After that post, it became clear that M. Thomas Eisenstadt (who originally started a blog named www.michaeleisenstadt.com and was referred to as "Michael") was a hoax. As was his "think tank" called "The Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy" (which seems to be a joke, being that Warren G. Harding is widely considered to be one of the worst Presidents in U.S. history).
Since then, I've been doing some sleuthing to try and find out who exactly this person is. And the road always seems to take new directions.
I'd also like to point out that I started a page (albeit a long one) that has general facts I've accumulated on this hoax: The M. Thomas Eisenstadt Chronicles.
I'd like to point out some more of what I've found out about M. Thomas Eisenstadt. First, let me start at the beginning, because for some reason, I failed to do that myself. The e-mail I received touting M. Thomas Eisenstadt's blog entry was from one Kareem Wahiri:
I thought you would appreciate this. The right wingnuts are up in arms because Dennis Hastert just joined a so-called tranny lobbying firm. I saw the post on neocon (and McCain staffer) M. Thomas Eisentstadt's blog:Me, being the simpleminded blogger I am, ran with it. Here's the part where you can tell I'm not a mainstream journalist - I made a mistake. But, at least that mistake has led to this hunt.
There is one listing for Kareem Wahiri on Google. It's a comment left at the blog Bluree:
I love bluree! But just wondering if you’d seen those fake Rudy ads on YouTube yet. I saw them mentioned in the NYTimes the other day: http://screens.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/its-tricky/ If you go to the videos, they’re really pretty frickin’ funny. Thought you’d want the tip. Keep up the great work! - KareemPreviously I had mentioned the connection between M. Thomas Eisenstadt and Abrad2345, who posted a bunch of videos designed to mock Rudy Giuliani and other Presidential candidates. While the videos were shown to support the site JoinRudy2008.com, it's fairly clear that these videos were posted by a Democrat, or at least a non-Republican. - The Abrad2345 videos mocked Rudy Giuliani relentlessly. M. Thomas Eisenstadt's posts also mocked Giuliani, and the author definitely gives off strong "faux-Conservative" vibes.
Amyway, Kareem's comment helps strengthen that connection between M. Thomas Eisenstadt (hereinafter referred to as MTE) and Abrad2345. The evidence thus far:
- At Brave New Films, all but one of ABrad2345's videos were posted by the user "Kwah." The e-mail sent to me by "Kareem Wahiri" came from the e-mail address "email@example.com."
- Kwah commented on a blog post by The DCeiver. In the comment, Kwah promotes Abrad2345's videos. Kwah writes " i guess there's a mystery behind where these ads are coming from. someone named abrad2345."
- At Source Watch, there is a user named Kwah. The user Kwah has added 10 items to Source Watch - eight of which are regarding the "Eisenstadt Group" and "The Harding Institute." The other two items Kwah added were to Republican strategist Scott Howell. One of them was to add that Howell worked for Giuliani.
- On a Blog post about Abrad2345 at ABC New's The Blotter, Kwah comments.
- On Abrad2345's YouTube page, the Website given in the profile is to the exact same story from The Blotter.
- "Kareem" comments on a post at Iowa Guy 2.0, commenting on the latest "Abrad2345 video.
- Arlen Parsa of The Daily Background was contacted by the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro when Parsa speculated that Abrad2345 was Amy Bradford of the firm Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Potholm (who were responsible for the Kerry "Swiftboat" ads of 2004). MTE wrote about how Dennis Hastert had joined Dickstein Shapiro, which was the post that Kareem Wahiri had informed me about. Dickstein Shapiro represents Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Potholm.
- MTE claimed to work for the Giuliani campaign (afterward MTE claimed to work for the McCain campaign).
- MTE mentioned Abrad2345 in detail in a blog post featuring 20 outgoing links The blog post was titled in part "The Arrogance of Inevitability."
- The sockpuppet "Jummy" commented on the post by Parsa regarding Abrad2345.
- "Jummy" posted a comment at the Washington Post blog, inserting Abrad2345 into the conversation.
- "Jummy" has also posted a typical comment for MTE at Welcome to Pottersville.
- Parsa points to the MySpace page of one "Public Persuasion" as actually being Amy Bradford. Public Persuasion links to the abrad2345 site, and writes in a style much like MTE. Also like MTE, Public Persuasion is a big Debbie Schlussel fan.
- After the posting of my original blog post regarding Hastert, a commenter named "Reklin" posted about it at BradBlog. Making the Dickstein-Abrad2345 connection before I did.
- The MTE sockpuppet "ronald" posted a comment at Crooks & Liars. In the comment, "Ronald" links his name to an abrad2345 video.
- "ronald" left a comment on an L.A. Times Blog, mentioning Giuliani and the Abrad2345 blogs, and again linking his name to an Abrad2345 video. This appearance by "ronald" predates the one at Crooks and Liars by approximately six months.
- "Ronald" left a comment at Democratic Daily, again touting the Abrad2345 videos.
- Last Abrad2345 video posted: November 5, 2007
- First MTE post: Nov. 19, 2007 (BTW: If you notice, the post has the title "The Server Died" but looking at the URL, it's original title was "Hello World.")
- Both Abrad2345 and MTE employee sexist, racist and homophobic language.
- When Hardball with Chris Matthews ran a contest for the best viral video a press release was posted on FreePressRelease.com stating that Abrad2345 was the winner. Apparently, that press release was a hoax.
- When the fictional MTE announced that fictional employee "Eli Perle" had left the fictional Eisenstadt Group to join the fictional "Provocation Entertainment" it was publicized in great part with FreePressRelease.com.
(Note: Provocation Entertainment, The Eisenstadt Group and The Harding Institute all share the same IP address. Also, the Web site for Provocation Entertainment has the exact same layout as the former michaeleisenstadt.com site)
- A commenter named "rob" commented on the blog Dullard Mush, bringing up abrad2345 when it had not been mentioned at all in the post. "rob" made the exact same comment at Monsters and Critics, The Caucus at NYT, FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog, and numerous other blogs.
- A commenter named "rob" commented on a post at The American Scene, bringing up MTE when it had not been mentioned at all in the post. This post by "Rob" was typical of many MTE sockpuppet comments.
There is more circumstantial evidence out there to find, and I'll find it. As of now, it's looking very likely that M. Thomas Eisenstadt is Abrad2345 in text form. Of course, that still doesn't answer who it actually is. But we're getting there.
And something tells me that perhaps, just perhaps, someone named Marnie Vander Helsing may play a role in all of this. More on that to come.