How to recognize astroturfers
Because astroturfing by definition is deceptive, it can be difficult to recognize. There are key hallmarks which help to identify astroturfing Dr Mercola (2017) pinpoints the following:
- Use of inflammatory and derogatory language. Keywords to look for include crank, quack, nutty, lies, paranoid, pseudo and conspiracy
- Will often claim to debunk “myths” that are not myths at all They will attack people, personalities and organizations rather than address the facts or concerns in question.
- Astroturfers are skeptical of those exposing wrongdoing rather than the wrongdoers. As noted by Attkisson, rather than questioning authority, astroturfers question those who question auth
The real facts/conclusion
In my opinion, astroturfing appears to be a significant threat to homeopathy and humanity. From the biased evidence base and dishonest rejection of good evidence, to the consistent use of derogatory and inflammatory language (words such as pseudoscience and quacks) used to discredit homeopathy and homeopaths in articles, blogs, radio, newspapers, and even Wikipedia. The popularity of lawsuits against the homeopathic industry orchestrated by surprisingly well-financed sceptic organizations, in my opinion, is the manufacturing of a fraudulent grassroots movement. What appears to be an uprising of concerned citizens and respectable scientists who feel homeopathy is not only useless, but dangerous, may in reality be a well-funded PR campaign to stop the expansion of homeopathy and natural medicine in order to protect the profits of the industrial medical complex. I felt the sceptics in Magic Pills presented themselves as condescending and aggressive in their tone and ignorant in their inability to back their claims scientifically, very much in the spirit of astroturfing. Ananda’s goal in making this film was to challenge this kind of one sided thinking, and expose another side to the homeopathic story that is rarely seen in the mainstream media:
‘We are making this film to shine a light on the scientists, doctors, and health practitioners whose work has been hidden from the public, wrongfully discredited and silenced in the name of scepticism and public protection. The film examines large-scale use of homeopathy in disease prevention, cancer treatment and AIDS/HIV, along with very compelling scientific research and evidence to support the idea that homeopathy is not only plausible but effective and affordable.’
Magic Pills goes beyond the rhetoric to expose real-world stories. Is everyone who believes in homeopathy and has experienced it first-hand deluded? Are we all lying, or being lied to, therefore risking our health? If so, why is homeopathy so popular, even amongst medical professionals and scientists. Perhaps there is more to homeopathy than meets the eye, and the positive outcomes and high rates of satisfaction amongst homeopathic patients are being buried to support a false narrative. But the power and efficacy of homeopathy still stands, even and after 200 years of attack. This is strong confirmation and positive, energetic defiance and validation to suggest that truth and integrity can still triumph, despite the odds unfairly stacked against us.
‘Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.’
Attkisson,S (2015) ‘Astroturf and manipulation of media messages’ [online]: Available at:
Bell,I, Gold,P, (2016) Homeopathy Research Evidence Base’[online.]: Available at:
CDC, (2017,updated) ‘Opoid Overdose, Prescribing data’ [online.] Available at: .
Elizabeth, E. (2017) ‘How astroturfing and other media manipulation compromise your ability to get truthful information’ [online]: Available at:
HRI (2017) CORE-Hom, Research data base, [online.] Available at: https://www.hri-research.org/resources/research-databases/
Mercola, J. (2017) How astroturfing and Other Media Manipulation Compromise Your Ability To Get Truthful Information.’[online.] Available at:
McMains, V. (2016) John Hopkins study suggests medical error are third leading cause of death in US. [online.] Available at:
Montbiot,G. (2010) The Tea Party Movement: deluded and inspired by billionaires.’ [online.] Available at:
Montbiot, G. ‘Use it or Lose it’ (2017) [online.]