PEORIA-- If you, like me, often wonder about all the crazy anonymous comments that pop up on news sites on the web, here's a chilling explanation: they are Astro-Turf. The commenters are being paid by powerful interests to derail a sane discussion.
Here's the article. And a tip for monitoring them:
".... Discussions of issues in which there’s little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilized than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions: such as climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance. These are often characterized by amazing levels of abuse and disruption. Articles about the environment are hit harder by such tactics than any others."
Which corporations are guilty of this? "....The IP address on Andura Smetacek’s messages was assigned to Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri(9). There’s a nice twist to this story. AstroTurf TM - real fake grass - was developed and patented by Monsanto."
Frankly I suspect many of the attacks on WikiLeaks are being generated by government players. China already does it in the open, according to the article.
And did anyone notice that a huge anti-war demonstration last week involving hundreds of arrests of prominent people, including Daniel Elsberg and Chris Hedges, was not even covered by corporate media?
Democracy Now, the best news source on the air, covered it. It does not take corporate donations, only money from its listeners and viewers. Send it a holiday present.
-- Elaine Hopkins