptive to the cause nationwide and distributed to various publications. If that was questionable enough, then this is worse — and even more cynical and manipulative — since it appears to not even involve the efforts of average citizens surfing through cyberspace but perhaps people employed (and paid) by the Democrat Party.

    Mark (411533)

  162. Patterico, per Dana’s effort noted in #156, just filled out a form letter with old data using link referenced by Michele’s and clicked it off to several papers in New Jersey. It went, but as with Dana, it would not print out a hard copy for us. Seems any resourceful zealot could abuse it so it falls upon the editors on the other end to catch it. And in defense of Fikes’ North County Times, the family have sent letters to it and they do call to verify authorship.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  163. [...] if she’d just kept her mouth shut. On the very off chance that you haven’t already seen Ellie’s letter,* here it is. A YEAR AGO, if we’d read that employers were hiring again, that health-care [...]

    Ellie Light Responds « It's Only Words (40d437)

  164. Don’t know whether anyone found this, but it looks like a Bambi Lin Litchman ran for Lt Governor in Washington in 1996. Don’t know whether this is the same one

    WMoon518 (29aae8)

  165. At least one opinon page editor has said she contacted “ellie” prior to pubication – and says Ellie actively asserted her false address was real.

    I’m not sure I believe her, but that is the story.

    SarahW (692fc6)

  166. Well, just couldn’t stop myself, and I fell down again … and did some research, but not into common newspaper practices…

    1. Quick hit on Lars Deerman @ Jewish Journal (sorry if duplicate)

    http://www.jewishjournal.com/letters_to_the_editor/article/maccabiah_games_fine_as_is_criminals_or_heroes_20090811/

    Is he real or is he memorex? No White Pages hits, no Giggle clues???

    2. No Giggle cache found for closed up Dem. LTTE generator. Remaining generator page is ALL addressed to Congress. All party line talking points but no whining ‘my obama’ stuff – were the Dem. LTTE generator scripts the same as the published letters cited?

    3. Looking for other LTTE generators found this article on ‘turfin’ in MA by Dem. related Dewey Square Group where they apparently used old folks names without permission. Working on behalf of Blue Cross and Medicare Advantage? The DSG said “time… may have clouded some memories” and it was just confusion over differing plan names. There should have been some follow-up articles, but I’m not going to research it.

    http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_story_103032149.html

    then I had to go and read the article and learn that, yes, most LTTE are authenticated, but weren’t in this case, THEN, I had to go and read the comments and learn that at least one “eagle-eyed editor so zealously guarded the sanctity of his Letters columns” to avoid libel charges.

    Has everybody gone reckless these days?

    And, oh yeah, not that I’m into conspiracy theories, but, how / when DID that LTTE generator get turned off? Was it right after their name got posted by Michele? Or was it taken down some time ago? the group of posts around that make it seem like it was shut down right after being discovered and posted, even as folks were taking a quick peek. Am I just seeing reflections, or did something happen here?

    Sashland (0b25f5)

  167. [...] and his commenters have spent a lot of time today digging up more instances of “Letters to the Editor” appearing in multiple locations.  [...]

    PoliGazette » Tracking Letter Writer Gloria Elle Throughout Time (9bf351)

  168. [...] Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican, Pro-Obama Letter. [...]

    Rebellion News (23e302)

  169. I would rather be left broke after getting sick, then being broke while healthy and paying taxes for my Cadillac insurance, which by the way I worked hard to be able to afford the luxury, its called capitalism, it rewards those who work hard. As a result the west has become the most prosperous culture to inhabit the planet as opposed to fascist and dictatorships, which socialism leads us to, But now the coffee grinders want to reward everyone with the promise they will never have to save in case they might be ill, and will have the same luxuries of care that everyone else. That’s so, health care is not a right, it’s a privilege, but make no mistake, everyone should have the same potential to earn the privilege, but nobody has the right to make you pay for somebody else, else you are a slave, and last time we checked slavery is abolished in the US. So where does it stop, should we all be able to eat caviar, if it is found that it promotes vitality, or how about being warm and a bed, if it promotes health, so lets buy a house for everyone, and while were at it lets call this plan for what it is, communism. , because the nanny state will take care of us, and those of us with Cadillac plans so what we will give up the front of the line, for people like illegal immigrants just arriving! So what if I would rather take care of myself, and take the chance I may be broke someday, then its my own doing, nobodies fault but mine, and when I die, I am not going to blame somebody else, or ever believe the coffee grinders version, that somehow people will die because I worked for my Cadillac plan and did not want to give up my place in line, guess what everybody eventually is going to die, health care are not, no nanny care is going to save us, unless you want to call it a religion, but maybe that is the case, since communism, is the religion for the secular, so Halleluiah praise Obama, he is our savoir, but guess what the difference between Obama and Jesus, is that Jesus is willing to end his career for us, while Obama will expect all his senators and congress people to end their careers for him by voting for nanny care, go ahead we dare you!

