From Wikipedia:

Leaderless movements may have a symbolic figurehead. This can be a public figure, a multiple-use name, or an inspirational author, who picks generic targets and objectives, but does not actually manage or execute plans. Media, in this case, often create a positive feedback loop: by publishing declarations of a movement’s role model, this instills motivation, ideas, and assumed sympathy in the minds of potential agitators who in turn lend further authority to the figurehead. While this may loosely resemble a vertical command structure, it is notably unidirectional: a titular leader makes pronouncements, and activists may respond, but there is no formal contact between the two levels of organization.

Imported from the original KN@PPSTER