The following is part one of what will be a series of columns written on this growing scandal in the days to come.
Growing up in Texas, when I think of Astroturf I think of the Houston Astrodome, the former home of the Houston Astros baseball team. At the time it was built, that incredible enclosed stadium was state of the art and considered a real engineering wonder, a modern marvel, if you will.
One of the engineering feats, as this was an indoor stadium, and hence not very conducive to growing grass, which is pretty essential to play, was the development of an artificial turf.
Astroturf was designed to simulate real grass in both look and feel. Soon baseball and football fields all over the country were installing this stuff, and causing much controversy that continues to this day.
During the 2008 presidential election cycle, I noticed a phenomena online. Now being a political observer and activist, I read a lot, especially online. The internet is really an awesome tool if one wants to consume a lot of news, from a lot of sources, in a relatively short time. It’s truly revolutionized our world.
One thing that has really changed in news and reporting is that most venues allow people to comment, in real time, on each and every story. Oft times, these comments sections turn into a really heated forum where ideas, and even insults, are traded blow for blow. It makes for some very interesting interaction.
As a reader, I tend to glance over the comments, and just like everyone else, I may leave a comment about the story, give another commenter an attaboy, or correct a commenter who has stated something that was, shall we say, less than factual. Many other readers do the same thing.
In 2008 though, I noticed something was up. Too many commenters were saying the same thing verbatim, as if they were using some sort of script, a list of talking points. The ones I saw the most, pertaining to the Republican candidates, took one of two positions: Either the commenter was a “lifelong Republican” who was going to vote for Barack Obama because John McCain was “just too conservative” or the “lifelong Republican” was “going to vote for McCain until he picked ‘that woman.’ [Sarah Palin]“
Now neither one of these arguments made sense, especially coming from Republicans. Let’s face it, no one ever accused John McCain of being “too conservative,” ever.
As for Sarah Palin, the reaction to her among Republicans is well documented. She energized the base of the party like no one in recent history, and continues to, to this day. At the time of the announcement of her vice presidential candidacy, the positive buzz on her was so strong that she not only overshadowed John McCain, but Joe Biden and Barack Obama as well, again something that continues to this day.
So what was going on?
Rather than being an organic situation, a circumstance where Americans were all feeling a certain way and expressing it, all at the same time, like we are seeing now with the modern day Tea Party movement, and the actions of the voters in Massachusetts, what I was witnessing back in 2008 was a coordinated effort that consisted of paid and unpaid volunteers, who were trained and given up to the minute talking points to spread all across the fruited plain
Now organizing folks is nothing new. And frankly, nothing illegal, or immoral. It’s in fact, a good thing, if what is being done…and said… is true, but it often creates a false reality. The casual, or uninformed reader will see the scripted comments, thinking they are legit, and coming from someone “just like them” and often be swayed in their opinion on any given subject.
Let’s face it, while most of the country, no matter their ideology, has some pretty rock solid sets of beliefs and convictions, there is a significant number that sort of blow with the wind, so to speak. These people are generally not engaged in the issues, and have little knowledge of even the most basic of facts.
Now this is not to belittle these folks in any way. No one can be an expert, or even fairly knowledgeable, about everything. For example, I’m a car guy. I like sports and other events that have something to do with cars. If someone wants to talk about that, I can talk their ears off. However, ask me about football, or some other deal, and other than knowing that there is, indeed, such a sport, I don’t know much about the comings and goings, and generally will defer to someone else and their opinion. I’m simply not interested enough to care.
This happens a lot in politics, unfortunately. Many just aren’t interested enough to care, which, as we are seeing now, can have tragic ramifications.
Politics, like religion, is one of those things that many just don’t talk about, even if they have opinions, as both can cause heated arguments. This of course is a shame, because we should all be engaged fully in both subjects. Both are important, to say the least.
Anyhow, from time to time, people get together in a coordinated effort in support of something, or against something. This coordinated effort to post comments, write letters to the editors, and try and get oneself interviewed on TV is to sway opinion, pure and simple.
Advertisers and activists alike have used these techniques since well, the beginning of advertising and activism. This sort of thing, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily bad or wrong. In fact, when in the service of a noble cause, it is a very good thing.
Many times situations will occur and activists will organically come together for a cause they are committed to. They may organize to write letters to Congress, or even a company if something is going on that needs addressing. It’s something Americans do all of the time. But it’s real, it’s based on a true desire to effect a change, or right a wrong.