    stacey (7c48d6)

  170. Why did Ellie Light’s letter to Ed Morrissey come from a blacklisted spam server? That’s what puzzles me.

    IreneM (73f95d)

  171. are there any examples of Ellie’s op-ed being published under a different name?
    anonymous273341 @ allvoices (might predate the publication by Ben Smith – link is to Google cache, orignal has een scrubbed)

    [note: fished from spam filter. --Stashiu]

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  172. [...] For those of you who don't know who Ellie Light is, let's get you updated.From HotAir:In recent days, a letter defending Obama has appeared in dozens of newspapers throughout the country — all signed by an "Ellie Light." In the letters, which all use identical language, Ms. Light explains that Obama never promised to fix all our problems quickly or painlessly. She declares:Today, the president is being attacked as if he'd promised that our problems would wash off in the morning. He never did. 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.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?…………………….With the help of my commenters, I have been keeping a running total at my blog of the places where Light's letter has appeared. At last count, her letter has appeared in at least 47 newspapers in at least 23 different states.So far, that is. That number is growing all the time. It even appeared in a newspaper in Bangkok, Thailand!Ok, so it's clear someone is astroturfing for Obama. They are trying to get a "talking point" out there from a "regular citizen." Sure, I would like to know who it is, but the bigger question is why the hell is every newspaper in the country publishing it? As someone who used to spend a great deal of time writing letters of the conservative bent to newspapers, I know how hard it is to get published. Because I can promise you that if "Ellie Light" had written the same sort of letter across the country defending Bush and his Iraq war decision, for example, all these newspapers wouldn't have published it. But they finally get what they think is a local person with a fantastic argument defending Obama against all his failures. GREAT, they think, this will make the point WE want to make, but now we don't have to!Liberal bias at it's finest. This is why newspapers are going bankrupt. There is no journalism integrity. There is no objectivity. The best thing about this story is the egg on the face of all these so called "newspapers of note." Give me a break. Newspapers of liberal bias more like it. Update: The number of Newspapers and online presence of this letter is growing by the minute. Go see Patterico to see the count so far.Update II: The left is going to try to compare this those e-mail letter writing campaigns where you take a letter written by the GOP or RNC and you sign your name to it and send it in. People do that who don't know what or how to write what they want to say and it's easy. But the difference is the person signs their REAL name and it is what they feel. THIS is FRAUD. Obviously this person isn't real and she claims to be from the towns she has posted in. It's completely different. Update III: Oh my, this story is just getting more interesting by the minute. [...]

    Who is Ellie Light? Is Not The Only Question We Should Be Asking | Right Wing News (c8efe7)

  173. [...] Patterico has additional examples of cloned, Astroturf letter campaigns claiming to be independent letters of support for the far left agenda of the current administration. [...]

    New heights in Obama Astroturfing : Urbin Report (0948b3)

  174. This is the earliest Ellie light posting I have found so far. Can anyone find one from pre-Jan 4th?

    http://www.thereflector.com/Opinion/letters.php

    Maybe if we can zero in on when they STARTED, we can use that date to find the campaign that spawned it.

    nikki (34674d)

  175. [...] this post, I documented the same letter being written by Janet Leigh and Earnest Gardner. And another letter [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » The Recent Evidence of Astroturfing, Summarized (e4ab32)

  176. IreneM,

    It’s easy to assume that there really is some lone dingbat who uses the handle Ellie to send tons of letters all over the country. Some foaming at the mouth loser.

