We love words. "Buzzworthy" words gain a place in the Oxford Dictionaries or Merriam-Webster Dictionary, On-line Slang Dictionary, Urban Dictionary...f-bomb, aha moment, twerking... Words are judged to be politically correct, or not. Do you recall a time when politically correct wasn't even a phrase (or human resources)? Words can separate generations, be fashionable, or not. Booyah is supposedly out, along with awesome. Now it's dope (for awesome), BFF, Ho, hardcore...So much for the Andy Rooney moment.
Astroturf is synonymous with big money, big control. "Astroturf refers to apparently grassroots-based citizen groups or coalitions that are primarily conceived, created, and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms." And according to sourcewatch.org the word is credited to long-time Washington and Wall Street Insider, Senator Lloyd Bensten when he coined the term "astroturf lobbying".
Astroturfing is nothing new; it's just a new name akin to yellow journalism, but a process on steroids. Astroturfing surreptitiously exists, hiding in forums, comments to articles, blogs, published letters to the editor, ads, in nonprofits, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and faked as grassroots movements. And as a friend says, "Follow the money." Sometimes we can figure out the connections by looking at board members for newspapers and organizations, in the "about" section in websites, conflict of interest relationships, or muckety muck connections, but a lot of the special interest, familial, acquaintance and money connections are difficult to find. In conjunction with the well-paid, ubiquitous lobbyists it's no wonder astroturfing is effective in bombarding, influencing, and confusing the public.
Democracy Now! was a website to visit and on my site list until discovering Amy Goodman is paid $2 Million/year salary, and funded by George Soros (The Corbett Report), billionaire financier, described by some as a former Kapo during the Holocaust while others called Soros' actions a way to survive, called an "economic war criminal" by Thailand, "the man who broke the bank of England", etc. who claims he's a messianic figure and "...I fancied myself as some kind of god...".
Besides looking for the money connections, we can acclimate ourselves with the lexicon of the astroturfers, which include but may not be limited to words such as:
- fear monger(s)
- fear porn
- conspiracy theorist(s)
- lunatic(s), lunatic fringe
- tin-foil hat wearer(s)
|comprehensive list of key words and phrases that are often used at the local level when discussing Agenda 21 related initiatives.|
Words aren't enough, though. In the movie "I am David", the main character asks Sophie, How can I tell the good people from the bad. And Sophie's reply is that sometimes you can't.
But question. And keep digging.