Is It Grassroots or an “Astroturf” Movement?

Other News, Politics
Reading Time: 2 minutes

jakerome from Manhattan Beach, California, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Recently Kevin Price, Host of the nationally syndicated Price of Business Show, interviewed Dr. Bob Arnot, chief medical correspondent for NBC’s Dateline, Today and Nightly News shows, medical correspondent at CBS News.

Price and Arnot discuss the growing phenomenon of fake “grassroot movements” that are actually the product of sophisticated marketing campaigns. There’s nothing natural or organic about them, but created in corporate boardrooms. They are also frequently built on deception.


An “astroturf group,” also known as an “astroturfing organization,” is a term used to describe a group or entity that appears to be a grassroots organization or movement but is actually created, funded, and controlled by a larger, often hidden, interest or organization. The goal of “astroturfing” is to give the impression of widespread public support or opposition to a particular cause, product, political agenda, or issue, when in reality, it may be orchestrated by a corporation, special interest group, or political entity.“Astroturf groups” typically engage in activities such as organizing rallies, writing letters to the editor, posting on social media, and generating public awareness campaigns to manipulate public opinion or influence decision-makers. The term “astroturf” is a play on words, likening the fake grassroots efforts to artificial turf used in sports fields, which looks like real grass but is synthetic.“Astroturfing” can be controversial because it can deceive the public and create a false perception of genuine grassroots support. It is often criticized for undermining transparency and honest public discourse. Many countries have laws and regulations in place to require disclosure when organizations engage in “astroturfing” activities to ensure transparency and protect the public from deceptive practices.

“Dr. Bob Arnot has over 44 years of experience in medicine where I’ve run an emergency medicine service of nearly 100 hospitals, served as chief medical correspondent for NBC’s Dateline, Today and Nightly News shows, medical correspondent at CBS News, and continue today covering the pandemic for a variety of national and international broadcasting platforms from Larry King and Fox to PBS and Al Jazeera.

He has “also worked in many disease outbreaks as a medical doctor and a humanitarian board member for Save the Children and the UN High Commission for refugees including cholera during the Rwandan Genocide, Ebola in Uganda, Sleeping Sickness in South Sudan, malaria during the Mozambique foods, HIV/AIDS in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Haiti and Dengue in Nicaragua. During COVID, I’ve collaborated with one of the country’s leading medical centers to bring the latest advances to the medical community and general public.”

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