The following is a commentary and analysis[hr]
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hether you’re a Democrat or Republican–or someone who doesn’t care at all about politics–it’s hard not to notice the massive campaigns to influence opinion on social media, the news and out there in real life. Those trying to persuade and manipulate are playing hardball. And, in many instances, we’re falling for it: they plop the ball in the middle of a frenzied crowd, nobody sees exactly who dropped it, and we in the news and the public pick it up and run.
We’re being played.[hr][ilink url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bYAQ-ZZtEU”]Watch my TedX Talk: Astroturf and Manipulation of Media Messages[/ilink]
As I’ve reported and written: Astroturfers often disguise themselves and publish blogs, write letters to the editor, produce ads, start non-profits, establish Facebook and Twitter accounts, edit Wikipedia pages or simply post comments online to try to fool you into thinking an independent or grassroots movement is speaking. They use their partners in blogs and in the news media in an attempt to lend an air of legitimacy or impartiality to their efforts. Astroturf’s biggest accomplishment is when it crosses over into semi-trusted news organizations that unquestioningly cite or copy it.
[quote]The whole point of astroturf is to try to convince you there’s widespread support for or against an agenda when there’s not.[/quote]
The language of astroturfers and propagandists includes trademark inflammatory terms such as: anti, nutty, quack, crank, pseudo-science, debunking, conspiracy theory, deniers and junk science. Sometimes astroturfers claim to “debunk myths” that aren’t myths at all. They declare debates over that aren’t over. They claim that “everybody agrees” when everyone doesn’t agree. They aim to make you think you’re an outlier when you’re not.
[ilink url=”https://sattkisson.wpengine.com/top-10-astroturfers/”]Top 10 Astroturfers[/ilink]
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