I’ve often joked that the Left lost the war as soon as we started teaching Public Relations students about media studies. I don’t even know that it’s a joke anymore. It may be true that the next generation of media-savvy citizens will be too cynical and aware to fall for the obviousness of many astroturfing operations. But, in a way, that’s part of the point. Astroturfing works as much by swamping politics and the work of political persuasion in shit as it does by actually directly convincing anyone of anything. PR operators want us to be cynical about everything so that we will care about nothing. So we need to do more to foster and promote a kind of media literacy that is sceptical but engaged.