Then you have astroturfing. Astroturfing is just what is sounds like: Fake. Astroturfers are mostly paid mercenaries. They may or may not actually care about a given cause or situation, but they are brought together by a group, or political party, given a set of talking points, and pretend to be “just another concerned citizen.”
Again, the intent is to sway opinion, to create a false reality, a false buzz.
Now I know what some say. Some will say that groups like the Tea Party folks are writing letters, coordinating efforts, organizing rallies, marches, and so on. Aren’t they astroturf too?
Well no, they are not. No one had to stick out a “help wanted sign” and offer up a salary to get these patriots to stand up and speak out, to fight for their cause. In fact, many are spending their own hard earned money to get things done.
Of course, Nancy Pelosi, the most corrupt Speaker of the House, in the most corrupt Congress in American history, spent all summer trying to convince everyone that the Tea Party people and those who were attending the town halls this summer, enraged over ObamaCare, were nothing more than paid mercenaries for the insurance companies.
Uh, Nancy…project much?
Ironically, this ad was recently placed in many issues of the popular online classified ad website, Craig’s List, recruiting activists to counter the Tea Party folks:
Stop the Tea- Baggers! Direct a Progressive Campaign Office
Date: 2010-01-08, 6:25PM CST
WHOSE AGENDA WILL WIN IN 2010? YOU DECIDE.
Change takes work. After the 2008 Election, we know what’s possible when millions of people commit themselves to creating the world they want to see – but we also know that one election is only the beginning. Across the country, the struggle for human rights, marriage equality, and reproductive rights continues. To counter the hysteria and lies of Glenn Beck and other talking heads, progressives need to get organized and get activated – and we don’t have a moment to lose!
We’re hiring Directors to run 32 Canvass Offices across the United States.
Qualified candidates are:
# Committed to and motivated by progressive politics and social change.
# Leaders, with the ability to think strategically and motivate a team.
# Goal-oriented, excellent communicators, team players.
# Experience in hiring, training and supervising staff or volunteers is preferred. Previous field or canvassing experience is a plus.
# Recruitment: Build a team of 15-50 canvassers by recruiting from within the local community and developing your strongest staff into leadership positions within the office and in the field.
# Canvassing: Get on the Frontlines of some of the most crucial campaigns of our time! Work on the ground bringing progressive change to America!
# Hours: 80-100 hours/week
Grassroots Campaigns is immediately hiring in Chicago as well as the following locations: CA, CO, DC, IL, MA, MN, NY, OH, OR, PA, TX, WA.
* Compensation: $24000 a year. Healthcare available.
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
Funny isn’t it. The progressives have to pay people to do what Conservatives, Tea Party activists do for free, or better yet, shell out their own hard earned money to do.
One has to ask: Just how pathetic and unpopular is one’s cause when you have to offer up money to get people to come fight for you? You run this same ad, but take out the pay and change the agenda to the Conservative agenda, the Tea party agenda, and you’d have to beat volunteers off with a stick!
This ad comes out of Chicago, big surprise, but is placed on many of Craig’s List ‘s local websites. Now let’s think a minute…who comes out of Chicago…hmmmm?
I know you think I’m going to say Barack Obama, but not this time. This time it’s about one of his henchmen, David Axelrod. Axelrod didn’t invent astroturfing, but he certainly perfected it.
In March of 2008 Business Week Magazine had this to say about Axelrod and his expertise in astroturfing:
The Secret Side of David Axelrod
The Obama campaign’s chief strategist is a master of “Astroturfing” and has a second firm that shapes public opinion for corporations
By Howard Wolinsky
David Axelrod has long been known for his political magic. Through his AKP&D Message & Media consultancy, the campaign veteran has advised a succession of Democratic candidates since 1985, and he’s now chief strategist for Senator Barack Obama’s bid for President. But on the down low, Axelrod moonlights in the private sector.
From the same address in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Axelrod operates a second business, ASK Public Strategies, that discreetly plots strategy and advertising campaigns for corporate clients to tilt public opinion their way. He and his partners consider virtually everything about ASK to be top secret, from its client roster and revenue to even the number of its employees. But customers and public records confirm that it has quarterbacked campaigns for the Chicago Children’s Museum, ComEd, Cablevision, and AT&T.
