Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's NOT A "Grass Roots Effort." It's called "Astroturfing."

At several recent town hall meetings sponsored by Democratic members of Congress, "angry protesters" are showing up to protest health care reform.

Many in the mainstream media - Fox News in particular but CBS as well - would have you believe these are natural and spontaneous "grass-roots" efforts by people who fear "government interference" and oppose the "socialist program" being pushed by President Obama.

They're not any such thing. It's phony. That's why it's called Astroturfing.

The "action memo," a blueprint on how to be a disruptive influence (thus preventing any meaningful public discourse) at such meetings has been promulgated and disseminated by Freedomworks.

Freedomworks has been described as a "conservative website," and gives the impression that it's some sort of "organic grassroots" outfit.

It isn't.

Freedomworks was the driving force behind the (mostly failed) "Teabag" events.

Freedomworks is run by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey - now a corporate lobbyist receiving bucks from, among others, the pharmaceutical industry.

The President and CEO of Freedomworks ("spontaneous" grassroots organizations need CEO's?) is Matt Kibbe, who's been wrapped up in political shenanigans for a while - including a Republican attempt in 2004 to get Ralph Nader on the Oregon (a presidential battleground state) ballot prompting a complaint to the FEC by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) .

The scare tactics and intimidation by the insurance and health care industries and the GOP in the guise of "a grass roots effort" is covered pretty well by Rachel Maddow:

Now, I have no doubt that some of the people showing up at these meetings are legitimately concerned, and want questions answered about how health care reform will affect them, and America.

It's too bad. If this effort is continued, people with actual questions will never have them answered.

I guess it's the anti-Obama pro corporate profit plan.

h/t to Media Matters, Think Progress, Huffington Post.

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