astroturf
(AS.troh.turf) n. A fake grass-roots movement.
astroturfing pp.

Example Citations:
"Of the calls we are getting in the D.C. office, about half are Astroturf and half are real," said Mr. Milburn, in Mr. Hobson's office, using Washington parlance for calls that seem to be from individuals but are in fact orchestrated by lobbying groups.
—Katharine Q. Seelye, "Public Is Flooding Capitol With Impeachment Views," The New York Times, December 15, 1998

Operators in the governor’s office were suspicious when they got a rash of calls from people who were obviously being coached on what to say. When the operators pressed the callers, they said they were sugar cane workers who had been told that they would lose their jobs if the governor vetoed the bills. Chiles’ aides called it an “Astroturf,” or “fake grass-roots campaign.”
—Julie Hauserman, “Vetoes bring no end to Everglades furor,” St. Petersburg Times (Florida), May 29, 1998

Earliest Citation:
Issue-oriented newspaper advertisements featuring clip-out coupons are often designed to show that the sponsor's goal has grass-roots support. But the "grass roots is AstroTurf in many cases, artificial turf," says Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas. A case in point, in his view, is the recent ad campaign by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States against increases in excise taxes on liquor. Bentsen reports that a third of the 190 coupons his office received were altered to express support for tax increases that the coupon says could raise the price of a bottle of liquor $2 and "put a lot of people in the beverage alcohol business out of work."
—"Playing on astroturf," The National Journal, April 19, 1986

Notes:
This word is a nice play on AstroTurf, a brand of artificial grass.

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