Obama strategist David Axelrod owns "astroturfing" company (ASK Public Strategies)
Via  comes this article from Business Week about Barack Obama chief strategist David Axelrod:
From the same River North address, Axelrod operates a second business, ASK Public Strategies, that discreetly plots strategy and advertising campaigns for corporate clients to tilt public opinion their way... On behalf of ComEd and Comcast, the firm helped set up front organizations that were listed as sponsors of public-issue ads. Industry insiders call such practices "Astroturfing," a reference to manufacturing grassroots support...
Oddly enough, some months ago I noted a very strange blog comment in support of Obama, which seemed to me like something that had been typed out by a worker in India. I haven't seen too many comments using odd locutions like that since, but any comment thread at the Washington Post, Politico, and a host of other sites is filled with pointless comments promoting Obama.
And, of course, there's Digg. See this case for an example of an inaccurate smear that was transmitted by several blogs and by Digg. A look at one of those popular Digg posts will show an avalanche of similar pro-Obama comments, and with anti-Obama (or at least pro-truth) comments dugg down so most people will need to click a link first to see them. Could Axelrod's firm be engaging in astroturfing using sockpuppets in order to promote Axelrod's most famous client? Now, come on. Does anyone think someone linked to the Chicago machine would stoop that low?
To help out, I added the following line to the start of his Wikipedia page; let's see how long it stays there:
He operates [[ASK Public Strategies]], a company that allegedly engages in "[[astroturfing]]" [http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/mar2008/db20080314_121054.htm].
9/29/08 15:55 PST UPDATE: At this exact moment, someone else has provided a full section on ASK at his WP page, what will happen to it is anyone's guess: en.wikipedia.