astroturfing

Tue, 2012-10-16 22:46Steve Horn
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New Gas Industry Astroturf: Landowner Advocates of NY Buses Activists to Albany Pro-Fracking Rally

A pro-fracking rally held on Oct. 15 in Albany, NY was described by about a dozen local media outlets as a gathering of roughly 1,000 grassroots activists from all walks of life.

All came out to add their voice to the conversation regarding the extraction of unconventional gas from the Marcellus Shale basin in New York state. But the marchers weren't concerned landowners worried about losing their water supplies or property values. Their demand: to lift the current moratorium on fracking, which was prolonged by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 30.

One rally attendee, Doug Lee, described the ongoing fracking moratorium as a “communist act” to the Albany Times-Union. Another described anti-fracking activists as “well-funded and organized activists masquerading as environmentalists, who often do not need to make a living in our communities.” Republican Sen. Tom Libous, observed that Hollywood stars Mark Ruffalo and Debra Winger weren't on the scene, telling them to “Stay in Hollywood. We don't want you here.”

Unmentioned by any of the news outlets that covered the event was a crucial fact: these weren't actual “grassroots” activists, but rather astroturf out-of-towners bused in from counties all across the state. Their journey was paid for by the legitimately “well-funded” oil and gas industry, which raked in profits of $1 trillion in the past decade

According to the Associated Press, the pro-fracking rally and march were organized by a brand new front group called the Landowner Advocates of New York formed in the immediate aftermath of the recent Cuomo decision to stall on opening the fracking floodgates.

Tue, 2010-12-14 09:15Richard Littlemore
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Monbiot: The Astroturf Threat To Democracy

Guardian columnist George Monbiot steps out with a great analysis of internet-based astroturfing and the very effective way that it disrupts the public conversation about important (and economically momentous) issues.

Mon, 2009-08-24 11:01Brendan DeMelle
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Lobbyists for Big Oil Organizing Most “Grassroots” ‘Energy Citizens’ Rallies

Grist took a deeper look at a list of “local organizers” of the Astroturf ‘Energy Citizens’ rallies and discovered that most of them are actually oil industry lobbyists.  Go figure.  Since the American Petroleum Institute cooked up the idea for these ‘grassroots’ events to mimic the health care town hall rent-a-mobs, it makes sense that Big Oil’s lobbyists would do the ‘community organizing’ necessary to pull off this charade.

Grist found that registered oil industry lobbyists are behind 15 of the 21 planned rallies, which look more like ‘glorified company picnics’ than spontaneous grassroots gatherings of concerned citizens. 

Fri, 2009-08-21 11:27Brendan DeMelle
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ACCCE Coal Lobby Drops Bonner & Associates Over Forged Letters

Like a bad habit, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has dropped Bonner & Associates, the Astroturf lobbying firm led by Jack Bonner, whose “white collar sweatshop” forged at least a dozen letters to Congressmembers urging them to vote against the Waxman-Markey climate bill.

While ACCCE continues to claim that “this was an isolated incident involving the wrongdoing of someone working for a subcontractor” – an excuse first put forward by Jack Bonner, who blamed a rogue temporary employee for the forgeries – Congress is investigating the extent to which Bonner and ACCCE went to mislead lawmakers.

The fake letters were sent to at least three Democratic Congressmembers, and claimed to represent opposition to the climate legislation from nine different groups, including senior citizens’ organizations, Hispanic and women’s advocacy groups, and the NAACP.  So far, investigators have confirmed 13 forged letters sent to the three lawmakers, and dozens more letters are currently being probed to determine if they were authentic messages or more of Bonner’s forgeries.

Thu, 2009-08-20 14:52Kevin Grandia
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Texas and New Mexico ‘Energy Citizens’ Events Are Really “Energy Employees” Rallies

Oil industry employees continued their ‘Energy Citizens’ tour today in conservative towns in New Mexico, after holding a “glorified company picnic” in Houston on Tuesday.  Local New Mexico blog FBIHOP reports that the API/NAM/Chamber of Commerce/FreedomWorks/Big Oil astroturf rallies will take place today in Roswell and tomorrow in Farmington - “they will hold their meetings before going out and claiming these were grassroots efforts.”

Thu, 2009-08-13 15:13Kevin Grandia
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Leaked Memo: Oil Lobby Launches Fake "Grassroots" Campaign

UPDATE: people are beginning the send me on-the-ground info about the American Petroleum Institute events. Check the list at the end of this article to see if you live in a “target region” and to track updates.

An internal memo obtained by Greenpeace USA details polluters’ plans to launch a nationwide Astroturf campaign, staging fake “grassroots” events to attack climate legislation during the final weeks of recess before the Senate returns to debate the issue in September.

The email memo (download a PDF copy), which appears to come from the desk of American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard, asks API’s member companies to recruit employees, retirees, vendors and contractors to attend “Energy Citizen” rallies in key Congressional districts nationwide.  API is focusing on 21 states that have “a significant industry presence” or “assets on the ground.”

Wed, 2008-04-02 13:44Emily Murgatroyd
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Video: Jim Hoggan on Astroturfing, Greenwashing and the Echo Chamber

Here's a short video produced by documentary filmmaker Jon Cooksey and his team at How To Boil a Frog, featuring DeSmog Project co-founder Jim Hoggan. Enjoy!

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