Sock-puppetry

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comments on the apparent sock-puppetry of one Glenn Greenwald, a liberal blogger who under his own name has been writing disparaging things about Reynolds. If you follow the links, I think you'll find the evidence that Greenwald is indulging in sock-puppetry pretty convincing. Here's Reynolds's conclusion: Sock-puppetry is, I think, a venial sin. But a revealing one. And it makes me wonder if I was unfair to Greenwald's readers when I complained about the lame emailsE-mails I get whenever he publishes my address. Maybe those E-mails emails are all really from Greenwald. . . .

Here's another example, in which blogger Patterico (an assistant L.A. district attorney named Patrick Frey) nails Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik for sock-puppetry. What's the problem with this? Here's Patterico:

Why does this matter--or does it? After all, I'm obviously not objecting to use of pseudonyms by bloggers and blog commenters. How could I be? I mean, you're reading a post by someone who calls himself "Patterico." And, while I made the decision to make my real name public long ago (it's Patrick Frey), many of my commenters use pseudonyms. So what's the big deal?

Here's the thing. I am actually a strong defender of people's right to comment anonymously, or pseudonymously. I myself was semi-pseudonymous for the first several months of this blog. But I don't think that commenters should use pseudonyms to pretend to be something or somebody they aren't. What's surprising about these cases of sock-puppetry is that both Greenwald and Hiltzik have impressive credentials. Greenwald is (as his apparent sock puppet doesn't get tired of pointing out) a lawyer who worked for a top firm and the author of a bestselling book. Hiltzik was a columnist for the Times for 11 years and won a Pulitzer Prize. Yet both apparently went to the considerable trouble of inventing a false second identity in order to write comments praising their own work or assailing their detractors. And then they spent a lot of time writing those comments. Pathetic. Don't they have anything better to do with their time?

Both Greenwald and Hiltzik are political liberals. But I suspect that you could find sock-puppetry on the political right as well.

The following is not, I assure you, an instance of sock-puppetry. I don't know Oswald Sobrino, but he is not my sock puppet.