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ASTROTURFING: a term describing political or corporate campaigns that look like grassroots movements

December 22, 2008

Summary: One example, from Wikipedia (which has a number of equally fascinating ones): In March 2006, a supposed environmental group called the Save Our Species Alliance was exposed as a front group created by a timber lobbyist to weaken the Endangered Species Act. (The campaign director for this group, Tim Wigley, the executive director of Pac/West Communications, was also the campaign director for Project Protect, another front group that spent $2.9 million to help pass President Bush's Healthy Forests legislation, which has been criticized for its pro-industry bias.) The now-defunct Save Our Species Alliance website portrayed itself as a grassroots organization against the Endangered Species Act, but the alliance was criticized by environmentalists for being a front for wealthy cattle and timber interests, which consider federal environmental legislation an impediment to profit.

For more information on the forthcoming Unspinning the Spin: The Women’s Media Center Guide to Accurate, Bias-Free Language, click here.