What is astroturf?
Both, but as I am about to discuss it, Astroturfing refers to political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are designed to mask the sponsors of the message to give the appearance of coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant. Astroturfing is intended to give the statements the credibility of an independent entity by withholding information about the source’s financial connection. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.
Astroturfers use software to mask their identity. Sometimes one individual operates over many personas to give the impression of widespread support for their client’s agenda. Some studies suggest astroturfing can alter public viewpoints and create enough doubt to inhibit action.
- Once upon a time, the DNC was the people’s party. They looked out for the lower and middle classes. Their biggest weakness was lack of organization because they held a fundamental belief that each legislator should vote their conscious and their constituency.
- Contrarily, the RNC was the educated party – they were the “think tanks” and the Ivy League grads who all spoke with one voice and one vote – while that voice and that vote was not always something that I agreed on – they got things done, where as (best evidenced by President Carter – best post-presidential career ever) the DNC had trouble getting much of anything done.
- Everything has been flipped on its heads. Now the RNC wants to swill beer and pretend that they are the people’s party and that the DNC are just a bunch of intellectual elitests (personally, I want someone smarter than me running the nation but hey… if you want the guy who drinks beer with you and can’t throw darts for shit – have at it). Of course – the fact that most of them are still Ivy League educated and Wall Street funded gets ignored. Why – because they have kept one core principle. They still speak with one voice and one vote. So the soundbite goes out to every candidate that they are going to take over Washington and look out for your best interests – while it is Wall Street’s money that is putting them there and it is Wall Street and big business that they will be concerning themselves with. They have jammed the legislative bodies up so bad that it is like passing legislation is like getting a rich man into heaven (you know… pass through the eye of a needle… if I have to explain it you don’t get it). Moderates, like Huntsman, who might actually be decent candidates can’t even get to the Primary because they poll so low because we the people or rather the astroturf organizations that speak for us say that we want extremists…
- Personally – I take a pretty dim view of the tea-party movement. If you look at the creation and momentum, you will see that it really started to get a foothold when it was looking like we might get our first African American President. Now, I do not want to get into how “black” President Obama is or the “right” or “wrong” of playing what is so shamefully called the “race card” but the reality is that most of those drawn to the tea-party movement are white middle-americans. They are people who are easily convinced with the right rhetoric that allowing homosexuals the right to marry will somehow affect their own marriages (I will never understand that one – beyond it just being against the 14th Amendment but then most of these folks stop at the 2nd Amendment), that Mexicans are flooding our borders to take all of the jobs (when in truth migrant workers come and take jobs that actual experimentation has proven that white Americans will not take even if paid minimum wage and offered benefits), and that President Obama is actually a secret Muslim who is not even born in this country (we will ignore the fact that one of the troubles early in his campaign was his association with an outspoken and extremist Christian minister, that the long form of his birth certificate has been produced, and that in all reality – the whole birther thing is pretty stupid (and also yet another example of astroturfing) considering the lengths one would have to go to in order to plan all the way back when he was born all that was needed in the hopes that he would become President one day. Truth – Stephen Colbert started the secret Muslim thing as a satirical joke and now feels terrible that it was taken so seriously that it has yet to die down.) It is easy to sell the tea-party ideas to a bunch of people who are in all reality suffering a backlash of a horrifyingly disastrous Republican Presidency and then the election of an African American President – so yea… post race America… think again. But then again – that is just my personal and very cynical voice talking.
- I was a political astroturfer (salon.com)
- Astroturfing, what is it and why it matters (astroturfingonyahoo.wordpress.com)