Astroturf Letter Wars

"Newspapers and political organizations are engaged in technological one-upmanship over 'AstroTurf' - letters to the editor that look like authentic grass-roots responses from readers but are not," reports Jennifer Lee. "Groups like the Republican National Committee and Planned Parenthood are using Web sites and e-mail lists to help disseminate form letters to publications across the country." However, the people who edit the letters pages are fighting back: "Armed with Internet search engines and e-mail lists of their own, they are mapping Web sites and alerting each other about the form letters appearing in their mailboxes."