Milblogs has the details of an important story concerning the “grassroots” anti war movement among the miltitary, and finds many of the stories generated by a public relations firm.

This is known as “astroturfing“:
“In politics and advertising, the term astroturfing describes formal public relations (PR) campaigns which seek to create the impression of being a spontaneous, grassroots behavior. Hence the reference to the “AstroTurf” (artificial grass) is a metaphor to indicate “fake grassroots” support.”

The story starts with a man, Johnathan Hutto, who had long been active in left wing causes. He joined the Navy, got a not very dangerous job as a maintenance man, but then made an anti war website, and voila, this site was then used to prove “spontaneous” proof of troop opposition to the war.

The story was then paraded to the media by PR group Fenton Communications.

The NYSun apparantly picked up both the left wing funding and the PR firm’s connection with the site, yet few other MSM bothered to note that the “the soldiers’ anti-war group Appeal for Redress” was a put up job.

The Fenton Group behind the “anti war soliders” stories is the same one who manipulated the press about grieving grandmother Cindy Sheehan.

The problem with all of this reminds many of us about the glowing stories of Russia or China under the communists which later turned out to be Potemkin villages that fooled willing reporters.

Like the Dan Rather papers, one wonders if the story was not checked for accuracy because it was too good to be true rather than from published from pure bias. Yet in these days of the internet, one wonders when the MSM doesn’t even bother to spend a half hour googling names.

Hint to NYTimes: I’m available and cheap…


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines with her husband, six dogs, thee cats, and a large extended family. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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