On Sunday, John Oliver came down hard on “astroturfing,” which is “the practice of corporations or political groups disguising themselves as spontaneous, authentic popular movements,” as the HBO host perfectly described it.
It’s essentially a fake grassroots thing, hence the name.
The “Last Week Tonight” host used one particularly ridiculous TV commercial to make his point, an ad that weirdly ripped on the Humane Society, the animal rights group most people generally don’t hate so much. Dogs especially should love the charitable organization — but not this one mutt, Tony.
In the HumaneWatch.org spot, the pooch, who Oliver accurately describes as a “gruff a–hole,” calls the actual Humane Society of the United States “losers.”
The “Daily Show” alum doesn’t get the message, nor the reason the astroturfer behind it made the protagonist “needlessly Italian,” or the “Ray Liotta of dogs.”
Either way, the practice sucks. As does its paid-protestor version, which Oliver gets to later in last night’s main clip.
“Astroturfing is a serious threat to our public discourse and it is critical that we are all much more aware of its dangers,” he summed up.
To that point, Oliver made an astroturfing ad about astroturfing. Watch the video above.