Ever since the grass roots tea parties began, the progressives have tried to minimize them. They continue to call them, Tea Baggers, Nazis, Right Wing fringe, and of course Astroturf. The Astroturf charge is the most ironic as David Axelrod the President’s Political adviser was once labeled by Business Week as The master of “Astroturfing“, which is what PR industry insiders call the practice of “manufacturing grassroots support.”According to Business Week, one of Axelrod’s Astroturfing campaigns stealthily spent $15 million convincing Illinois taxpayers that their power would be shut off if they didn’t approve an increase in their electric bills. It wasn’t until a complaint was filed with the state’s regulators that it was revealed that Axelrod’s “grassroots” campaign was fully funded by ComEd — the power company which would benefit from the rate hike.
It looks as if Axelrod’s strategy is being put to work at the White House. Either that or President Obama has an friend named Ellie Light or maybe dozens of friends named 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.” That may be true, but the President’s political adviser can wave a magic wand and send letters to a few dozen newspapers all under the same name.
The Plain Dealer broke the story and found even more examples of Ms Light-written letters across the country.
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“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.Light – who e-mailed an identical missive to this reporter on Jan. 16 without listing a hometown – would not answer e-mailed questions about the address discrepancies in newspapers that ran her letter, or her identity, although she did say she wasn’t a former co-worker of this reporter’s who had a similar name.
“I do not write as a representative of any organization,” she said in an e-mail. “The letter I wrote was motivated by surprise and wonderment at the absence of any media support for our President, who won a record-breaking election by a landslide less than 18 months ago, and now, seems to be abandoned by all, supposedly for the infantile reason that he couldn’t make all of Bush’s errors disappear in one day.”
After the Plain Dealer published its first article exposing ‘Ms. Light,” Ellie responded to story on the paper’s website
I did answer Ms. Eaton’s questions about addresses and the letter’s authenticity. She identified herself as a journalist who covers Washington. There was lots to write about this week, for example Teddy Kennedy’ seat falling to a Republican, or the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing corporations to donate unlimited funds to causes they support. Both those events portend unimaginable consequences for democracy in this country. And Ms. Eaton, a “Washington” journalist, decides to spend a few minutes pasting snippets of letters into Google and come up with a story about a letter writer. I’m sure such domesticity and small-mindedness would make Sarah Palin quite proud.
Sabrina Eaton the writer of the original article responded:
I reported the item about you over several days in the spare moments I had between writing about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, today’s presidential visit to Ohio, and other national news that affects Ohio. That’s why there was a bit of a delay between our email exchange and the publication of this item. I do have plenty of work to do. But I also thought your successful publication in multiple newspapers using multiple hometowns was newsworthy
Your emails to me did not explain how you appeared to have so many addresses. I will reproduce them below, to satisfy the curiosity of any reader who might care:
Since the original article appeared, others have have added to the Ellie Light letter list.
Patterico’s Pontifications seems to have the most comprehensive list so far.
To the dozen or so originally listed, the blog adds several dozen more, including the Stamford (Conn.) Advocate and the Gainesville (Ga.) Times. The letter has even appeared overseas, including in the Bangkok Post. And now there’s a Facebook fan page for her.
In most letters, Light claims a nearby hometown. But in letters published in two papers that have a broader audience — the Washington Times and USA Today — her address is listed as Long Beach, Calif. That’s the same city used in a letter to the Daily Breeze in California.
If the POTUS was of a different political persuasion this would be the lead story for every TV news broadcast across the country. But as of now, no one as covered it. Maybe Ellie could send them all a letter and complain.