How reliable is a US government funded study that uses the term, “astroturf?”
Research using your tax dollars is under scrutiny – once again – and the subject of recent hearings in Congress. The National Cancer Institute, a wing of the National Institutes of Health, paid for this “study.” It was published in a “peer reviewed” journal, Tobacco Control, one of the “BMJ Group” (British Medical Journal) publications.
The tobacco companies have refined their astroturf tactics since at least the 1980s and leveraged their resources to support and sustain a network of organisations that have developed into some of the Tea Party organisations of 2012.
What this paper adds
Rather than being a grassroots movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the Tea Party organisations have had connections to the tobacco companies since the 1980s. The cigarette companies funded and worked through Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), the predecessor of Tea Party organisations, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, to accomplish their economic and political agenda. There has been continuity of some key players, strategies and messages from these groups to Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and other Tea Party-related organisations.
Funding This research was funded by National Cancer Institute grants CA-113710 and CA-087472. The funding agency played no role in the selection of the research topic, conduct of the research or preparation of the manuscript. SAG is American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor in Tobacco Control.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.