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Blame It On Rio

There's been a dustup over comments made in support of popular liberal blogger Glenn Greenwald on several conservative sites. If you want to wade through the details you can check out the activity at Ace Of Spades, Patterico's Pontifications, Riehl World View, and HotAir. The contention is that Glenn has engaged in sock puppetry - assuming different identities to leave comments in support of the oneself - a charge he denies.

First, I've seen the post linked about called things like, 'nasty vile attacks' and other similar characterizations. I take issue with that. I've seen sites combing through Greenwald's bio (he's the author of a book on The New York Times bestseller list right now) and asking question, which is a bit different that digging into the background of Joe/Jane Q. Blogger. Greenwald is on a promotional arc toward the liberal pundit class, and in that regard his background and experiences are every bit as relevant as someone like Ann Coulter's are.*

Anyway the whole exercise is makes for mildly entertaining reading, but the gist of the charge today - that the a single comment, from a single IP address (at Patterico's Pontifications) positively "identifies" Greenwald and matches to comments from the same address under different names - doesn't quite jib with some extra facts I have at my disposal.

I had an e-mail exchange with Glenn last fall, and re-examining the message headers indicate that they were Brazilian in origin (but from a different ISP), and a comment left here last week by Glenn does not match the IP address published at Patric's site, though it is from the same Brazilian ISP (NET Servios de Comunicao S.A.).

What does that all mean?

My best guess is that Greenwald has a Wi-Fi enabled laptop and moves around the country on occasion, and the IP address published (supposedly belonging to Glenn) is actually the one assigned (via DHCP) to the wireless router in the house he stays at in Brazil. As with any setup like that, the same address is shared by all computers behind the router. When the router is rebooted the ISP may (or may not) assign a different IP address to the router for the duration of the session.

The issue is addressed by Greenwald today in this post at Unclaimed Territory.

A new accusation is that I've been engaging in so-called "sock puppetry" by leaving comments in response to posts that attack me under other names., i.e., that I use multiple names to comment and the same comment was left at several blogs by the same IP address under different names.

Not frequently, I leave comments at blogs which criticize or respond to something I have written. I always, in every single instance, use my own name when doing so. I have never left a single comment at any other blog using any name other than my own, at least not since I began blogging. IP addresses signify the Internet account one uses, not any one individual. Those in the same household have the same IP address. In response to the personal attacks that have been oozing forth these last couple of weeks, others have left comments responding to them and correcting the factual inaccuracies, as have I. In each case when I did, I have used my own name.

Later Greenwald indicates that he is in a committed relationship with a Brazilian man named David, and that he splits his time between New York and Brazil. It's seems likely that Greenwald would be living with his partner when he is in Brazil. Whether David has additional roommates is not indicated.

Working from the assumption that the IP address presented at Patrick's site is from the house where Glenn resides when in Brazil, and taking Glenn at his word with regard to the commenting, the only logical (and likely) explanation is that his partner is the sock puppet**, i.e. Ellison, Wilson, Sam Mathews, Thomas Ellers, etc. In fact he all but admits it in the comment section:

What I said was that I do not write anything on blogs other than under my own name. I don't care if others do, and if someone leaving comments under different names is the golden ring that right-wing bloggers think they've discovered, that is a pretty good reflection of how barren these attacks are.

With Glenn denying the charge the multi-personality, commenting machine that trolls posts on conservative blogs appears to be his Brazilian lover David.

Blame it on Rio...


Note: Whatever the actual situation may be, Glenn's post does make for an interesting read as a mini-biography. Perhaps I'm in the decided minority, but I've always found Greenwald to be one of the more civil and engaging of the superstars of the left.***


Updates:

* In relation to the sock puppet issue I didn't notice anything excessively nasty, but YMMV...

** It's unclear whether the partner of a blogger counts in the calculus of sock puppetry. None of the sites require authenticated access for commenting so changing identities, while frowned upon by all regular comment section participants (regardless of ideology), is as easy as typing in a different name. Those new to the blogosphere wouldn't necessarily be familiar with the code of honor expected to be followed on sites with open commenting systems - that you pick an identity and stick with it. Goodness knows we've had the occasional problem here with that...

As an intimate of Glenn's, one would assume David is highly motivated to defend his work, and may even have been leaving the comments without Glenn's knowledge... until now. There was a case several years ago where the young daughter of a blogger left a nasty comment on a site that had been warring with her blogging parent. That turned out spectacularly bad, as someone decided that they'd sick CPS on the blogging parent, who hadn't even realized that the child was following the links in the browsers history (on the family computer) to follow the blog war.

All that is to say that there's hardly anything new in the blogosphere. Stuff like this was happening long before any of the actors in this drama arrived on the scene, though in those cases the blogs were usually personal in nature.

