RationalWiki's 2018 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff — we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone seeing this today donates $5, we will meet our goal for 2018.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $2951Goal: $5000

Front group

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

A front group is a term used to refer to a group set up and controlled by another group, often by a controversial fringe movement, cult, or political party. The reasons for doing this are several, among them:

  • The most basic reason is the front group's name and connections to the controversial group may not be well known to the public, except to those paying close attention. Further, the front group may have an innocuous name and mission statement which never mentions the group in control of it. This can make it possible to, for example, raise funds through the front group from people who would not give to a controversial group. An example is the corporation HSA-UWC, which stands for "Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity", which is what most people would know as the Unification Church or "The Moonies". Usually one sees only "HSA-UWC" in connection with corporate holdings.
  • Public relations: Often the front group will be an innocuous-seeming charity working on an issue such as hunger or the arts. This provides the group with public goodwill which may distract from the group's more controversial aspects. One example is Pat Robertson's "Operation Blessing." Another is the Castillo All-Stars, an arts and drama project operated by Fred Newman's Social Therapy movement.
  • Front groups can be used as a cover for recruitment. The Scientology-controlled drug rehabilitation program "Narconon" is a case in point as it is used to recruit new members into Scientology. Communist political parties often use this type of front group, setting up protest groups on issues with broad public support, such as anti-war, but controlling the message and framing in a top-down manner and trying to recruit from the broad spectrum of people who show up. Another example is Lyndon LaRouche's "Schiller Institute," which promotes classical music and the arts on the surface but also functions as an entryway into the LaRouche movement.
  • Lobbying and political groups, which pose as separate organizations but in fact lobby for public policies which benefit the controversial group controlling it. An example from (again) Scientology is the "Citizens Commission on Human Rights," which campaigns against psychiatry. Another example is the now-defunct Natural Law Party, which attempted without any success to win public support for government sponsorship of Transcendental Meditation in schools, prisons, and elsewhere, claiming it would reduce crime and poverty.
  • Business fronts: The independent business organizations within Amway are obvious examples as is Amway's online "Quixtar" version. This can be seen as a way of winning customers and new salespeople among those for whom the Amway name carries negative connotations but may not have heard of the other names.

See also[edit]