ASK’s predilection for operating in the shadows shows up in its work. On behalf of ComEd and Comcast, the firm helped set up front organizations that were listed as sponsors of public-issue ads. Industry insiders call such practices “Astroturfing,” a reference to manufacturing grassroots support. Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward, who has been battling the Children’s Museum’s relocation plans, describes ASK as “the gold standard in Astroturf organizing. This is an emerging industry, and ASK has made a name for itself in shaping public opinion and manufacturing public support.“
Lowest of Low Profiles
Eric Sedler, 39, a former public relations director at AT&T and corporate-reputation specialist at PR giant Edelman, is the “S” in ASK and the company’s managing partner. The “K” is John Kupper, 51, a former congressional press secretary and ad-industry consultant, while the “A,” of course, is Axelrod, a onetime Chicago Tribune reporter who got his start in politics when he managed Illinois Democrat Paul Simon’s first election to the U.S. Senate. Sedler says opponents mischaracterize what ASK does. “I reject the notion that a company can’t advocate a public policy,” he says. “These issues are complicated, and people have different points of view.” Axelrod, 53, did not respond to phone messages and e-mails.
Though the consultancies share management—Kupper, like Axelrod, is also a partner at AKP&D—and loft space, the two firms come across as polar opposites. On its Web site, AKP&D lists dozens of candidates and referendums it has worked on. Sample ads are available for downloading. Employees are named. ASK’s site is minimalist, revealing little more than that its three partners do all their work themselves. Sedler says, in fact, that in his six years at ASK, he had never done an interview with the media before. “We’re not in a business that warrants a huge public profile,” he explains.
Axelrod’s political connections can cross over into his corporate business. Mayor Richard M. Daley, one of Axelrod’s friends and earliest clients, is pushing construction of a new Children’s Museum in Grant Park to replace a facility on Navy Pier that the museum says it has outgrown. So far, though, “open-space” foes such as Reilly have stymied the move. The museum retained ASK early in 2007. Sedler says Axelrod’s ties with Daley had nothing to do with the contract.
ASK is counseling the museum, which reports annual revenue of more than $11 million, including government grants, on its message strategy. It is also writing ads, including a 60-second radio spot that stresses how the new quarters would blend into Grant Park and be more accessible. Sedler won’t say how much ASK is receiving, joking that it’s “about 30¢ per hour.” Consultants at other PR firms say corporate clients pay monthly retainers of up to $25,000, though nonprofit groups usually pay less. In addition, firms typically get 15% of whatever clients spend on advertising.
ASK’s relationship with ComEd goes back much further: The Chicago-based utility says ASK has been an adviser since at least 2002. ASK’s workload picked up in 2005, as the Exelon subsidiary was nearing the end of a 10-year rate freeze and preparing to ask state regulators for higher electricity prices. Based on ASK’s advice, ComEd formed Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity (CORE) to win support.
One TV commercial, penned by ASK, warned of a ComEd bankruptcy and blackouts without a rate hike: “A few years ago, California politicians seized control of electric rates. They held rates down, but the true cost of energy kept rising. Soon the electric company went bust; the lights went out. Consumers had to pay for the mess. Now, some people in Illinois are playing the same game.” CORE, which describes itself on its Web site as “a coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations,” was identified as the ad’s sponsor. After a complaint was filed with state regulators, ComEd acknowledged that it had bankrolled the entire $15 million effort.
The message seemed effective. Pollster Geoff Garin, president of Peter D. Hart Research Associates in Washington, which has worked with both of Axelrod’s businesses, says his research showed that after the advertising campaign, ComEd customers were more supportive of a rate hike than customers served by other electric utilities elsewhere in Illinois.
Axelrod’s public and private efforts bump into each other at ComEd, too. Illinois employees of the utility and its parent, Exelon, have contributed $181,711 to Obama’s Presidential bid—more than workers at any other company in the state.
A Big Contract
Illinois does not require public-affairs firms to register as lobbyists unless they seek to influence officeholders directly. But New York does. In New York City, Cablevision, owner of Madison Square Garden, hired ASK to stop the New York Jets from building a stadium nearby in Manhattan. In its ads and materials, the opposition called itself the New York Association for Better Choices. Records show ASK was paid $1.2 million by Cablevision from 2004 to 2005. LegislativeGazette.com, an online weekly covering New York government, described ASK’s payday as “the biggest lobbying contract of the year.”
