OWS: Real Grassroots vs. Astroturf

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Astroturf vs. GrassrootsThe "Occupy Wall Street" movement is providing a real-time case study of the difference between a true grassroots movement and a corporate-backed astroturf movement.

Americans in recent years have been besieged by industry-funded astroturf efforts masquerading as real grassroots movements. One example is the "Hands off my Healthcare" national roadshow, which was backed by the Koch-funded group, Americans for Prosperity. Another is the Tea Party, which got a corporate-sponsored media boost from the Fox News Channel and benefitted from the the efforts of a Sacramento, California-based Republican PR firm, Russo Marsh & Rogers. Astroturf uses manufactured spin and messaging that requires real money for things like media buys, front groups, mass-broadcast faxes, telemarketing-generated petitions, glossy postcards, form letters and talk radio-inspired phone calls.

Here are a 10 elements that indicate OWS is a genuine grassroots movement:

1) No bus. Phony, corporate-backed "social movements" these days often sport a custom-painted, decked-out motorcoach that travels the country making scheduled appearances at parks and town halls, and urging people to join the "movement."

2) OWS's message benefits a wide segment of the U.S. population. OWS supporters' actions do not conspicuously benefit a certain single industry, group of companies or political candidate. OWS advocates for a broad section of the population, namely the 99 percent of U.S. citizens who are having an increasingly difficult time with the economy and getting their needs represented in Washington.

3) No focus-grouped talking points. Astroturf messages are boiled down to a tight, limited set of talking points or a professionally-designed motivating slogan, like "Hands off my health care!" or "Global Warming Alarmism: Lost Jobs, Higher Taxes, Less Freedom!" -- the slogan Americans for Prosperity used in its national Hot Air Tour, which opposed efforts to educate the public about global warming. OWS's core message protesting an economy rigged for the 1% is broad and diffuse and has been criticized as such by some parties.

4) No coordinated, glitzy national media roll-out or tour. (See #1 -- no bus.)

5) No PR operatives are organizing OWS activities.

Hands off bus6) OWS protesters do not spend time insisting to journalists that the movement is "independent," and its spokespeople are "esteemed" or "credible." In fact, one problem that law enforcement agencies across the country have cited repeatedly is that the OWS movement lacks spokespeople.

7) No backing from a "non-profit" group that refuses to disclose its donors.

8) OWS does not use telephone banks, computer databases, robocalls or hired organizers to gain participants.

9) OWS does not have a webpage featuring IStockPhoto pictures of pleasant-looking, multi-ethnic groups of people smiling at viewers.

10) Significant numbers of non-violent OWS protesters have gotten pepper-sprayed. Astroturf participants are usually not dedicated or passionate enough that they would risk or tolerate getting pepper-sprayed for their cause.

There are doubtless many other factors that distinguish OWS as being a true, grassroots movement. If you think of more, please let us know in the comment section, below this article.


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so much for your leftist spin, Anne.

women wearing UNION branded clothing (SEIU), discussing how much they were PAID to attend a March 27 protest outside the Supreme Court. You might want to check your info -- a simple 'BING' search -- before making your claim of 'grassroots' for OWS.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/28/caught-on-camera-seiu-activists-discuss-20-payment-for-obamacare-protest-video/#ixzz1r4zdjTYP

I agree with this article

I agree with this article that, some Astroturf groups are just puppets of big corporation who just cheats us in any way. so my support for such social change is so strong and ever present.

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TP = Regular citizens attending a rally, many for the 1st time in their lives (because they're too busy WORKING to camp out for weeks).

Now who is the astroturf??

This article is another dose of outright lies from the left (do you expect anything else from lefties?)



It must be really nice to be rich enough to hire so many protesters!

Really!!! Try some facts next

Try some facts next time.



Screaming "YOU FILTHY FREAKS" at the top of his lungs -- that's Breitbart's style of getting the facts.

nice try

Breitbart is your source for facts?

Buyer beware.

Seriously. You Breitbart brothers will believe just about anything.

the only reason

the only reason the left hated - and still do - Breitbart is because he ferreted out the TRUTH to counter their LIES.


Breitbart was to truth what tofurkey is to turkey.

Another example of the right-wing echo chamber....

If you actually believe the OWS protestors across the country are paid, then first you should really turn off FOX "news" or whatever propaganda machine fed that line of bull to you and then you might want to speak with OWS protestors themselves and you will realize how much FOX & company have lied to you.

Many OWS protestors are "regular citizens attending a rally, many for the 1st time in their lives" many of whom are "busy WORKING" too but some of them have lost their jobs due to the de-regulation and free trade binges that shipped American jobs overseas or that helped crash our economy. Those policies are part of the long-term ideological agenda of the Kochs.

What you won't see at OWS events are the expensive Americans for Prosperity bus tours and hotel reservations and paid right-wing speakers and pre-packaged Koch-funded talking points, like we have documented at TP events.

With all due respect, sir or madam, if you believe the comment you wrote and I believe you are sincere, then you have been seriously misled by the right-wing echo chamber.