Shilling--the practice of advocating a position without openly acknowledging one's status as an agent of the position's beneficiary--is not new. It's old, damn old, and it is long past time to dig into the past to see where the big ideas of the past come from.
When I went to graduate school, I focused on the origins of John Locke's philosophy. What I'm putting into this post is the TL/DR version, necessarily abbreviated for length and summarized accordingly. There's enough here for a proper book; I read several (and a bunch of letters) in making this M.A. thesis happen.
The summary is this: Locke was a poor kid who had just enough scratch to buy a proper education, got it, got status anxiety as the price for it, and decided that life as a non-clerical academic in an academia dominated by clerics was a sureshot for dealing with his life. It wasn't; got tossed when he ran afoul of the orthodoxy due to his own efforts ands got tossed out after a youth and early adulthood in the Ivory Tower of academia.
Using what few connections outside academia he made, he got into contact with the first Earl Shaftsbury and moved into his house. Over the next two or so years, everything he'd spend the rest of his life publishing and promoting got stuck into his brain by his patron. Aside from some clerical work in officialdom and tutoring the Second & Third Earls, that's what he did- he wrote down, revised, etc. the political, social, economic, and cultural philosophies that directly and immediately benefited his patron and allies thereof. The man even published using allied printers.
Why does this matter? Because the 1st Shaftsbury was the head of the liberals of the day, the Whig Party, and at one time had control of the state- a power used as one expects, to benefit themselves at the expense of enemies and rivals. Shaftsbury also had business interests that directly benefited from the very economic and political positions that Locke advocated, and the Earl (and his son and grandson) rewarded their pet intellectual for his efforts properly.
This is not to say Locke is wrong per se, but it does mean that Locke is suspect and therefore every claim he made after coming under Shaftsbury's patronage must be audited, interrogated, and either confirmed or denied. All of you that are skeptical of Modernity, you've got good reason for your doubts now.
As I said above, there's enough here for a book to properly investigate this; I'd adapt and expand my M.A. thesis into such if I could focus on it full-time.