From Pine View Farm

How To Identify Astroturf 0

In the Bangor Daily News, conservative commentator Jim Fossel offers advice for identifying phony “advocacy” groups.

Given the current tendency for the proponents of the most venal causes to wrap themselves in the most colorful display of American flag bunting, like buzzards in pheasant suits, his guidelines are timely. The Society for Puppies and Kitty Cats, from which you received a touching appeal, may turn out to be a front for the CCCCFF (Corporation for Commercially Canning Canines and Freezing Felines).

However, if a group never — or incredibly rarely — endorses anyone in one particular party, no matter where they stand on the issues, that can be a red flag that the group is truly a partisan one. Similarly, if the group never criticizes members of one party, even when they go against their issues, that’s telling. A group that truly advocates for an issue will work with or against a politician based on his or her record, not political party.

Another telling indication of partisanship is legislative ratings. Many organizations rate legislators, supposedly on how well they agree with their issues. Groups that are merely partisan fronts will have highly polarized ratings — for example, almost all Democrats getting 10 percent or less, and all Republicans getting 90 percent or more. Of course, though it’s rare, an issue may be truly partisan, so it’s not fair to judge based on that alone; this is just one indicator.


Comments are closed.