Quagmire: Sock Puppet Theater III

posted at 10:51 am on July 22, 2006 by Bryan

Ace has found yet another sock with button eyes and lipstick lips defending Glenn Greenwald. But there’s a twist this time–“Rick Ellensburg” made Greenwald’s arguments before Greenwald himself made them (er, in his own name).

The Magic Boyfriend theory–that a housemate of Greenwald’s posted all these comments in all these names–doesn’t really work if one of the puppets made arguments Greenwald himself hadn’t made yet, but did make within a fairly short timeframe. And that’s what Ace has found.

I’m going to borrow a Greenwaldian construction and say,

To recap: Five different names posted from Greenwald’s IP, defending him using similar syntax and structure, and often between posts and comments made under Greenwald’s own name, across several blogs criticizing Greenwald. And we know that Greenwald is fairly obsessive about checking in on blogs criticizing him and shouting back (which is typical of a fairly new blogger who is unaccustomed to seeing one’s name and arguments shredded with glee, and Greenwald has only been blogging for about 9 months). In one case, the gap between Greenwald and a sock puppet commenting is 9 minutes. In another, the gap is 20 minutes. If you’re only concerned with the IP and the gaps, it’s possible that a housemate posted the comments. If there’s more than one computer on the router in the house, it’s even possible for comments and posts under more than one name to be posted nearly simultaneously. It’s possible. But what the above locks in is that all of the identities are posting to several blogs–blogs Greenwald definitely reads–from the same house, if not necessarily from the same computer.

But then, there’s the syntax argument–that the sock puppets and Greenwald deploy similar arguments in similar styles to the point that they all appear to be the same person. Ace has shown that that argument holds up very well. Writing style is a very individual thing; very few people share blog reading habits, similar reactions to criticism, and then follow on with similar writing styles to rebut criticism.

Greenwald has yet to offer a serious defense, conceding that the comments came from his house and insinuating that a housemate posted them. He hasn’t explained the short gaps between comments or the fact that the puppets and he share writing styles, the latter of which casts some strong doubt on Greenwald’s assertion that a housemate posted the comments. Thus far, Greenwald’s defense is not good enough. It doesn’t meet all of the charges against him, and concedes the one fact that aims the entire case at his own home. As a lawyer, Greenwald surely knows that no jury would see his defense so far as anything more than a perfunctory case offered by a disinterested advocate who knows his client is hiding something.

If I’m on the jury, at this point I convict based on the circumstantial case: Greenwald is guilty of sock puppetry.

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Would this make Greenwald a sock puppet? A sock puppet’s sock puppet?

Perchant on July 22, 2006 at 11:11 AM

This is giving me a headache so I am going shopping.

labwrs on July 22, 2006 at 11:57 AM

I imagine someone’s already made this point, but if these “other” folks defending Glen are real, why hasn’t any of them noticed the buzz and come forward to explain?

mikeyboss on July 22, 2006 at 12:39 PM

No one’s made that point that I’ve seen or read, but it has occurred to me.

Bryan on July 22, 2006 at 1:14 PM

I imagine someone’s already made this point, but if these “other” folks defending Glen are real, why hasn’t any of them noticed the buzz and come forward to explain?

Probably because Glenn has been hogging the computer….

Glenn Greenwald — a legend in his own mind.

Bill M on July 22, 2006 at 2:50 PM

In fact, as the Confederate Yankee notes in his in-debth analysis, the similarity of writing style was the thing that broke the story. A person who had no knowledge of the IP addresses the statements were posted from is the guy who got Ace, Reihl, and Petterico examining IP’s.

So while the identical IP addresses don’t prove anything conclusively, they certainly give support to the original hypothesis that ‘all these people write the same, so they probably are the same person.’

Kevin M on July 22, 2006 at 6:12 PM

Test… is this thing on? I think my post got chomped.

Kevin M on July 22, 2006 at 8:51 PM


Or perhaps … d’oh!

Professor Blather on July 23, 2006 at 3:16 AM

I’d like to know why the Magic Boyfriend would feel the need to use full false names like Thomas Ellers and Rick Ellensburg in addition to the other nics.

Actually, no. I wouldn’t like to know because I already do. The comments are made by someone trying to appear as someone that they are not. That someone is Glenn Greenwald.

Note the both of those names make no blogospheric appearances anywhere other than in these Greenwald items.

Pablo on July 23, 2006 at 5:51 AM

Between Deb Frisch, Glenn Greenwald, Doug Thompson and “William D. McTavish, registered republican and Vietnam Veteran,” left-leaning loudmouths are the gifts that keep on giving.

w3bgrrl on July 23, 2006 at 10:55 AM

Greenwald typifies what liberals and Democrats have been doing for decades.

Remember when Democrats used to run on the meme “Republicans are trying to kill or starve the elderly and poor kids” for *DARING* to advocate welfare reform?

Nothing has changed. Liberals and Democrats STILL use “The Big Lie” as a propaganda tool. Greenwald is just using a blog instead of media sound-bites others use to slander Republicans and conservatives whenever and where ever they can.

As Rick Moran at put it:

To call a liberal or liberal ideas “evil” does not in the slightest imply that the purveyor of the idea should be “eliminated.” And yet, such a construct is used routinely on the left in order to stifle debate on an issue that they do not wish to discuss or that they want to turn the tables on their conservative interlocutor in such a way as to delegitimize their critique.

Accusing a liberal of “treason” or of being a “traitor” may be hyperbole but it is not hate speech. I find it fascinating that liberals would be so touchy about being tarred with these epithets seeing that they find they words “patriotism” and “patriot” so problematic, “the last refuge of scoundrels” being a common add-on whenever the terms are used.

In short, the use of this made up word has become a convenient way for the left to ascribe almost criminal behavior to the right. It even extends to the use of humor and satire. The most recent kerfluffle involves Glenn Greenwald’s spectacularly ignorant take on “violence inciting” rhetoric used by the right.

It is perhaps de rigeur of moronic nincompoops like Glenn Greenwald that a kind of grim humorlessness permeates their writing. Portraying conservatives as homicidal racists or thuggish homophobes is serious, exhausting work. No time for laughter. No room for humor. The very concepts are alien, as if cracking a smile will cause an immediate and irreversible case of the jollies. Joking about “hanging journalists” or judges, or liberals for that matter is cause for an outpouring of the most hysterical, over the top, exaggerated, laughably overwrought spleen venting screeds imaginable.

Greenwald is being deceitful on more than one level, not just through his use of sock puppets but through the use of the “Big Lie.”

And this is much more dangerous than sock puppetry, IMHO. I think it is more important to continue to denounce his message as the group slander it is.

In her book, Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right, Ann Coulter (who is right more often than she is wrong) wrote:

“What liberals normally do in response to a principled conservative argument is lie, manufacture quotes, and call conservatives names”

Greenwald’s behavior is just an extension of the “same-old, same-old.”

georgej on July 23, 2006 at 2:50 PM

Well I think you’re being terribly unfair to a nice man and a great American!


Green Glenwald.

heldmyw on July 24, 2006 at 10:27 AM

Mr. Chairman! Point of order! I am not now nor I have ever been a Glenn Greenwald Sock Puppet.

pjcomix on July 24, 2006 at 11:21 AM

Nice summary, A. Concise, readable, factual, and humorous.

You know, you should be a lawyer or something.

commissar on July 25, 2006 at 11:07 AM