Friday, February 2, 2007

What’s with San Fran???

It’s bad enough that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s embroiled in a sordid affair with a married staff member, whose husband confronted him the other day, but now we have the spectacle of Newsom’s Press Secretary, Peter Ragone (pictured left) deluging a local San Fran news website with posts that lavish praise on his boss and attack the likes of ABC-7 reporter Dan Noyes, and others who’ve been critical of Newsom of late.

Ragone didn’t post under his own name, of course, he was far more kwevare than that. No, he posted under the name of “John Nelson.”

Of course this practice, reviled across this maze of tubes called “the internets,” is known as “sock puppetry.”

And of course Mr. Nels...I mean Mr. Ragone vigorously denies the charge of “sock puppetry.” He even went further, insisting that John Nelson was not only real, but “a close family friend,” not to mention one hell of a straight man for Barbara Eden in I Dream of Genie.

As some have noted, Mr. Nelson must be a very, very close, personal friend of Ragone’s given that many of the messages were posted from Peter Ragone’s home before 8 am!

To that, Ragone responded, "What can I say, we had a nerd attack.”

Do tell!

John Shurkin at the Sfist blog ( put it this way, “What's this all mean? Well, based on all this, we think it’s entirely possible that Peter has created a sock puppet. In other words, he's pretending to be somebody he's not, to defend Gavin. Which isn't illegal or against any sort of campaign rules or anything. It's just a bit, well -- cheesy. However, it's certainly ethically questionable, and most PR people know better than to pull anything like that. Not to mention a little sad that Team Gavin is so desperate to find somebody who can say nice things about him that they’ve had to make up people.”

Ace over at Ace of Spades HQ ( is even less forgiving, “Obviously posting under a fake name isn't a problem in itself. It's pretty creepy for a political consultant to do this anonymously on behalf of his boss, though. And blaming it on an imaginary friend is utterly pathetic.

“But I like the "nerd attack" line. Sounds like Louis and Gilbert put a protractor to his throat.”

Who knew that San Fran was so dysfunctional?

Oh wait a minute...never mind.

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