I had never heard that term so looked it up in the dictionary. The Urban Dictionary states that astroturfing is “the act of creating a small organization and making it appear to represent something popular for the purpose of promoting a particular entity, cause, etc.” and Wikipedia shows it as “the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participant(s).
It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations more credibility by withholding information about the source's financial connection. The term astroturfing is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass, a play on the word "grassroots."
The implication behind the use of the term is that there are no "true" or "natural" grassroots, but rather "fake" or "artificial" support, though some astroturfing operatives defend the practice (see Justification below).” I was astounded. I had never heard the term and it never occurred to me that people were so dishonest as to do this.
One of my husband’s favorite television programs is "American Greed," on the CNBC station. This is an ongoing series about CEOs and brokers and others in the financial world and how they scam the American public into thinking their company is legitimate. I never really thought about it, but with all the Medicare and Medicaid scams, the “American Greed” TV show, and the things I have learned in this ethics course, I should not have been surprised that the ‘bad guys’ would have figured out a way to sell their technological skills to the highest bidder. Sigh.