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The practice of creating the appearance of grassroots support for a position, as by hiring bloggers to promote that position or establishing ostensibly independent advocacy groups.

[From AstroTurf.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a PR tactic used in politics and advertising in which actors are paid to display overt and apparently spontaneous grassroots support for a particular product, policy, or event
[C21: from Astroturf, the artificial grass, as this is artifical grassroots support]
ˈastroˌturfer n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
How the west was won: Astroturf lobbying and the wise use movement.
Jack Abramoff may have played the influence-peddling game to an extreme by engaging in outright bribery, but most of what he did--arranging for and hosting fundraisers, underwriting foreign travel junkets, picking up the tab at his restaurant and extending invitations to his skybox, offering lobbying jobs to Congressional staff, laundering money through a charity to pay lobbyists, setting up Astroturf lobbying operations and employing politicians' spouses--are routine tools of the trade in Washington.
In fact, it's Astroturf lobbying because of its obviously artificial nature.