Consumerist/Ctr for Media & Democracy protect the US against front groups

Consumerist/Ctr for Media & Democracy protect the US against front groups


090109-001-astroturfers "Front groups", sometimes called "swiftboaters" are people paid by shady politicians or corporate executives to deceive citizens.

Their usual intent is to defeat measures which help Americans but might threaten the profits or power of the front groups' clients.

Consumerist, part of the Consumer Reports organization, just published

Fakes: How To Identify Astroturfers And Front Groups

Everyone likes to hate on spammers, but they're basically the
houseflies of the Internet. Far more insidious and damaging are
astroturfers and front groups—those corporate-funded, agenda-pushing people who don't disclose who they're really
working for while they participate in online culture and the media. The
Center for Media and Democracy has put together a list of tips to help you identify them from real grassroots movements, while Free Press has created a widget that reveals front groups for five large companies you frequently see on Consumerist.

biggest tip-off, of course, is that there's not a 100% clear disclosure
of the group's beginnings and location. The Center for Media and
Democracy says you should look for physical addresses, and
cross-reference them on their astroturfing wiki,
(If the address is in D.C., alarms should be going off.) Real
grassroots will usually prominently list their chief personnel (but
cross-reference those, too) and source of funding.

Note that Free Press helps defend us as well.

Special credit to McClatchy news, which exposes front groups working to defeat health care reform.

Finally, a disclaimer: Consumer Reports has a brilliant record for integrity and helping people out, and I joined their board to support that.




UPDATE: Steve, first, it's not "gov't run health care"; more importantly, you raise a valuable point. Good people have been deceived about this, stating falsehoods like that one.
How do we fix it? As a professional scam-fighter, I have some ideas, not ready for publication. thanks!
Its worth noting most who support the defeat of government run health care at the Town Hall meetings are citizens of the local communities where they are held. Seniors, moms, dads… bottom grass-root gatherings.


UDPATE: Don, thanks for all! I think I mostly agree, but… haven't found many fakers on the nominal left, maybe one, and I'll request an investigation. fyi, I'm a "libertarian pragmatist", maybe a little right of center. Thanks!
Lots of astroturfers on both sides. Both are equally bad.
What troubles me about this phenomenon is their motivation to remain hidden. Why would they do that? If their ideas were sound, then they should be proud of who they are to have come up with these so-called brilliant ideas! Obviously, astroturfers themselves must feel as if they have bad ideas.
I guess you and I feel similarly about the "idea cowards". The only area where we feel differently is you think that it's isolated to "swiftboaters" on the right. I say that astroturfing is an equal opportunity employer.
By the way, read the article in wired about mess that craigslist supposedly is. Loved it. Glad you're looking out for the user, and not transforming it into what the consultants tell you it should be.


The Center for Media and Democracy leans so hard to the left they'd cut off their right arm just to spite conservatives. Nothing wrong with that, until they stand on their soap box claiming unbiased authority and precede to hand out guideline for identifying their foes astroturfing. The article in question which I read conveniently only points out their ideological foes astroturfing. Nevermind all the political astroturfing by the left.

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