Saturday, May 27, 2006

Political term of the day: Astroturfing

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.


Blogger grishnash said...

I knew of the concept, but hadn't realized that Lloyd Bentsen had originated the term. Wow... That and the best debate one-liner of all time. The Democrats certainly need a razor sharp wordsmith like him today. R.I.P. Senator Bentsen...

7:32 AM, May 27, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

Amen to that. Words man! They're so cool. Maybe I should rewrite Shakespeare as if focus grouped by contemporary American political consultants:

To be or not to be. My fellow Americans, we have a historic choice before us. We can be paralyzed with inaction, giving in to the forces of fear and negativity, or we rise, as this great nation has always risen, to withstand the slings and arrows of those who hate freedom and our way of life...

7:46 AM, May 27, 2006  

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