Among ASK’s other clients: AT&T. The telecom company, formerly known as SBC Communications, had been a customer, Sedler confirms, when it requested ASK’s help to defeat a broadband referendum in three Fox Valley suburbs in 2004. ASK received $22,500 for its voter-persuasion drive.
In politics, Axelrod’s AKP&D is as partisan as they come. But ASK travels easily across the aisle. Gene Reineke, head of Hill & Knowlton’s Chicago office and former chief of staff for Republican Governor Jim Edgar, says his PR firm shared ComEd as a client and now works with ASK on the Children’s Museum. “Their firm is outstanding,” he says. “I think it’s one of the best in the field, to be honest.”
Avis LaVelle, a former Daley press secretary who now runs Lavelle-Cousin Issues Management, also teamed with ASK on ComEd’s CORE campaign. She says their consultancies are practicing a new kind of PR, bringing tools and know-how from the world of politics into the corporate and nonprofit realms. “A lot of what is done to shape public opinion in political life,” LaVelle says, “can be applied to public affairs for corporations.”
Great…we have the same guy who uses paid mercenaries to sway public opinion for Big Corporations sitting in the White House doing the same thing for Obama and the progressive agenda..
This isn’t the first time we have talked about the major astroturfing that goes on in the name of all things Obama. In a piece we wrote last year entitled: Oh my….Barack Obama Caught Astroturfing, we went into some of the shenanigans the Obama team was engaged in.
The reporting surrounded a young girl named Julie Hall who was “randomly selected” to ask a question of President Obama at an event in Portsmouth, NH, pushing ObamaCare.
Julia, who lives in Malden, Massachusetts, read the following question off a piece of paper: “As I was walking in I saw a lot of signs outside saying mean things about reforming healthcare. How do kids know what is true and why do people want a new system that can help more of us“.
This, of course, set Obama up for his talking points.
Come to find out, sweet little Julie was a plant. Her mother, Kathleen Manning Hall, is a huge democrat insider, with connections out the wazoo to many top politicians in the Bay State, including failed senatorial candidate Martha Coakley. You can read more about all of this here.
Kathleen even had a photo of herself and Obama on her facebook page.
There are plenty more documented cases of planted questions from “connected” questioners at other Obama events. Obama’s people are particularly fond of using children to deliver these prepared questions. But suffice it to say, that over the summer, every time Obama had a Q & A session with a crowd, at least one of the questioners was a plant.
Typical audience at Obama event:
Speaking of Martha Coakley and astroturf, Michelle Malkin ran a hilarious story during the lead up to the election:
I printed an e-mail from a reader I received yesterday about union workers with Coakley signs standing outside the UMass debate venue. The e-mail reported:
“While speaking with one of the union guys holding the Coakley sign, he admitted that his union was paying him $50 to stand and hold the sign. I was blown away, I always thought that these guys were out in the cold like us, doing what we thought was the right thing to do, not that they were actually being paid a fee to do it. The best part was when he admitted that although he was there because he needed the money, he was voting for Scott!!”
This is actually pretty common practice for unions. Many provide members to go out and campaign for democrat candidates. SEIU, which is part of the same group that founded ACORN, is notorious for sending union thugs by the bus loads to events. These purple shirted bullies were sent out in force to town hall events this past summer, and were given priority admittance in order to drown out opposition to Obama’s unconstitutional health care “reform” legislation. Again, astroturfing to give the appearance of support for something that every single poll out there shows is wildly unpopular.
It was a group of purpled shirted SEIU thugs who severely beat Kenneth Gladney at a town hall event this past summer. Gladney, a black conservative had set up shop outside the event selling patriotic items like t-shirts and the always popular Gadsen flag. (Don’t Tread On Me) A gang of SEIU members jumped him, wrecked his stand and as they beat him, called him many names, including “nigger.”
Anyhow, I find it quite delicious that this union worker went ahead and took Martha’s $50 and then voted for Brown! This was followed up by a report from the website Red Mass showing a number of purple shirted SEIU members all holding signs in support of Scott Brown. Read more here.
By the way, this happened a day after a certain resident of Alaska made this plea to union members nationwide.
Speaking of Sarah Palin, the astroturf campaign against her by Obama and his henchmen is legendary. We’ve written at length how Obama involved his campaign chief-of-staff, Pete Rouse, who is now a White House adviser, in this effort.
By now everyone knows that Rouse, an Alaskan, worked with leaders of the Alaska democrat party and other movers and shakers to not only recruit bloggers, both local and national, to plant false stories about Sarah all over the internet, but also to help recruit people to file phoney ethics complaints against her.
