Astroturf lobbying in the EU: The case of shale gas exploration
This paper seeks to shed light on astroturf lobbying, a strategy that recently invaded the European public. Its purpose is to simulate citizen support for a specific issue whilst keeping its identity secret. The public sphere is envisaged as a constellation of issues around which gravitate interest groups that try to influence the debate, and doing so by carefully frame their messages. In the case of the shale gas debate in the EU, the question that emerged is to see whether astroturf groups convey the economic frames used by the oil and gas companies they represent, or if they mobilised environmental frames such as shale gas opponents. Results show that the astroturf group mostly emphasized the safety of hydraulic fracturing and tried to counter the environmental frames of competing NGOs.