Patterico's Pontifications


Cheers to the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:10 pm

Not just for starting the Ellie Light investigation; or for finally getting an admission from Winston Steward that he is Ellie Light. Also for being willing to credit a blog for its part:

Plain Dealer Gives Credit

Indeed, you saw the name Winston Steward here first. But how many times has Big Media taken work done by others and claimed it as their own?

Classy behavior. Kudos. (I wish I could say the same for Gawker, which lifted this information and passed it off as its own.)

Speaking of the real credit, that goes to reader Joseph D., who did the sleuthing. Even as Ben Smith thought Michael Smerconish had found the real Ellie Light because he was able to talk to a real person with a real voice, Joseph D. had it figured out.

After my post this morning, Big Journalism interviewed Joseph D. Nice piece. Go read it.

22 Responses to “Cheers to the Cleveland Plain Dealer”

  1. Okay, I’m calling “Bullshit”!

    A man who identified himself as Winston Steward, 51, of Frazier Park, Calif., says he made up the name “Ellie Light” to protect himself from criticism and possible physical attacks, and used fake addresses across the country to get local newspapers to publish his letters.

    “I am Winston Steward and have been sending the letters from Ellie Light,” he told The Plain Dealer in an e-mail late Tuesday, following a phone interview in which he said the same. “I hope this ends any confusion and sets the record straight.”

    There is a contradiction in those statements:

    First “Winston” claims the reason for using a pseudonym was to “avoid criticism” and fear of “possible physical threats” but then says he came forward and voluntarily identified himself to “end the confusion and set the record straight.”

    That doesn’t make any sense. If he was afraid of criticism and physical harm BEFORE his letters were on the national radar, he sure as shit should have been scared straight out of his Berkenstocks once the Ellie Light letters became a national sensation. And if he were as scared as poor Winston would have us believe, the very LAST thing he would do is “come forward to set the record straight.” A scared person would go to ground, protected by his anonimized IP address. and not make a peep that would attract any attention. Instead, Winston unzips his fly and says “Yoooo-hooo! Over HERE! I’M ELLIE LIGHT AND MY NAME IS WINSTON STEWARD AND I LIVE I FRAZIER PARK, CA!!!!

    I may have been born at night, but I wasn’t born LAST night…..

    Second anomaly: “Winston” and his “wife” “Barbara Brooks” can’t get their stories straight. One thinks they are married, the other thinks they are divorced.

    He said, however, that he and Brooks are no longer married, a point Brooks disputed.

    “He’s making up all kinds of garbage,” she said. “We’re not divorced. We’re not separated. He just doesn’t want anybody to trace him because he’s afraid of the right-wing crazies up in Bakersfield.”

    On another blog earlier today, someone claiming to be “Barbara” made up a phony name of her divorce attorney, a name which does not trace back to a real lawyer.

    IMHO, There are two possibilities at this point. Either this is the machination of a mentally unstable person(s) who is enjoying the spectacle of jerking around so many people, or somebody is desperately trying to simultaneously put up a smoke screen AND make this story go away.

    The “mentally unstable kooks” scenario does NOT explain the use of spam servers overseas to obscure the originating IP address of the sender, nor does it explain the multitude of Pro-Obama letter writers with a similar MO to “Ellie Light” who have been identified in the past few days, so I’m going with the alternate scenario until I see some evidence to the contrary.

    ez (95fb15)

  2. that’s not fair! we should all get credit and interviews, you racists!

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  3. Let them enjoy their brief walk in the sun, after all, most of them will be joining the unemployed soon.

    AD - RtR/OS! (6c8faf)

  4. Yes, credit to whom credit is due. Thank you all who followed this to a resolution.

    Though I guess we still have the issue on what his “success average” in getting published was, and if really high, why (other than the MSM has been for Obama as a general).

    “Scared of violence” as an excuse. Does he even know someone who didn’t vote for Obama, is that person, if there is one, that scary?

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  5. That was gracious and I hope a harbinger of closer cooperation between blogs and MSM outfits who have figured out that blogs can be allies in winning the public’s trust.

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

  6. Of course Smerconish fell for it. He is a legendary dope who spends most of his day blowing smoke up Chris Matthews’s bum.

    Kevin Stafford (abdb87)

  7. This story fell into Smerconish’s lap. Only problem is that he didn’t care about journalism. He just wanted to help spin things.

    There’s a price for that kind of crap. He knew what everyone wanted to know about this story, and he let a dude lie and lie.

