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The Sciences

The Tea Party and Astroturfing

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyOctober 26, 2010 10:44 PM

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Last night I attended a screening of the documentary (Astro)Turf Wars, which is a very unsettling depiction of the Tea Party and its corporate connections. The film makes the case very strongly that the industry supported Americans for Prosperity has been the spur for a large amount of Tea Party activity, wrapping its corporate agenda in the language of freedom, patriotism, and the battle against "socialism" (as if we have any in this country to speak of). The film poses some pretty difficult questions, because it's clear the Tea Partiers are very real people and do believe what they say--quite fervently. But at the same time, what they say on issues like healthcare reform and global warming is not only radically divorced from reality, but also clearly serves somebody else's interests (and not, if they are average non-wealthy Americans, their own). In this context, the documentary convinced me to at least take seriously the idea that we're not just dealing with "grassroots" activists here. But I also feel that there was a great right wing constituency for outrage against Obama, just waiting to be tapped--and that this often happens around the mid term of a presidency. Was the Gingrich Revolution also an astroturf phenomenon? In any case, here's a trailer for the film:

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