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Arizona’s Education Chief Caught Blog-Trolling From His Work Computer

2014-06-25

I post this because it’s funny, and I have never before heard of an elected official of any party referred to as a “blog troll.”

First, if you don’t already know, a “blog troll” is someone who posts comments on a blog that are inflammatory and repetitive.  They’re like pornography: easy to recognize, hard to describe.  What makes Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal a blog troll is that he has been outed as the author of numerous comments on both left and right wing blogs that are truly obnoxious; what makes him a perpetrator of sock puppets is that he has used multiple pseudonyms to make these comments and refers to himself in the third person in some of these comments.  A “sock puppet” is a pseudonymous entity, usually multiple, that is created to give the impression of popular support or disdain for an issue.  Apparently, even the Republican Party of Arizona doesn’t like him; he was once a member of the Arizona State Senate but apparently couldn’t keep that post, or alternatively, make the usual move up to US Representative.

Here is a reference to one of the blogs that outed him: http://crooksandliars.com/2014/06/az-education-chief-caught-trolling-blog  As best I can find, Blog for Arizona’s Robert Lord originally broke the story after doing some legwork that involved looking up email addresses and Internet Protocol addresses.  Surprise: Mr. Huppenthal even used an Arizona Department of Education computer to write some of his comments.  Some of his comments go back to November 2, 2010 (election day for his post at the Dep’t of Ed.)

This gentleman has done a number of obnoxious things, as revealed in the above reference, including engaging in a wrestling match with an elderly woman over a campaign sign.  In his pseudonymous comments, he called people who were on public assistance “lazy pigs” and claimed that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was directly responsible for the Great Depression and the rise of Adolf Hitler.

One of his more annoying offences was using robocalls when he was a State Senator.  A voter who didn’t appreciate these automated phone calls looked up his email address and sent him an email requesting that his name be removed from the list of callees.  Mr. Huppenthal responded by calling him personally to try to debate him.  The voter, who wasn’t even in the man’s district, was forced to put a “do not call” on him to stop the daily robocalls.

Huppenthal is still using robocalls; in one instance recently, he recorded a call for the Arizona Alliance for School Choice (a pro-private or charter school organization) that was sent out to telephones in zip codes that had low-rated schools.  In this instance, he was endorsing a position that benefited private schools while being Superintendent of Public Instruction, a position that suggests that Republicans are getting elected in order to destroy the government.

So, we apparently have a first: an elected official who is also a blog troll and a sock puppet manager.  The fact that he’s extreme right wing just makes it funnier.  Someone please rescue me with a reference to a left wing elected blog troll.  Please.

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