Journalists who have been taken in by astroturfing

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

A list of case studies of journalists who have been taken in by astroturfing, ie. who have uncritically reported on a front organization as if it were truly grassroots.

Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle

On June 16, 2004, Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle reported: "Michael Moore's controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 is creating a political firestorm even before its official opening next week - with a conservative grassroots organization announcing Tuesday the start of a campaign urging movie theaters to reject the film. The California-based organization, called Move America Forward, is headed by former GOP Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian and aided by Melanie Morgan, a talk show host on KSFO 560 AM, both of whom had high-profile roles in support of last year's recall election of former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis." [1]

Following the exposure of Move America Forward as a canonical example of a front organization, Marinucci backpedalled somewhat in a subsequent article on June 24, 2004: "That has prompted opponents to complain that Kaloogian's group is merely a front for the Republican Party and to point out that it is being helped by Russo Marsh and Rogers, a GOP lobbying and strategy company that has represented a number of conservative causes and candidates. But filmmaker Moore also has tapped leading Democratic operatives to lobby for his cause." [2]

NBC Nightly News

On an evening program in early January, 2005, the subject of the president's changes to the Social Security system was reported upon. The final spin was presented in the form of a video released by the PFA, or "Progress for America." The website maintained is conspicuously bereft of any list of board members, or organizational history. The PFA is an astroturf organization, spun up by DCI, a Republican lobbying firm.

Related SourceWatch articles