*** With bloggers on both sides, someone is usually able to cite some present or past offense. I took issue with Glenn on the subject of retractions recently. The genesis of the current flame war between the linked sites seems to arisen during that period. When it comes to civility in the blogosphere as it relates to everyday civility I'm reminded of the objection to labeling football as a contact sport; dancing is a contact sport, football is a collision sport...


Finally, Steven Taylor of PoliBlog makes a pretty persuasive case that Occam's Razor points to the partner.


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» Outside The Beltway | OTB linked with Glenn Greenwald’s IP Address Stolen

Comments (20)

Hey, a sane look at this si... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Hey, a sane look at this silly little blogwar, contrasting the laughably pathetic behavior of Pat, Ace, and Dan. Nicely done, Kevin.

Yesterday, the civil and en... (Below threshold)
John:

Yesterday, the civil and engaging Mr. Greenwald tried to lay the smackdown on the entire right side of the blogoshpere. He labelled content at Malkin's site "hate mongering" and also smeared LGF, Protein Wisdom and several others. He was basically calling for more MSM scrutiny of right-wing blogs. How about MSM scrutiny of Glenn Greenwald first.

Anyway the whole exercis... (Below threshold)

Anyway the whole exercise is makes for mildly entertaining reading, but the gist of the charge today - that the a single comment, from a single IP address, at Patterico's Pontifications positively "identifies" Greenwald and matches to comments from the same address under different names - doesn't quite jib with some extra facts I have at my disposal.

Actually, it's several fairly-similar sounding posts, from several "different people," all defending Greenwald, from the IP.

From "Hot Air":

Patterico finds three, count 'em three, different entities praising Mr. Greenwald over at Ace's site, Riehl World and Jeff Goldstein's blog, using remarkably similar language. And like Greenwald and "Ellison," these three share the same IP address.

The technical term here is "busted."

If he is one of the more "c... (Below threshold)
_Jon:

If he is one of the more "civil and engaging", then I'd rather not engage. Review Instapundit's archives for the crass treatment from Greenwald and the mass e-mail storms that Greenwald has initiated.

If he's one of the "lefts" best, then that explains why I can't find a decent website to present good, rational, well-thought-out perspectives on the opinions of people holding those views.

I don't understand why Davi... (Below threshold)
not glenn greenwald:

I don't understand why David felt the need to comment under several names. I mean, what's so wrong in commenting simply as David, no matter where he was? Why create the illusion of some vast left wing insurgency?

I just don't get it.

Glenn Beck

The technical term here ... (Below threshold)
Back from Iraq:

The technical term here is "busted."

You obviously haven't been paying attention.

And, it should be noted that Greenwald has never been one who was shy about tooting his own horn.

So, the idea that his ego would construct a bunch of "sock puppets" to do so is pretty far fetched.

It appears that Greenwald's partner is "busted".

What is a bit embarrassing is the zeal with which so many have jumped on this band wagon.

Especially considering that our boys are still fighting and dying in Iraq, and the situation in Lebanon is declining...

Come on people. This silliness is just over the top and so transparent it makes me blush.

And you believed him? Bwaha... (Below threshold)

And you believed him? Bwahahahahahaha!!!! The writing styles are identical.

Criticism by people who wri... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Criticism by people who write "Bwahahahahahaha!!!!" should always be taken seriously.

I've always found Green... (Below threshold)

I've always found Greenwald to be one of the more civil and engaging of the superstars of the left.

You are entitled to your opinion but I'm not sure we're both reading the same person.

He has called the right wing blogosphere, "lawless," "violence inciting," "authoritarian," not to mention his frequent personal attacks on the integrity and intelligence of numerous bloggers. If that's not personal, I'm not quite sure what is.

In addition, his claims to political centrism are so laughably baseless it's a wonder anyone believes him anymore. In short, he's a despicable, lying, serial exaggerator who gets hysterical if the right doesn't condemn the latest tasteless joke from the Coulters-Limbaughs-Savages or anyone else for that matter.

I'm sick to death of his constant personal assaults on conservatives.

Rick, from your post today:... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Rick, from your post today:

In the end, however, he's not worth the trouble. For all the work done by the bloggers I linked above, the fact of the matter is that Greenwald's kind is a dime a dozen on the left.....In essence, Greenwald isn't worth it.

From two days ago

I'm with Dan Riehl. I've had it with this guy....Delusional, a fantasist, and as Patterico has pointed out, an out and out liar, I am sick to death of him.

Yet you continue to write about him. Patterico stated a week ago that he was done with Greenwald; he has written 5 posts on him since. Dan Riehl did the same thing. You guys keep on claiming you are tired of this crazy and irrelevant blogger, but you just can't get enough, can you? Could it be you like the traffic you get from Greenwald, maybe? Oh, that's right, he hasn't linked to you yet. Maybe on your next post. Oh wait, you're done with him, he's not worth it, right?

