Last week the Cleveland Plain Dealer broke the strange story about Presidential astroturfer “Ellie Light” More than 40 different Letters to the Editor have turned up in newspapers across the country all, written by someone named Ellie Light, each one defends Barack Obama. Each Ellie Light letter claims to live within the circulation area of each newspaper. The letters are nearly identical in grammar, tone, and gist. The letters also contain the following closing statement: “…and a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything.”
Over the weekend it got weirder, we discovered another Astroturfer, Mark Spivey. Mark writes about Obama’s delay in deciding a strategy in Afghanistan. Like Ellie, has written dozens of letters that appeared in newspapers. His letters are nearly identical in grammar, tone, and substance. Spivey’s sign-off is generally Soldiers are human beings, not chess pieces. It’s about time we have a president who understands that.
Today went from weird to something out of an episode of the Twilight Zone. This morning the Cleveland Plain Dealer got a call from Ellie Light. Then this afternoon they got a call from a second person claiming to be Ellie Light. Will the the real Ellie Light PLEASE Stand Up ?
The First claimant of the title Ellie Light, is a registered nurse lives in a California community near Bakersfield. She talked with a husky voice. And she eventually appeared to confess, reluctantly, that her real name is Barbara Brooks. She said she is a nurse who travels to hospitals across the country.
… she told The Plain Dealer today after a series of phone interviews, e-mails and records checks involving Brooks/Light, a family member, licensing records and property information.
The 51-year-old woman provided her address on Monday night to The Plain Dealer, and what she says is her real name in conversations today that followed checks of public records.
….As for the name: Brooks says she picked “Ellie Light” out of the blue. “It just sort of came to me,” she said. “Apparently to everyone else on the Internet, it has much significance.”
Her home is in Frazier Park, Calif. She works as a nurse, traveling to assignments throughout the country for lengthy stints. Her travels have made it easy for her to pick addresses to use when sending letters to editors of newspapers, many of whom believed falsely that she lived in their circulation areas.
She focused mostly on smaller papers, she said, although she succeeded in reaching larger ones, too, including USA Today and the San Francisco Examiner.
“That was by design,” she said of her small-newspaper strategy, “because I want to address people who never talk to a liberal. By design, I talk to smaller presses, hoping to get a dialogue going with some of the editors and some of the readers.”
A proud Democrat, she said that “I want to deliberately talk to the enemy” and “people deep, deep in the red states.”
As for the addresses she used, some from small communities and suburbs that out-of-towners might not recognize, Light/Brooks said that her job as a traveling nurse made her familiar with communities nationwide. “I do have friends” in the communities, and “I do live all over” when not at home. “I’ve been to probably 20 different hospitals.”
In the telephone interview Monday night, she expressed a mix of amusement and aggravation at the claims she’s heard since news of her story — or what was known of it — went viral, thanks largely to Drudge Report and other Web sites and then Fox News. She sees little logic in the claims that senior White House advisor David Axelrod is the wizard behind the letters.
“If I were part of this sort of Axelrod conspiracy,” she said, “I wouldn’t be whining about how unpopular Obama is.”…
So its all settled right???? Well it was until the paper got a call from a second claimant to the title of Ellie Light, a man who works as a respiratory therapist.
A woman in Texas named Barbara Brooks – who knows a lot about this whole scam, whose information turns up in some of the above-mentioned records, now says the person with the husky voice is actually a male acquaintance.
He sent letters to newspapers using the name “Ellie Light” – one of the pseudonyms he has used over several years – and now, is using Brooks’ name, she said.
“He’s making up all kinds of garbage,” said Brooks.
Asked why he would claim her identity, Brooks said he apparently is afraid of being harmed by “right-wing crazies” in California as the real story emerges.
“He just doesn’t want anybody to trace him because he’s afraid of the right-wing crazies up in Bakersfield,” Brooks said. “It’s not right for him to lie,” she added, but he’s afraid.
This conversation with Brooks was followed by yet another call with the husky-voiced individual, who was adamant that “she” really is Barbara Brooks.
So lets summarize, Ellie Light is a fake person, a pseudonym for someone named Barbara Brooks, which may be a pseudonym for a male friend of the real Barbara Brooks who may indeed by our Ms. Light. All I can tell you is that if I were you, I wouldn’t accept a check from any of these people.