Tuesday’s Huntsville Times published an “Editor’s note”:
Yep, we got had.
Several readers brought to our attention that a letter to the editor we published Saturday was part of a mass letter-writing scam.
The pro-President Obama letters signed by Ellie J. Light have appeared in scores of newspapers across the country, all purporting a local address.
It shouldn’t have happened, but it did and we regret it. Upon receiving Light’s letter with only a signature, we e-mailed Light seeking identification information, which is typical of any letter that we receive that doesn’t have all the detail we require. Light falsely reported to us a Huntsville address and zip code.
Thanks to the Times for informing their readers about the scam. To the Times Editor who wrote the note – nice touch – you didn’t apologize, which is entirely appropriate – you acknowledged the problem and provided some details of your process.
I’m sure that The Times will review the “letter to the editor” process and make whatever improvements they think best. Consider the following admission when reviewing the authentication process:
Reader ‘ivan’ admits that he scams newspapers using sockpuppets:
During campaigns, i sometimes draft letters for others to recast or adapt and send to the paper(s)… I did have some success in Parker’s [Griffith] campaign — his publicity man was good at getting letter signer-senders.