Monday, April 13, 2009

Tea Parties = Astroturfing

From Wikipedia , with my emphasis added:
Astroturfing is a word in American English describing formal political, advertising, or public relations campaigns seeking to create the impression of being spontaneous "grassroots" behavior, hence the reference to the artificial grass, AstroTurf. 
The goal of such a campaign is to disguise the efforts of a political or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt ("outreach", "awareness", etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by an individual pushing a personal agenda or highly organized professional groups with financial backing from large corporations, non-profits, or activist organizations. Very often the efforts are conducted by political consultants who also specialize in opposition research.
Today's revealation that Ohio's tea parties are being organzied by an organization called FreedomWorks. Who is FreedomWorks? From Firedoglake:
FreedomWorks was launched as a GOP version of MoveOn. "We believe that hard work beats daddy's money," said Dick Armey at the time. Armey seems to be a bit irony challenged -- Steve Forbes is on the FreedomWorks board. As Krugman notes, their money comes from the Koch, Scaife, Bradley, Olin and other reliable funders of right wing infrastructure including Exxon Mobil.
Everyone got that? So, from the definition of astroturfing, the goal is to disguse the efforts of a political or commercial entity (in this case, a bunch of right wing monied interests) as an independent public reaction to some political entity (in this case, President Obama). Therefore, the tea parties are nothing but astroturfing. Plain and simple.

1 comment:

Tudor said...

Pretty much why I doubt I'll be taking part in Cleveland's "tea party", as much as I believe the economic and tax policies of the U.S. government are flawed.

I assume the liberal statist know they aren't welcome. It's the conservative corporatists who should be the target of last week's produce.

If I do go, it will only be to gauge the level of libertarian participation.