Site's Grass Roots Planted in Right-Wing 'AstroTurf'

Backed by big names, money, poses as underdog foe of mortgage fix
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2008 3:57 PM CDT
Steve Forbes   (Getty Images (by Event))
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(Newser) – might look “underdoggy and grass-rootsy, with a heavy dose of aw-shucks innocence,” the Wall Street Journal reports, but the anti-mortgage bailout website is actually the work of publisher Steve Forbes, former House majority leader Dick Armey and other Republican bigwigs. It’s a paragon of “AstroTurfing”—big-sponsor advocacy posing as spontaneous movement.

“We are millions of renters standing up for our rights!” declares the site sponsored by several multimillionaires. “We don't have lobbyists in Washington, DC. We don't get a tax deduction for our rent and we don't get sweetheart government loans." Confronted with the discrepancy, Armey said he’s only looking out for “the poor devil” priced out of homeownership even as the feds bail out speculators.