Monday, April 9, 2007


I learned about Astroturfing through the NewPR Wiki and was appalled at what I learned about this practice. defines Astroturf as "a trademark used for an artificial grasslike ground covering." Note the use of the word artificial here.

So what does Astroturf have to do with PR? The practice of "Astroturfing" is another example of unethical (or irresponsible) individuals giving public relations a bad name. Basically, Astroturfing is creating fake grassroots political organizations in order to generate support for candidates or issues. Grassroots organizations are to hard to organize, but can be extremely effective. Astroturfing "professionals" recognize this and thus, have started creating fake grassroots organizations. For an extended explanation see this post at Blog Campaigning.

Many believe PR is behind all of this, and for good reason. As reported on Blog Campaigning, the DCI Group, a Washington-based PR firm created a video slamming Al Gore's recent environmental documentary. The firm, however, wanted people to believe that a college student had created the video and put it on YouTube. The kicker? One of the firm's clients is Exxon, a company that does not want more environmental regulation. Hasn't Exxon had enough problems with PR?

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