It was the financial burden these phony complaints were placing not only on Sarah personally, but the Alaskan taxpayers (over $2 million) that would eventually lead Sarah to make the decision to turn over her government to her Lt Governor, Sean Parnell, a brilliant move…in hindsight.
Rouse and his people also used their influence with hate peddler Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post, to give local hate mongers Shannyn Moore and Jeanne Devon a high profile slot over at the vile website. Also used were people like Linda Kellen Biegel, the “Official DNC blogger for Alaska” and a host of smaller, lesser know, but equally unscrupulous bloggers.
What Rouse and his group set up was a network of websites that were both fed information and story lines from the White House, and given access to the nation’s media to spread the hate and the lies to virtually every media outlet I the country.
This astroturfing effort is unprecedented. The amount of effort and coordination used against Sarah Palin boggles the mind. It also create a completely false narrative about Sarah that she is still working hard to set straight to this day.
Of course, the efforts didn’t stop there. As we wrote in October, there was also an effort by the big movers and shakers to use Levi Johnston against Sarah and her daughter Bristol. A big campaign to keep Levi in the spotlight was launched and partially funded by Stewart A. Resnick, a billionaire liberal democrat.
Resnick is the Chairman of Roll International. Roll’s business involves agriculture, Fiji Water, and the Franklin Mint among other things. He is also a prime financial backer behind the democratic/communist party. You can read more here.
It was Resnick’s company, Roll International, that employed Levi and his “bodyguard” Tank Jones to “star” in a commercial hawking pistachio nuts.
The Mighty Serf reminds us just what an incestuous bunch these people are. Resnick’s wife Lynda is the godmother of Arianna Huffington’s daughter. Lynda Resnick has her own portfolio of shady dealings and controversies. This is a must read, and you can do so here.
Remember this: Every time you see Levi Johnston, the nation’s most infamous dead beat dad, on television, there is a coordinated effort by the democrat/communist party machine behind it all.
All of this brings us to the current scandal that is surrounding the President.
Sharp eyed readers and a group of dedicated citizen journalists have discovered the latest astroturfing effort to come out of the office of the “Community Organizer-in-Chief” Barack Obama.
As reported by Patterico, someone named Ellie Light has been on a real writing binge. First reporting discovered Ellie’s handiwork in at least 42 newspapers in 18 states!
Now this in itself is no big deal. I’m sure many of use who are politically active have written to newspapers, not necessarily from our home town, in support or protest of an issue. The problem with this deal is that every time Ellie wrote a letter, she claimed to be a local resident, of what ever city, or the surrounding area, the newspaper was located in. This is astroturfing on a whole grander scale!
This is a fast moving story, and we are all finding out that the number of letters is far greater thanfirst though. But first things first, this from Patterico:
Ellie Light: Obama Astroturfer? Or Very, Very, Very Energetic But Independent Letter Writer? With Houses All Over the Nation?
A woman has written the same letter defending Obama to dozens of publications across the country, getting them published in at least 42 newspapers in 18 states, as well as Politico.com, the Washington Times, and USA Today. And the woman, Ellie Light, has claimed residence in many of these states.
Think there might be some phony Astroturfing there?
At the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sabrina Eaton makes a nice catch:
Ellie Light sure gets around.
In recent weeks, Light has published virtually identical “Letters to the Editor” in support of President Barack Obama in more than a dozen newspapers.Every letter claimed a different residence for Light that happened to be in the newspaper’s circulation area.
“It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work, and that a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything,” said a letter from alleged Philadelphian Ellie Light, that was published in the Jan. 19 edition of The Philadelphia Daily News.
A letter from Light in the Jan. 20 edition of the San Francisco Examiner concluded with an identical sentence, but with an address for Light all the way across the country in Daly City, California.
Variations of Light’s letter ran in Ohio’s Mansfield News Journal on Jan. 13, with Light claiming an address in Mansfield; in New Mexico’s Ruidoso News on Jan. 12, claiming an address in Three Rivers; in South Carolina’s The Sun News on Jan. 18, claiming an address in Myrtle Beach; and in the Daily News Leader of Staunton, Virginia on Jan. 15, claiming an address in Waynesboro. Her publications list includes other papers in Ohio, West Virginia, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania and California, all claiming separate addresses.
She has more houses than John McCain!
