David Borowitz borowitz at STANFORD.EDU
Mon May 7 19:13:57 UTC 2007

As far as I can tell, it's become a pretty general term:

The first reference on the Wikipedia article is to an article from 1996,
which in turn claims the word was coined the previous year (at that point in
a political context):

On 5/7/07, Jim Parish <jparish at siue.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jim Parish <jparish at SIUE.EDU>
> Subject:      "Astroturf"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The word "astroturf" has come into use in political commentary to refer
> to orchestrated letter-writing campaigns, intended to simulate
> grassroots activity. It may be extending its range, though; I just ran
> across a use of the term in the context of book reviews. The relevant
> sentence (ellipsis and emphasis original):
> "Now *that's* an interesting approach, to me... and one I very
> occasionally use, though more to separate the astroturf from the 'real'
> reviews."
> Jim Parish
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