There are widespread efforts to create what I call a false reality to engulf you when you're exposed to most any forms of media. The idea is to give the impression there's widespread support for or against an agenda--when there may not really be. Those behind the efforts to sway your opinion, sometimes using bullying tactics, are special interests that want to make debates seem over, science seem settled, and make you feel like you're an outlier--when none of those things is actually the case.
These interests increasingly use PR firms that create sophisticated campaigns to advance their narratives. This may include circulating their propaganda on Twitter and Facebook (often using pseudonyms and multiple accounts all held by the same person), pushing their talking points through bloggers, selectively editing Wikipedia pages, secretly backing non-profits or simply posting negative comments online to every article or blog they fear could threaten their agenda.
Most of all, these astroturfers and propagandists seek to censor opinions and facts they fear most. They don't want you to hear and exchange diverse ideas on their topic of concern because they're afraid you might not form the right conclusion. They want to control what you see, hear and say.
Hear more in my short talk presented at TEDx at the University of Nevada, Reno.
[button link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bYAQ-ZZtEU"]TEDx Talk on Astroturfers Manipulating the Media Message[/button]
Top 10 Astroturfers (as chosen by readers)
John Cantor says
Sheryl this is a very interesting and objective article. Thank you. I’ve come across your piece after googling “Media string pullers”. You see there’s a very interesting article in an Australian newspaper today 02/10 “The Australian”. It’s all about a footballer, Sam Burgess, and his personal relationship with his wife; accusations of bashing; accusations of drugtaking and other personal issues. If all true, the actions of this man are deplorable. However, I’m not the kind of person that likes the o read about such things in the newspaper-about anyone. So why am I carrying on? Kind of like the character House MD I like to peel back infromation to reveal motivation. My first reaction to reading this was it’s a personal matter, who’s agenda is this serving? Then I took a look at the journalistic social elites who wrote the piece - 3 women and began to consider what did they have to gain? When I looked at their bio’s I could build a rationale for bias and why this was published. What I’m surprised about is why each article on this player hasn’t allowed for reader and feedback - which is permitted in other Newspaper articles on the same day. Is the editor frightened? The timing -on The eve of the football finals - couldn’t be worse. This player isn’t even playing anymore! So it’s blaming the whole clubs culture and attempting to utilise this timing -and the fans- to drive either a revenge agenda or affect the teams preperation for the finals. It’s just so negative sanctimonious and judgemental I find it pulls down everyone concerned including the reader. If the aim is solely to sell more news. I understand. Nonetheless I’m beginning to find that journalist bias is triggering me to give up on published news. I do want to know what’s going on in the world but reports on scandals peoples personal business are directing me to research and subscribe to more straight facts media sites. Apologies for drowning on.