Crossposted from www.leftinlowell.com
AstroTurf is kinda like sockpuppets. ;v)
Astroturfing is a form of advocacy in support of a political, organizational, or corporate agenda, designed to give the appearance of a “grassroots” movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to another political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.
Like other advocates, astroturfers attempt to manipulate public opinion by both overt (outreach awareness, etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by an individual promoting a personal agenda, by organized professional groups for pay, or by activist organizations. Services may be provided by political consultants who also provide opposition research and other services. Beneficiaries are not the campaigners but the organizations that orchestrate the campaigns.
For instance, let’s take this recent Letter To The Editor, printed by The Sun.
Golnik would be an independent voice
The Lowell Sun
Updated: 08/10/2012 10:03:39 AM EDT
Sure. It seems like an honest to goodness, man on the street testimonial, just about every political campaign EVER wants to see printed. Nothing makes a campaign happier than what the operatives call “Third Party Validation.” What the hyperlink will tell you is this: “No matter how many times you toot your horn to customers, they probably won’t believe you until they hear it from someone else. ” In the commercial world, it is widely sought after. Because the ethics are soft on this, in the terms of internet culture, there is a developing niche of less than scrupulous marketing folks that are more than happy to create instant validation for a product. Of course, a fee is involved.
Internet sales and congressional politics are very different. Though some, unfortunately, do not seem to get the message. I bring you the Jon Golnik campaign.
Please note, the name Peter Lynch is credited as the author of the LTE printed in The Sun and is also the name associated with soliciting interns for the Golnik campiagn. Further, below, please find links to two other LTE’s written in the same time frame. The Golnik website screen grab is dated July 10th, so Mr. Peter Lynch has been associated to the Golnik campaign for some time now. Is he a paid staffer? Is it even the same Peter Lynch? It probably is, but there is no smoking gun here. Maybe a journalist, like Chris Camire, may opt to look into this more closely.
Who is Peter Lynch? He sure is a prolific writer.
Letter: Golnik would get economy on track
The Andover Townsman Thu Jul 26, 2012, 02:24 PM EDT
LETTER: Golnik would help get economy ‘back on track’
Posted Aug 04, 2012 @ 07:00 AM
–Peter Lynch, Westford, Middlebury College Class of 2013
Let me be clear, I am not after Peter Lynch. By all accounts, he is a college kid, likely excited to be involved in a congressional campaign. But surely the Golnik “people” must know about all this effort on his part.
You know who should be pissed, is Tom Weaver. Golnik is flaunting ‘grassroots support’ that doesn’t, apparently, exist. Say what you will, for sure Weaver is not my ‘cup of tea,’ but at least he is organic, homegrown, a true grassroots candidate. Golnik? He’s a plant from Wall Street, as plastic as they come.
Update: I’d engage in the comments, but for some reason, I can’t post comments in my own diaries. :v|