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John Oliver says ‘astroturfing’ is ‘serious threat to our public discourse’

Warning: Video contains explicit language

The topic of the monologue on the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”: “Astroturfing.”

It’s the practice of significant actors using “nonprofit front groups,” Oliver called them, to mimic grassroots advocacy movements. Oliver cited how some groups turned to a company called Crowds on Demand, which paid participants to attend public meetings and rallies to advocate for certain causes.

The tactics, Oliver said, are “sophisticated, effective, and dangerous.”

“Astroturfing is a serious threat to our public discourse,” he added.

You can watch Oliver’s commentary at the top of this story.


Sean Smyth can be reached at sean.smyth@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @smythsays.

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