Ellie Light is an extraordinary person. Listing Philadelphia, Pa., as her hometown, she had a letter to the editor printed in the Philadelphia Daily News a few days ago. In her letter, she praised President Barack Obama and blamed the nation’s woes on former President George W. Bush. Fair enough. The letters to the editor section of a newspaper is where ordinary people go to vent and opine.

However, Ellie Light is not ordinary. At about the same time that the Philadelphia letter was published, a virtually identical letter was printed in the San Francisco Examiner. This also was submitted by Ellie Light, who listed San Francisco as her hometown. Similar letters appeared in papers in Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas, Michigan and South Carolina, all submitted by Ellie Light, who listed her hometown as the city where the newspaper was located. In fact, the Bangor Daily News published this same letter. It was sent in by (you guessed it) Ellie Light of Bangor.

It wasn’t until a suspicious reporter from the Cleveland Plain Dealer investigated further that the scam was uncovered. By then, Light’s letter made it into some 42 newspapers.

Now that this has come to light, I wonder how many scammed newspapers have printed a retraction or an explanation as to how this could have happened. And I wonder what can be done in the future to keep letters to the editor from being used by political operatives looking for free advertising for their candidate or cause.

Don Stickney, Auburn

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