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Busted! Obama praise planted in U.S. newspapers
Posted By Chelsea Schilling On 01/25/2010 @ 8:52 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Obama supporters are flooding newspapers with pro-Obama letters purportedly from average citizens – with duplicate messages appearing in more than 70 publications across the nation.
One writer identified as “Ellie Light” has published identical form letters in newspapers around the country. Sabrina Eaton of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Light claims to have different hometowns within the respective newspaper readership areas. Each letter is nearly identical in grammar, style and subject.
“Today, the president is being attacked as if he’d promised that our problems would wash off in the morning. He never did,” she writes. “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.”
The following is Light’s letter posted on USA Today’s website in which she lists Long Beach, Calif., as her home:
A similar letter appeared in Alabama’s Huntsville Times, signed Ellie J. Light. But this time the woman claims to be from Huntsville:
In numerous letters, Ellie Light lists various hometowns in at least 31 states and the District of Columbia.
The Patterico’s Pontifications blog posted links to 65 local publications, three national publications and two foreign publications that posted Light’s letters. The blog invited readers to share additional links. Dozens of tips leading to additional publications are still pouring in.
The website noted that Obama “Astroturfers are coming out of the woodwork.”
Aside from Light’s messages, duplicate pro-Obama letters have been submitted to dozens of publications by writers identified as “Jan Chen,” “Gloria Elle,” “Cherry Jimenez,” “Janet Leigh,” “Earnest Gardner,” “Jen Park,” “Lars Deerman,” “John F. Stott,” “Gordon Adams,” “Nancy Speed,” “Sheila Price,” “Clarence Ndangam,” “Vernetta Mason,” “Greg Mitchell,” “Ermelinda Giurato,” “J. Scott Piper,” “Robert Vander Molen” and “Terri Reese.”
Just as news of Light’s duplicate messages broke, readers began finding various letters written by “Mark Spivey,” a man who simultaneously claims to live in San Diego, Calif., and Naples, Fla. His pro-Obama letter, “Considering Afghanistan,” was published by the Minnesota Daily, the Baltimore Chronicle, the San Diego Union-Tribune and Naples News.
Patterico’s Pontifications also shared this letter from a Jan Chen of Seattle, published in Seattle’s Northwest Asian Weekly:
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, a woman identified as Gloria Elle wrote a nearly identical letter to the editor published by the Baltimore Chronicle:
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.”
Pages titled Who is Ellie Light? and Who is Mark Spivey? have appeared on Facebook, and a Wikipedia page was formed about Light.
In an e-mail to the Plain Dealer, Light firmly denied speculation that
she’s really President Obama, Michelle Obama or National Security
Council member Samantha Power. She refused to answer questions about the numerous address discrepancies.
Patterico noted that letters by “John Stott,” “Gloria Elle” and “Mark Spivey” had been published by Buzzflash, a website run by Mark Karlin & Associates, a Chicago-based public relations firm specializing in media relations, issues management, strategic positioning, public interest PR and advocacy campaigns.
President Obama’s “grass-roots army,” Organizing for America, has been known to conduct dozens of letter-writing campaigns geared toward the nation’s newspapers. It’s website allows Obama supporters to enter a zip code and draft a single letter to numerous local and national newspapers. Organizing for America provides several talking points, and letter writers are asked to type their message into a single field. The letter is automatically blasted to various outlets with a click of the “send” button.
The blogosphere is buzzing with speculation about the true identities of pro-Obama letter writers. Some comments include the following:
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