Astroturfing for Climate & Gambling Addiction
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 and/or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some 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.
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, or highly organized professional groups with money from large corporations, unions, non-profits, or activist organizations. Very often, the efforts are conducted by political consultants who also specialize in opposition research. Beneficiaries are not “grass root” campaigners but distant organizations that orchestrate such campaigns.
Peter Fitzsimons in the Sydney Morning Herald put it in perspective this week.
Back in May of last year the much loved Channel Nine commentator Ray Warren was up front about the amount of money he had lost through gambling over the years and said something needed to be done. “It annoys me,” he said frankly, “that gambling, as a vice, gets swept under the carpet as a destroyer of people and families. It hasn’t been attacked in the same way as tobacco. Certainly, you can bet safely, unlike smoking, but it is a very serious problem, and it annoys me that many people don’t realise how serious it can be if you let it get out of control. I’ve seen some very good friends of mine end up in psychiatric homes, others in jail, and it’s very sad what can happen.”
That was last year. Last week at the Semi-final he said:
“Not only has the Manly football club been doing great work on the field this season,” Rabs starts off, “they’ve also been very busy working with the community off the field.” He goes on to detail the commendable programs run by the Sea Eagles, being paid for by pokies, and then says the technology for the pre-commitment legislation is “untested”…
Cue Phil Gould, still as part of what is meant to be football commentary: “Yeah, the proposed mandatory pre-commitment that they’ve put forward is a rubbish policy. It won’t work. It won’t solve the problem they say they’re going to target, and it will do irreparable damage to the hospitality industry. It won’t work and it will hurt.”
This is all astroturfing – political advocacy of a corporate agenda (the clubs, hotels and pokies industry) masquerading as just good old blokie home-grown, barbie-conversation, grassroots personal opinion. Some guy from Ch 9 (I think) said he didn’t give them a “script”, just (wtteo) “some dot-point talking points”. For goodness’ sake, you employ people like Gould and Warren because they can take dot points and turn them into a script live on air, because they can take thin air and turn it miraculously into 3D bullshit. You pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year (if not millions) to do it. “Oi give ‘em dot points but I never ment ‘em to acksherly tork abowed ‘em. Yaw as fuggin’ shocked as Oi em! Oi mean, there sposedter jist sit there lookin’ like obese dickheads so the orjance ken oidennify with ‘em! Thass wot we pay ‘em for!”
Alan Jones is a master Astroturfer, feeding to his ignorant and needy audience the corporate/political agenda bullshit on which they grow, and then trying to sell the mushrooms he harvests as fresh green grass. And the climate change deniers’ arsenal is full to overflowing with fake “concerned citizens’” groups and bogus “Institutes” and “Coalitions”. But it is mostly made up of lies and distortions. Which brings us back to Phil Gould’s rant.
Posted: 3 October, 2011 in Australian Politics, Australian Values, comedy/humour, Economics, Education, environment, legal, Life, politics and government, Science, values.
Tags: Alan Jones, ARL, astroturf, Astroturfing, Ch 9, Channel 9, Channel Nine, climate, climate change, concerned citizens, corporate, corporate agenda, corporation, denial, denial organizations, Economics, family, family breakdown, gambling, gambling addiction, Peter Fitzsimons, Phil Gould, poker machines, pokies, political agenda, politics, Rabbit Warren, Ray Warren, Rugby League, Science