But there are a few more places her little pro-Obama missive appeared, besides those documented.
Like Ben Smith at Politico.
And the Washington Times.
And a blog at USA Today.
And the Sheboygan Press in Wisconsin. And the Stevens Point Journal in Wisconsin — listing an address of Algoma, Wisconsin.
And in addition to the Californian.com link provided in the Plain Dealer story, listing an address in Salinas, CA, there are other California letters with other California addresses.
The letter appears in the Gilroy Dispatch and Morgan Hill Times, both listing an address of San Felipe, CA.
And in Good Times, listing an address in Santa Cruz, CA.
And in TheUnion.com, listing an address of Grass Valley, CA.
And Connecticut’s stamfordadvocate.com.
A letter was sent to a columnist at the local Daily Breeze here in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.
On an unrelated note, recall that recently, Glenn Greenwald flagged the fact that Obama’s pal (and head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) Cass Sunstein recently wrote this paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing:
“Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.“
He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government).
Who is Ellie Light?
I would like to know.
P.S. If you find other examples, please leave them in comments with a link. Many more updates in the extended entry.
UPDATE: Add the following:
California: The Los Banos Enterprise, listing an address of Gustine, CA.
Maine: In addition to the Maine link above, there is another appearance of the letter in Maine: in the Bangor Daily News, in which Light lists an address of Bangor, Maine.
Maryland: The Baltimore Chronicle.
Massachusetts: The North Adams Transcript, listing an address of Williamstown.
List your additions below.
UPDATE x2: Add these as well:
Connecticut: Another Connecticut paper, in addition to the Stamford listing: the Danbury News-Times. And here’s another: the Greenwich Time a/k/a Ctpost.com. (Address listed is Greenwich.)
Georgia: Gainesville Times. (Her address is listed as Gainesville.)
Massachusetts: In addition to the above, there is The Berkshire Eagle.
New Hampshire: It appeared in the Seacoastonline, which appears to be an online version of several New England papers including the Portsmouth Herald, Exeter News Letter, and others. Light’s address was listed as Portsmouth, NH.
Vermont: Bennington Banner.
Wisconsin: In addition to the above, there is the Oshkosh Northwestern (address listed is Oshkosh).
So far I count 35 publications in 16 states as well as the District of Columbia. Light managed to get herself published in media outlets in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
UPDATE x3: redc1c4 adds Spectrum.com in Utah, where Light claims to be from Washington City. That’s 36 publications in 17 states plus D.C.
UPDATE x4: DRJ adds 5 more publications in comments:
Here are a few more:
HudsonHubTimes.com, in which Ellie listed Streetsboro OH as her hometown.
[Duplicate already mentioned in the Plain Dealer article eliminated.]
The Willits News, with Willits CA as the hometown.
CDAPress.com of Coeur d’Alene ID, with Ellie listing a hometown of Post Falls.
From Ohio, the Chillicothe Gazette, with Chillicothe OH as the hometown.
And my current favorite so far, The Bangkok Post — the “World’s Window to Thailand.” No hometown provided.
Idaho is thus included as a new state, bringing the running total to 41 publications in 18 states plus D.C.
UPDATE x4: redc1c4 adds an Annapolis, Maryland publication. Light lists her city of residence as Annapolis. That’s 42 publications in 18 states plus D.C.
This is off the charts astroturfing!
This is spreading of propaganda in a manner that would make Joseph Goebbles envious! This reaches the highest level of Obama’s corrupt government. Cass Sunstein is a Cabinet level official.
It’s an incredible story. I encourage ever one of my readers to get over to Patterico’s website, as there is a link to each and every one of these letters to the editors there. You can read them all for yourselves.
Even better, Patterico’s alert readers have found quite a few more examples of Ellie Lights’s handiwork, complete with all of the links! Those can be found in the comments section of their reporting.
Get over to Patterico and check all of this out.
There is a whole lot more to come on this subject.
The reason this will be a series is there is just too much of this to digest in one sitting. I’m kind of known for long winded bloviating, but the sheree volume of information is staggering.
Here’s a little preview. There are at least two more very prolific astroturfers. More examples of of Ellie Light’s fine handiwork has been uncovered, as well. Oh, and evidently, it’s all Sarah Palin’s fault!
Stay tuned dear readers, stay tuned!
Before you go though, I’d like to offer up this little musical dedication to all of Barack Obama’s astroturfers, both great and small: