astroturfing

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noun as·tro·turf·ing \ˈa-strə-ˌtər-fiŋ, -ˌstrō-\

Definition of astroturfing

  1. :  organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation) Classic astroturfing is the practice of disguising an orchestrated campaign as a spontaneous upwelling of public opinion. … The term itself appears to have been coined in 1985 by then Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, who noted that the mountains of letters he received about legislation on insurance originated with insurers. — New Scientist, 10 Feb. 2007 The modern form of astroturfing uses the Internet, and corporations, religious groups with a social agenda, and public interest groups can flood an in-box in an hour with e-mails that may come from a single source using many accounts. — Alan Boraas, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Apr. 2009

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Origin and Etymology of astroturfing

astroturf (metaphorically opposed to grass roots) + 3-ing


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