    But this is a professional effort, and they used a spam server because they owned cycles on it. Axelrod style astroturfing ain’t for cheapskates.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  177. The LTTE generator was still up ar OfA as of late last night/early this morning. I have screen shots on my home computer.

    GETTING to it is tricky though as you have to know where the link is.

    nikki (34674d)

  178. [...] noted in an earlier post that some recent Astroturf had been tracked by this blogger to the Democrat party. I’m [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » How “David Axelrod Astroturfing” Works, Step by Step (e4ab32)

  179. [...] For those of you who don't know who Ellie Light is, let's get you updated.From HotAir:In recent days, a letter defending Obama has appeared in dozens of newspapers throughout the country — all signed by an "Ellie Light." In the letters, which all use identical language, Ms. Light explains that Obama never promised to fix all our problems quickly or painlessly. She declares:Today, the president is being attacked as if he'd promised that our problems would wash off in the morning. He never did. 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.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?…………………….With the help of my commenters, I have been keeping a running total at my blog of the places where Light's letter has appeared. At last count, her letter has appeared in at least 47 newspapers in at least 23 different states.So far, that is. That number is growing all the time. It even appeared in a newspaper in Bangkok, Thailand!Ok, so it's clear someone is astroturfing for Obama. They are trying to get a "talking point" out there from a "regular citizen." Sure, I would like to know who it is, but the bigger question is why the hell is every newspaper in the country publishing it? As someone who used to spend a great deal of time writing letters of the conservative bent to newspapers, I know how hard it is to get published. Because I can promise you that if "Ellie Light" had written the same sort of letter across the country defending Bush and his Iraq war decision, for example, all these newspapers wouldn't have published it. But they finally get what they think is a local person with a fantastic argument defending Obama against all his failures. GREAT, they think, this will make the point WE want to make, but now we don't have to!Liberal bias at it's finest. This is why newspapers are going bankrupt. There is no journalism integrity. There is no objectivity. The best thing about this story is the egg on the face of all these so called "newspapers of note." Give me a break. Newspapers of liberal bias more like it. Update: The number of Newspapers and online presence of this letter is growing by the minute. Go see Patterico to see the count so far.Update II: The left is going to try to compare this those e-mail letter writing campaigns where you take a letter written by the GOP or RNC and you sign your name to it and send it in. People do that who don't know what or how to write what they want to say and it's easy. But the difference is the person signs their REAL name and it is what they feel. THIS is FRAUD. Obviously this person isn't real and she claims to be from the towns she has posted in. It's completely different. Update III: Oh my, this story is just getting more interesting by the minute. [...]

    Who Is Ellie Light? Isn’t The Only Question We Should Be Asking | Right Wing News (c8efe7)

  180. [...] on Ellie Light here and even more astroturfers writing under the names of Jan Chen and Gloria Elle here and shows us exactly how the astroturfing campaign works here with [...]

    The Astroturf Brigade In Action « The Underground Conservative (725c82)

  181. “…these newspapers who got fooled…”

    Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

    mojo (8096f2)

  182. I don’t know if this has been said already (apologies if so), but if Ellie’s IP address is shown as originating in France, Saudi Arabia, and God knows where else, it implies a level of sophistication way beyond a close follower of politics who wanted to defend Obama in multiple newspapers.

    Mister Tan (1632d7)

  183. [...] The Cleavland Plain Dealer and some other intrepid souls have uncovered what appears to be a genuine astroturfing campaign by Obamacrats who are writing boilerplate pro-Obama letters to newspaper editorial sections across the [...]

    The Right Side of Life » The Curious Case of “Ellie Light” (fa89c7)

  184. [...] letters that lie about residency.  It’s a badly designed online service that has led to embarrassing results for the Democratic Party, even though there isn’t anything particularly nefarious about [...]

    define “astroturf” « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi (b4fd43)

  185. [...] list of newspapers that fell for the letter along with other suspiciously similar letters can be found at Patterico’s [...]

    Ellie Light Defends Barack Obama – Backbenchmedia Finance Economics Politics Popular Culture «Backbench Media (161989)

  186. [...] of Patterico’s Pontifications is following the trail, and readers are submitting the names on the same letters in their local [...]

