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    Posted September 12, 2012 by
    sluzon
    Location
    Achenheim, France

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    Robert Eringer : The revolutionary who never was

     
    If the TV images of the Arab Spring taught us one thing, it was that change could only be brought to a country by the people within. This historic insight is however lost on a dubious Californian blogger: Robert Eringer says he wants to start a revolution and throw out the tyrants of the world, but his narcissistic rants are about as helpful as having Sarah Palin on your side. His latest subject, Vladimir Putin, has nothing to worry about; if anything, Eringer’s rants play into his hands.


    On the face of it, Eringer would probably have been able if not to start a revolution, at least infiltrate the enemy. During his eclectic career he did just that for various tabloids, and later worked for the CIA. After his main contact was discharged from the service, Eringer continued to work as a private investigator, and later used his insight for spy novels. While he was not a great success by any stretch of the imagination, he should have collected contacts and skills useful at least for a mid-sized uprising.

    However, instead of focusing on the enemy, he developed narcissistic traits that lost him almost his entire readership (visitor numbers on his blog are down 90% year-on-year). The toxic blog eringer33.com, under the title Monaco Intelligence, was set up to publish libellous stories about Prince Albert II of Monaco, for whom Eringer had worked for around two years. It is not clear what happened between them, but Eringer claims his last invoice was not paid and Albert no longer returned his calls. Eringer took to his blog to show himself as the insider and Albert as a corrupt womaniser. The Monegasque leader eventually sued Eringer comprehensively for defamation, and won last year in a French court. It was around the time of this lawsuit that Eringer developed a death wish – not for him, but for the “tyrants” of the world. He focused his poisonous pen on an obsessive campaign against Putin, hoping to spark a revolution that would overturn his leadership. Ironically, the death wish was fulfilled - but for his blog, which has lost readers in line with the increase of Putin posts, and now exists virtually free of visitors.

    “It is clear from his writings that Eringer doesn’t know Putin at all, and has no special knowledge or informants in Russia;” says Stan Cohen, a retired publishing executive who used to follow Monaco Intelligence until November last year. “It’s sort of embarrassing to read it – he writes as though he reveals some special insights. But it’s mostly just articles from other newspapers, or blatant propaganda that not even Fox News would air. I’m not sure if having someone like this on the Internet is helpful for relations between Russia and us. It certainly is very
    disrespectful,” adds Cohen.

    Other observers note that it was around the time of the first legal woes with Albert in 2009 that Eringer’s personality took a worrisome twist for the worse. “He already had to self-publish his novels as nobody was interested anymore, and when Albert cut him off, he turned into a megalomaniac’” says a Chicago-based correspondent on security matters. “He now blogs incessantly against Putin, and to be honest, he’s turning into a bit of a laughing stock. Nobody knows who Eringer is, and he pretends to be able to take down the mighty Russian leaders. It’s a bit like when Sarah Palin said she knows about foreign affairs, cause she could see Russia from Alaska.”

    A busy laughing stock at anyone’s rate. Not deterred by the poor reach of his main blog, Eringer runs several other blogs, all blessed with even less success. Surreal Bounce, based on the book by the same title and billed as an “ongoing odyssey in search of creativity and madness”, was even supposed to be spun off into a TV show, surely the dream of any self-respecting narcissist. Sadly for Eringer, the programme never took off, and the blog runs an increasing amount of family pictures, from grandsons to dog days out at the beach, alongside promotions for yet another self-published book – and stories about how Van Gogh was murdered. The key problem with his blogs might not even be their randomness; it is his unprofessionalism and delusion of grandeur, both as a political force and as a great writer. Monaco Intelligence is poorly edited and uses a mixed typeface style of
    different colours, italics, bolds and captions, a practice best known from tabloids. It also features labored nicknames to world leaders, such as the “mighty monkey of Iran”, “Polonium Putin” or “Fat Al” for Albert, a practice best known from primary school playgrounds.

    This juvenile name-calling might ironically be helpful to his targets. A number of voices from Russia have taken to the Internet asking Eringer to stop. Since he has a complicated relationship with the truth and loses libel by the bulk, he might give cause to Russian leaders to tighten freedom of speech even further, only this time they can point to Eringer and say “we need to protect ourselves from people like him”. At the end of July, Putin introduced a law banning sites deemed dangerous for children and teenagers. This law, critics say, may curtail freedom of speech further and target foreign sites in particular.

    Albert may have done other leaders on Eringer’s list a favour by taking court action. Sadly, it appears the nearly $140,000 in damages and costs cannot be enforced as long as Eringer resides in the US, and with a Santa Barbara residence, why would he leave. But once Russia loses its patience, action is unlikely to be confined to a civilised French court.

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