Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who is Ellie Light and is there a Goebbels in the Obama Administration?

A couple of days ago the Cleveland Plain Dealer broke the story of Ellie Light.  Ms. Light managed to get nearly identical letters published in four dozen different newspapers in over two dozen states while claiming to be a resident in each area that published s letter.  No small feat, unless of course "she" had help.

The story was picked up by Patterico's Pontifications and it was off to the races.  Dan Riehl, working off a tip from The Left Coast Rebel has found a possible connection between Ellie Light and the White House.  Why am I not shocked?

In Don't worry, it's for your own good I quoted Glenn Greenwald:

Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama's closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama's head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs." In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent" advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites -- as well as other activist groups -- which advocate views that Sunstein deems "false conspiracy theories" about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens' faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper's abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.

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). This program would target those advocating false "conspiracy theories," which they define to mean: "an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role." Sunstein's 2008 paper was flagged by this blogger, and then amplified in an excellent report by Raw Story's Daniel Tencer.
 So, is Cass Sunstein Obama's Joseph Goebbels?  And what does this say about the publications who published the "Ellie Light" letters?

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