Chapter

Astroturf, front groups, sock puppets, and the capture of civil society

David Miller, Claire Harkins, Matthias Schlögl and Brendan Montague

in Impact of Market Forces on Addictive Substances and Behaviours

Published in print November 2017 | ISBN: 9780198753261
Published online December 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191814884 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198753261.003.0004
Astroturf, front groups, sock puppets, and the capture of civil society

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Medical Statistics and Methodology

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Civil society is widely thought of as an obstacle to corporate political strategy. This chapter suggests that civil society can be an ally in corporate attempts to undermine public health. It reviews the use of astroturf (i.e. fake grassroots groups) and ‘sock puppets’ (i.e. fake online identities) and discusses these in relation to the corporate-backed ‘sound science’ lobby. The chapter reviews the role of the tobacco and other addictive industries in creating front groups to pursue sectional corporate interests. It looks in turn at interlocking efforts such as the European Science and Environment Forum, the Risk of Freedom briefing, and more recent ventures such as the Institute of Ideas and Spiked the Democracy Institute. These groups are mostly not transparent about their relations with the corporations, and may exhibit some measure of independence from their corporate funders; however, any independence—real or manufactured—is not necessarily a disadvantage.

Keywords: Civil society; sock puppets; astroturf; front groups; third-party technique; ‘sound science’; Institute of Ideas; Spiked; Democracy Institute; European Science and Environment Forum

Chapter.  6240 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Medical Statistics and Methodology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.