|Rolling out of fake grassroots movements|
|Astroturf and manipulation of media messages|
TEDx University of Nevada
Astroturfing is a method of selling a message, organization or agenda. It is to make belief others (experts, politicians, the public in general or any targeted group), that for the promoted goal does exist support by, for example: a larger number of interested individuals or experts in their respective fields. The same tactic is used to deny a message that is unwanted. It may or may not have developed in the field of advertising, but it can serve as a tool to anyone with enough founding to get their own message across (smaller agendas with the help of social media and sock puppet accounts will not even cost much). An appropriate example in the early 20th century is Water/Fluoridation, for which the Kettering Laboratory, the University of Rochester and the Mellon Institute were instrumental to deliver the message that fluoridation does have health benefits and no risks. Astroturf in a nutshell, according to Sharyl Attkisson, is: "to try to convince you there’s widespread support for or against an agenda when there’s not.". Identifying which is an original viewpoint and what is not can get difficult when there is to much interference involved.
While not as direct as building up an organization that serves to specifically promote a standpoint, Foundation funding can in a way have a similar effect on a grander scale over a longer period of time. Funding of whole media organizations of any political spectrum, from foundations or any other special interest group can make it complicated to see genuine opinion, some opinion that would otherwise be present on the marketplace of ideas might be denied at all. According to Brian Salter: "big establishment foundations are likely to seek out 'alternative' media that is more bark than bite, which they can rely on to ignore and dismiss sensitive topics like those mentioned above — and many more — as 'irrelevant distractions' or 'conspiracy theory'. Recipients of funding will always protest that they are not swayed by any conflicts of interest and don't allow the sources of funding to affect their decisions, but whether or not these claims are actually true is already somewhat of a red herring. The more important question is, what sort of 'alternative' journalism garners the goodwill of the Ford Foundation corporate rogues gallery in the first place? Or the Rockefeller Foundation? Or Carnegie, Soros, and Schumann? Judging by the journalism being offered (and not offered) by Nation magazine, FAIR, Pacifica, Progressive magazine, IPA, Mother Jones, Alternet, and other recipients of their funding, the big establishment foundations are successfully sponsoring the kind of 'opposition' that the US ruling elite can tolerate and live with."
To clarify what this means, an organization that is funded like this can produce with higher quality, have a studio for video production, more reporters on the ground, etc. - or does not experience pressure in financial terms, or much less so when it comes to that. In case of financial trouble, it can continue to publish content and/or produce broadcasts when it otherwise would have a difficult time to survive due to the lack of viable revenue streams. Other organizations that do not receive such funding are thus not getting the same attention, since the lack of resources makes it hard/impossible to keep up with, or in case of financial problems, are eliminated faster, which is a kind of manipulation of the marketplace of alternative media through subsidies.
An example for a foundation that offers funding to help to create movements or public support that would otherwise may not be as substantial or noticable is the Open Society Foundation.
|Center for Medicine in the Public Interest|
- https://sharylattkisson.com/2016/07/28/top-10-astroturfers/ saved at Archive.org saved at Archive.is
- http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/05/289545.shtml saved at Archive.org saved at Archive.is