That is, the phony creation of a sense of grassroots momentum behind a project, plan, or idea that actually doesn't have sufficient grassroots momentum.
Political types know: If you don't have real grass roots, but you do have money, well, you just go out and buy yourself some astroturf.
Or, in this case, glasstroturf.
Then you describe that glasstroturf as grassroots, make sure everyone quietly gets whatever price is required for his or her "honest opinion," and pray for articles like this one in today's Seattle Times, which you can then wave around as proof of real support for your agenda.
Granted, last night's meeting was a late one (meaning a tight deadline for any daily reporter), and granted, not everyone sees the same things at any given moment.
But if the "overwhelming support" for the Chihuly museum that the Times witnessed last night was, in fact, mostly bought and paid for by PR firms and people with vested financial interests in the project, then the paper owes its readers a follow-up story (something more than just the line in today's piece noting that "several" of the pro-Chihuly-museum speakers "were connected to the project").