Astroturf

Posted by Wendell Potter on April 11, 2011

Insurance moneyToday will go down in the public relations history books as the day health insurers and their allies began a coordinated campaign to ensure that the health care reform law is implemented in ways that will benefit them way more than the rest of us. Today is the day they plan to launch their brand new front group -- drum roll, please -- the Choice and Competition Coalition (CCC). But first, a bit of context.

In a chapter of my book, Deadly Spin, entitled "The Playbook," I explain the remarkable track record that big corporations and their lobbyists have in getting the American public to buy the bill of goods they're selling. They bring out the Playbook, I note, for a single objective: to influence public policy by manipulating public opinion.

The Playbook comprises a set of activities that have long worked beautifully for industries fighting proposed new laws, regulations or taxes that are designed to make them behave in more socially responsible ways.

Posted by Lisa Graves on March 04, 2011

MADISON--Citizens from across Wisconsin have been calling the Center for Media and Democracy to complain about robo-calls they received pushing Scott Walker's agenda against public workers. The robo-calls have been bought and paid for by a shadowy Washington, DC-based group that calls itself the "League of American Voters" (LAV).

Dick Morris FOX analyst with Wall Street signAs the Center has reported previously, LAV has one employee, a failed politician from West Virginian named Bob Adams, and is the pet project of FOX "analyst" Dick Morris, a pollster who was fired in disgrace in 1996 for conducting phone calls with the President while conducting business with a prostitute serving his foot fetish at DC's Mayflower Hotel. After Morris' falling out with Democrats in the aftermath of the scandal, he became a frequent talking head on FOX and a serial author of books bashing Democrats. The latest book he is pushing is one that praises the reactionary positions of some of the politicians elected last year, like Walker: "Revolt! How the Governors Are Changing American Politics ... Permanently." His pulp pieces are peddled on LAV's website as rewards for donations.

Posted by Anne Landman on September 20, 2010

Bill ClintonFormer President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in 2005 to implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems, like hunger, poverty and access to health care.

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Posted by Ross Wolfarth on June 14, 2010

student debtOn every TV channel, commercials for schools like DeVry and the University of Phoenix blare promises of better-paying jobs. Every year over a million Americans respond to these sales pitches. All too often these students receive tens of thousands of dollars in debt and very little else. The Department of Education was expected last week to release new "gainful employment" regulations that would limit the ability of such for-profit colleges to charge exorbitant prices for illusory job gains. Now it seems that the Obama administration is wavering in the face of aggressive industry lobbying. For-profit education is big business in America, and big business means political clout.

Posted by Lisa Graves on May 26, 2010

CARD AllianceAccording to a story in the Washington Post by Mike Konczal, the Big Banks have just created an astroturf or cashroots group called the "Consumers Against Retail Discrimination Alliance" to fight a provision of the financial reform bill: This nominal "consumers" group is constituted of really, really big "consumers," according to Konczal, including "Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Citi" and almost every banking association that is part of the more accurately named "Electronic Payments Coalition." They have attempted to label this a corporate "civil rights" issue by talking about "discrimination" -- or "retail discrimination," that is.

Posted by Bob Burton on December 29, 2009

A member of the Helena, Montana, chapter of the Coalition for Chemical Safety, a chemical industry front group, has been disavowed for calling for an all-out ban of the use of BPA, an additive in many plastic products. Richard Denison, a senior scientist with Environmental Defense Fund, noted that the woman was interviewed on Montana Public Radio’s Evening Edition.

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Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.