Atroturfing is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source’s financial connection. The term astroturfing is derived from AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to resemble natural grass, as a play on the word “grassroots.” The implication behind the use of the term is that instead of a “true” or “natural” grassroots effort behind the activity in question, there is a “fake” or “artificial”
In his main segment Sunday night, John Oliver, the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” wants to make sure you aren’t fooled by groups that have deliberately misleading names. He explains how corporations and political groups are using astroturfing to disguise themselves as spontaneous, grassroots movements. We all remember the Tea Party movement which was backed by the wealthy Koch brothers, the GOP and right wing think tanks.