Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Plastic Weeds

From Wikipedia:

In American politics, the term astroturfing is used pejoratively to describe formal public relations projects which deliberately give the impression of spontaneous and populist reactions.

The term is a play on "grassroots" efforts, which are truly spontaneous undertakings. AstroTurf refers to the bright green artificial grass used in some indoor sports stadiums.

A "grassroots" action or campaign is one that is started spontaneously and is largely sustained by private persons, not politicians, corporations or public relations firms. A "grassroots" campaign is perceived to come from the popular feelings of some mass of people and to not be a creation of the powerful.

"Astroturfing", by contrast, is a campaign crafted by politicians or other professionals but carefully designed to appear that it is the result of popular feeling rather than manipulation. The astroturfing campaign attempts to gain legitimacy by appearing to spring forth spontaneously from "the people". If the campaign is well executed, the planners hope that the public at large will believe that "all those independent viewpoints could not have been faked."

A more modern example of Astroturfing was shown by the Democratic, and then the Republican parties, recently. They both sent out email to millions of supporters, to get them to vote in online polls, send letters to editors, etc., to promote their own candidates as having won the recent presidential debates. And they sent out these emails before the debates actually occurred.

The lesson of this? Don't believe online polls. Don't believe letters to the editor. The gestalt is being hacked by the powers who be, and the powers who would like to be.

And they wonder why my generation is so cynical.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 6th, 2004 02:43 pm (UTC)
For shits sake, you'd think people would realize that online polls are utterly useless after Entertainment Weekly's "Person of the Year" almost went to Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka a year ago...
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )