Saturday, May 27, 2006
A grassroots political movement is one that originates outside of established political parties, lobbyists, consulting firms, media outlets, large corporations, and major advocacy groups. An astroturf movement is designed to look like a grassroots movement, but is in fact the product of one of the above-mentioned groups. As usual, wikipedia has a good article on the subject.
According to this article, James Dobson's Focus on the Family (I decline to link, for fear of generating a bunch of wingnut ads on my blog) is spewing a bunch of astroturf opposition to marriage for same-sex partners. With Google and other 'net tools, astroturfing is easier to catch, but the same technology also makes it easier to accomplish. Because of this, you often can't take letters to the editor at face value, especially on highly controversial issues of national importance.