Fake "grassroots" groups have started springing up like toadstools after a rain, and this time they're coming at us from every angle: they're on TV, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube: "Americans for Prosperity," "FACES of Coal, "The "Coalition to Protect Patients' Rights," "Americans Against Food Taxes," the "60 Plus Association," "Citizens for Better Medicare," "Patients First" ... It's making our heads spin! Issues affecting some of the country's biggest industries, like health insurance reform, a proposal to tax sodas and sugary drinks, and the FDA's possible reconsideration of the plastic additive Bisphenol A, have boosted corporate astroturfing up to a dizzying pace. With all these corporate fronts coming out of the woodwork, how can citizens tell true grassroots organizations from corporate fronts operated by highly-paid PR and lobbying firms? Here are some tips to help readers spot this kind of big-business hanky-panky.
"As nearly 2,000 progressives made their way last weekend to Pittsburgh for the annual Netroots Nation conference, the right made its stand in the same town with a conference called RightOnline, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a group that has gained notoriety for its involvement in organizing seemingly grassroots opposition to health-care reform," reports Adele Stan.
An investigation has identified more faked letters sent to Congress as part of a deceptive campaign waged by the public relations firm Bonner & Associates, on behalf of the industry front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (AC