What is a sockpuppet? I'm glad you asked. I'm not an authority, but as near as I can tell, sock puppets come in two types.
Type #1 is someone who writes a post on his/her blog, then makes comments about the post under different names and/or handles, to make it seem as if a lot of people agree with him/her. And, secondarily, to make it seem that there's more traffic on the blog than there actually is.
Type #2 is someone who goes to somebody else's blog and leaves a comment, perhaps under his/her own name or handle, then later returns and leaves more comments under different names and/or handles, all supporting his/her original comment. So why does this matter enough for me to post about it? Enter Glenn Greenwald, alleged moderate activist.
Greenwald operates a blog called Unclaimed Territory
, an example of why paying writers by the word is a really bad idea. He's also written a book called How Would A Patriot Act?
, which, according to the New York Times is selling quite briskly. Never mind the fact that Greenwald these days is more an expatriate than patriot, spending much of his time with his boyfriend living in Brazil.
A number of conservative bloggers, most notably Ace
at Ace of Spades HQ and Patterico
have accused Greenwald of Type #2 sock puppetry, based on the fact that a number of comments were left at their blogs, both by Greenwald and by commenters using other names, that defended Greenwald from attacks by Ace and Patterico, with all of the comments coming from the same IP address - Greenwald's
- in Brazil.
Now Greenwald doesn't deny that the comments were made from his IP address. He does deny making any comments that weren't posted under his name, saying that they must have been posted without his knowledge or approval by his boyfriend or a visitor to his house. Interestingly enough, two of bloggerdom's brighter and more conservative lights, Kevin Aylward
, both at Wizbang!
, have bought, or at least not discounted this explanation, saying it's impossible to prove or disprove. This is probably true, but it hasn't prevented a rather nasty kerfuffle between Ace and Paul. What I'd like to know is why.
So Greenwald is probably lying. Well, duh!
Liberals lie all the time, to themselves if no one else. They have to. It's the only way they can buy the "progressive" line on such things as capitalism being the root of all evil, that it's better to negotiate with rather than defend yourself from
fanatics who refuse to acknowledge your right to exist , and quasi-socialist government being the savior of the species. If they didn't lie, the cognitive dissonance would drive them insane. And that 's why I can't understand why everybody's getting so worked up about it.
Just report it and move on. Save your outrage and flame wars for when you catch him and the rest of the progessive movement in important
lies. Believe me, it'll save you a lot of heartburn. And Tagamet isn't cheap.Update:
I edited the fifth paragraph to make it clearer that I was talking about Greenwald's IP address in that paragraph. I also added the phrase "rather than defend yourself from" to the seventh paragraph after the word "negotiate" to better explain what I think is the logical alternative. All changes are in bold script. Changes made @ 5:03 PM, 7-23-2006Update #2: This
is at Wuzzadem. h/t to: Patterico
, via Ace
Wizbang! and Decision '08.