    Of course, there’s a reason the PR flak or kook was willing to rely on Smerconish not to investigate the issue.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  8. Man, I’d love to hear a real interview with Winston about the proxy email servers, and such, how much time he put into this thing and the software he might have used.

    This guy could then get off the couch, outside of Bakersfield, worrying about the right-wingers, waiting for his workman’s comp claim, and really get a good day job in the new media thing. What a resume he’s got now.

    Or maybe he’s just fallen on his sword and might lawyer up.

    Still hard to tell. Did Barbara write that stuff for him?

    He’s clever, resourceful, verbally challenged, IT savvy and dumb at the same time. A true man for the 20-teens.

    Just goes to show, nowadays 2+2+5.

    JayCee (00f5a1)

  9. Just goes to show, nowadays 2+2+5.

    equals pink grapefruit.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  10. JayCee – ask any competent theoretical mathematician, and you will learn that 2+2 does indeed equal 5, for a sufficiently high value of 2 … and said competent theoretical mathematician can even show you the proof …

    Alasdair (205079)

  11. One thing that didn’t come from the interview was that this was a community effort. A lot of credit goes to everyone who laid the groundwork, which made it easier to follow a trail. Ms Eaton at the Plain Dealer did her job well. Left Coast Rebel had picked up some hints from some of Ellie’s contact with the blog. Dan Riehl was on the twitter account and Andrew H had left a comment highlighting Jerry Schaefer. The rest I give to a bit of luck in timing and the sloppiness of Mr. Steward.

    Kudos to Patterico for keeping the focus where it needs to be throughout.

    Joseph (c3bbaf)

  12. Ok, Smer-a-jerk is doubling down on fool. He’s having Winston Stewart on his show this morning. He claims not to know, and the tool probably doesn’t, that the “Ellie Light” wasn’t a man impersonating a woman.

    The real story is how low the Obama industry will go to lie to get what they want.

    PCD (7c9060)

  13. #12


    A person claiming to be Ellie Light is currently on a program on Big Talker 1580 out of Washington DC. “Ellie” sounds a lot like a woman. The show crew is not complimentary towards this “Ellie” person.

    Alan Kellogg (0981ab)

  14. Here’s a link to Alan’s program.

    She is on right now. I mean, someone is, anyway, claiming to be Ellie.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  15. Well, maybe not Alan’s program so much as the program Alan mentioned.

    Indeed, they are making a solid case that she’s a, and I quote “fraud”.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  16. What is torqueing me to the max is that the media is making more fuss about O’Keefe getting busted than this national fraud.

    For my 2 cents, Smerconish is a tool for Obama, and that is why Winston goes on that show because he knows he won’t get the verbal thrashing he deserves. This is one time I wish O’Reilly would do a show, and preferably with Winston strapped to a chair so he can’t leave, and the background showing all of connections from Winston to the White House, specifically to Cass Sunstein and David Axelrod.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  17. Well, this is apparently the Smerconish show (just heard him ID himself).

    A few of the callers said this is justifiable because the GOP is always writing legit letters to the editor, and this provides balance. I don’t think the point, that this is a nationwide fraud, is being communicated in response (or at all). They did bash Ellie for lying about who she is and where she’s from, but the idea that this is OK is accepted. It’s the ‘kook’ defense.

    Some dude calls in to note that the gender lie reminds him of when he accidentally kissed a dude, which segues into Edwards being on Atkins.

    This show sucked. they are done with Ellie, btw.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  18. Dustin,

    The Phony from Philly is an Obama tool.

    But, does go to show how dishonest Democrats are. They believe totally in “Fake but accurate”.

    My local paper only lashed out at letter writers who don’t agree with the executive editor, but not a word about this as this paper routinely slips in “Ellie Light” type of letters when they want something said and can’t find anything local useful.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  19. Regarding the excreable Nicky Denton at Gawker’s pilfering of your work as their own – typical MO for them, they’ve been purloining other’s work for years. It’s one of the main reasons why he’s able to put out those e – zines with so little monetary expenditures spent on actual reporting talent.

    Dmac (539341)

  20. dmac, that’s fucked up. Taking work without a little pingback is totally unproductive. Like anyone really cares where a story originated, anyway. They lose nothing by being honest. Gawker sometimes makes jerks look like jerks. Often Gawker is the jerks.

    [note: released from moderation. –Stashiu]

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  21. […] is obviously no John Galt, but PJTV’s Trifecta asks who is “Ellie Light”, and what does it say about the […]

    Pajamas Media » PJM Political 1/30/10: Raiders of the Inglourious Astrouterfers! (a3d746)

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