Large companies will often hire public relations experts to help them clean up their image. When Microsoft was confronted with an anti-trust lawsuit they hired Americans for Technology Leadership (ATL) and Citizens Against Government Waste to help their side of the battle. About 400 people wrote letters to Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch asking him to take it easy on Microsoft. It was a grassroots campaign, ordinary citizens trying to defend a company. Unfortunately some of those people were dead when they wrote their letters. This type of fake-movement is called "Astroturf" in honor of the real fake grass-(roots movement). This isn't particularly science related but it is a powerful example of just how far some of these public relations companies will go. And when large corporations and scientific evidence conflict, the Astroturfing public relations companies come out of the wood work. The response from government officials?
"It's sleazy," said Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch, whose office received about 300 pro-Microsoft letters. "This is not a company that appears to be bothered by ethical boundaries."I will be covering similar practices a lot more in the future.
Microsoft Supported by Dead People, August 23, 2001
The Associated Press Report: Microsoft funded 'grass roots' campaign