You obviously haven't be... (Below threshold)

You obviously haven't been paying attention.

Actually, I have. And even though he's starting to fall back on the "my roommate did it" excuse, it's still pretty obviously him (stylistic considerations alone should clue you in). Multiple postings, multiple sock puppets, the same IP. Unless he gets someone from his own household to admit they did it, it's squarely in his court right now.

And, it should be noted that Greenwald has never been one who was shy about tooting his own horn.
So, the idea that his ego would construct a bunch of "sock puppets" to do so is pretty far fetched.

Funny - over the last 18 years of so that I've been on the Internet, it's almost always been the ones with the biggest egos that got caught doing the sock puppet tango. Greenwald is a prime candidate for this sort of thing, even barring the plain evidence that got him caught.

Especially considering t... (Below threshold)

Especially considering that our boys are still fighting and dying in Iraq, and the situation in Lebanon is declining...

This is pure nonsense...we don't have "boys" fighting in Iraq...they are MEN. Men and Women...they are not "our kids over there", nor are they our "boys and girls".

I did a fair amount of comm... (Below threshold)
BumperStickerist:

I did a fair amount of commmenting over at Riehl's and Xrlq's sites about Greenwald's CV. One of the people who share Glenn's IP addressed emailed him my 'accusation' and Glenn provided the basic information to answer the question raised by the CV.

fwiw, the impetus to do about half an hour's worth of clicking was specific to the timeline on Glenn's CV.

Look, Glenn's a fascinating character in the blogosphere.

Glenn's legal analysis is crap (if you go back and review Glenn's archives you'll find them chockablock with 'Dire Predictions' that never come to pass.)

And his analysis about the RightWing Blogosphere would be laughable if it weren't so ... no, wait, it is laughable. And not in the 'I'm being ironic and nervous because Glenn's astuteness has cut us to the quick' way.

His fears are decidedly ungrounded, imo. And his views are quickly becoming unhinged. Yet he is the rising star of the lefty blogosphere and many, many liberals and lefties and progressives and howevermanyothergroupsthereare think Glenn's Their Guy as evidenced by his blog traffic and his book sales.

I admire Glenn's ability to get paid for that given his rather thin credentials to be a ConLaw Litigator of Note and, so far as I've seen, Glenn's done nothing to merit our consideration as a Legal Scholar at All.

However, when you judge Glenn's writings on their merits, he whines about being attacked and invokes that nifty phrase 'eliminationist rhetoric' like it makes his argument.

His laundry list of rightwing blog cites to his argument is silly, his fears are ungrounded. Yet Glenn remains distinctly afraid - if not for himself, for ...something, hell, it's all potentiality with Greenwald, never something actual.

At best, Glenn's become Eric Alterman, without Altmerman's charm.

Refreshing post on this sub... (Below threshold)
Ken:

Refreshing post on this subject for a change. Kudos!

Good post Kevin. Glenn and ... (Below threshold)

Good post Kevin. Glenn and I started blogging right about the same time. I found his blog in the very begginning and we disagreed on most everything from the very start.

I also like Glenn and we have had several email exchanges.

He did piss me off the other day when he called me a coward on my blog but he has always used his own name when commenting there.

I have a brief history here

May be it's my affinity for... (Below threshold)

May be it's my affinity for mindless humor, but this has been freaking hilarious. I don't care about the right and wrong of it, it's funny.

Criticism from people who s... (Below threshold)

Criticism from people who start sentences with "Oh, that's right" and "Oh wait" should always be taken seriouisly.

Ouch. Good one.... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ouch. Good one.

Anyway the whole exercis... (Below threshold)

Anyway the whole exercise is makes for mildly entertaining reading, but the gist of the charge today - that the a single comment, from a single IP address (at Patterico's Pontifications) positively "identifies" Greenwald and matches to comments from the same address under different names - doesn't quite jib with some extra facts I have at my disposal.

Yeah, that doesn't quite jibe with the actual evidence, which is far more overwhelming than you have described it.

Unfortunately, I've been unable to spend much time at the computer since the story broke, to help set the record straight. I'll try to do that this weekend.

P.S. All your commenters criticizing me here can't seem to stop talking about me. They must be obsessed with me. It shows I'm getting to them.

(Warning: Previous paragraph may be parody.)

By the way, Paul declared t... (Below threshold)

By the way, Paul declared that I was trying to distance myself from this, then closed comments. So I'll just declare here that I'm not trying to distance myself from anything. My post made no specific accusation of sock-puppetry, but presented plenty of evidence of it. As I see it, the case is not conclusive and wasn't to begin with -- but it was *highly* curious, at a minimum. And in my view, the evidence has done nothing but grow over the past couple of days.




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