Three days ago, NewsBusters contributor Candance Moore wrote about pro-Obama letter-to-the-editor spammer "Ellie Light" who had duped some 40+ papers (the number stands at 68 now), into publishing nearly identical letters that praised the president. In each case, the writer claimed to hail from cities or towns served by the local newspaper's print circulation.
Today, Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom" had Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell on for comment.
Write-the-editor campaigns are a classic tactic of political campaigning, Bozell noted, saying he couldn't blame pro-Obama organizers for attempting it. The real problem is with sloppy newspapers that failed to verify the authenticity of the letter writer's identity and residence (audio available here). Said Bozell:
This tactic is as old as politics itself.... This is part of the Obama machine... this isn't a concerned citizen doing this.... But the onus is on the newspaper. What everyone is overlooking is the sloppiness, the recklessness, of these newspapers. These newspapers are supposed to vet these letters, and check them out to make sure that they're authentic and that they're local citizens.
So what you've got is the Obama campaign in one form or another openly using newspapers around the country to promote its message, and the newspapers allowing it. That's the problem.