    Astroturfing For Obama! Exposed! « American Elephants (50eb32)

  187. Ellie Light is Winston Steward:
    http://www.facebook.com/winston.steward

    Joseph (c3bbaf)

  188. [...] letters published in multiple places claiming to be from different people.” Patterico devoted yet another post to examples of this form, and traced one to the Democratic [...]

    BizzyBlog (47a0ce)

  189. [...] Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican, Pro-Obama Letter&#… [...]

    Who is Ellie Light | Stix Blog ver 4.0 (f9276d)

  190. At this stage, what would stand as a highly relevant research question would be when this Astroturfing–on this scale and with the same procedural structure–began. I don’t think one need infer from the current letters that the letters began only with the Obama presidency.

    Laura White (82e79f)

  191. I havn’t read every comment here but a Smercomish had on someone who claimed to be the actual and original Ellie Light. She avers that this is her real name, she is an itinerant nurse and composed her letter herself. I’m not sure what sort of vetting Smerc used but he seemed to take her as bonafide. The lady claims to have submitted the letter to multiple outlets with the accomodating addresses (intentionally deceptive) but not as many as it has appeared in. She believes the Ben Smith post was reprinted by the various papers so I guess for some of these appearances the editorial board was responsible for the fictitious addresses.

    megapotamus (0cc084)

  192. [...] Gateway Pundit, Found: Ellie Light’s Facebook Page (Updated) Patterico’s Pontifications: Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican Pro-Obama Letter HillBuzz: The Cleveland Plain Dailer finds more examples of “Ellie Light” in dozens of [...]

    Andrew Breitbart on FOX News: Did White House Mastermind the Ellie Light Astroturf Letters to Help Push ObamaCare? (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  193. [...] Gateway Pundit, Found: Ellie Light’s Facebook Page (Updated) Patterico’s Pontifications: Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican Pro-Obama Letter HillBuzz: The Cleveland Plain Dailer finds more examples of “Ellie Light” in dozens of [...]

    Andrew Breitbart on FOX News: Did White House Mastermind the Ellie Light Astroturf Letters to Help Push ObamaCare? (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  194. [...] Gateway Pundit, Found: Ellie Light’s Facebook Page (Updated) Patterico’s Pontifications: Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican Pro-Obama Letter HillBuzz: The Cleveland Plain Dailer finds more examples of “Ellie Light” in dozens of [...]

    Andrew Breitbart on FOX News: Did White House Mastermind the Ellie Light Astroturf Letters to Help Push ObamaCare? (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  195. [...] Gateway Pundit, Found: Ellie Light’s Facebook Page (Updated) Patterico’s Pontifications: Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican Pro-Obama Letter HillBuzz: The Cleveland Plain Dailer finds more examples of “Ellie Light” in dozens of [...]

    Andrew Breitbart on FOX News: Did White House Mastermind the Ellie Light Astroturf Letters to Help Push ObamaCare? (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  196. [...] Gateway Pundit, Found: Ellie Light’s Facebook Page (Updated) Patterico’s Pontifications: Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican Pro-Obama Letter HillBuzz: The Cleveland Plain Dailer finds more examples of “Ellie Light” in dozens of [...]

    Andrew Breitbart on FOX News: Did White House Mastermind the Ellie Light Astroturf Letters to Help Push ObamaCare? (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  197. [...] Gateway Pundit, Found: Ellie Light’s Facebook Page (Updated) Patterico’s Pontifications: Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican Pro-Obama Letter HillBuzz: The Cleveland Plain Dailer finds more examples of “Ellie Light” in dozens of [...]

    Andrew Breitbart on FOX News: Did White House Mastermind the Ellie Light Astroturf Letters to Help Push ObamaCare? (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  198. [...] Wow – growing evidence that multiple identical letters appearing in multiple different newspapers under multiple names implies some sort of astroturf campaign. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, at this development. [...]

    Media Came Down Hard on Pro-Iraq War ‘Ellie Light’-like Tactic in 2003 | TheWorldPolitics (197be1)

  199. [...] Even more duplicate letters turn up, from other names (Patterico’s Pontifications) [...]

    Ellie Light responds: Prolific pro-Obama letter writer talks | News, Articles And Informations About the Latest Trends (45c192)


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