August 13, 2018-
Astroturfing is not the latest teen craze, John Oliver explained on Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight. While it sounds like something teens would do once they moved on from eating Tide Pods, astroturfing is when corporations or organization try to make it seem as though whatever they are selling is part of a grassroots movement. For example when a seeming small group calling themselves Americans Against Food Taxes run a national ad campaign against a potential beverage tax. It’s not paid for by a small grassroots movement of concerned citizens, but a large beverage conglomerate lobbying against a soda tax that could cut into their profits.
According to Oliver, in the wake of U.S. Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, astroturfing is becoming increasing common. Like a national wetlands organization funded by real estate developers and oil companies and a seeming restaurant worker group campaigning against minimum wage increase. “It’s pure straight up opposite world,” said Oliver. “It’s like if this show was called Funnytime Happy Hour with Chuckle-Hunk John Oliver. It’s just demonstrably false.”