Dead Cats, Russians and Fake News

Let’s play Connect the Dots. You go first….

Wikipedia:
Entry for Australian Political Strategist Lynton Crosby
:

“Crosby is described as favouring what is called a wedge strategy, whereby the party he advises introduces a divisive or controversial social issue into a campaign, aligning its own stance with the dissenting faction of its opponent party, with the goal of causing vitriolic debate inside the opposing party, defection of its supporters, and the legitimising of sentiment which had previously been considered inappropriate. This is also described as “below the radar” or dog-whistle campaigning, with the targeting of marginal constituencies with highly localised campaigning, latching on to local issues and personalities. To find such divisive and potentially deflecting issues, Crosby’s business partner Mark Textor runs focus groups to find which groups to target with what questions. Crosby is said to run a tight ship, focus on simple messages, target marginal constituencies and use lots of polls.

In a 2013 article for The Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson noted that one of Crosby’s tactics when losing an argument and having the facts against you was to do the equivalent of “throwing a dead cat on the table“: bring up an issue you want to talk about that draws widespread attention from the populace, forcing opponents to also talk about your new issue instead of the previous issue.”

Like this. Except dead.
Like this. Except dead.

Huffington Post:
“Oh No, You Didn’t!” — The Dead Cat Strategy

“For those outside of the Westminster playpen, the dead cat strategy is basically a massive, usually insulting diversion from a political party’s failings. So if your immigration targets are not met, scream something hideous about the migrant relative of your opponent. Everyone will clutch their pearls and bang on about that for the rest of the day and sometimes week. The fact that you cocked up on counter-terrorism or failed to do anything without u-turning will slip by, while commentators across the land discuss Jeremy Corbyn’s tweed jacket and crooked tie.”

PBS NewsHour:
Russian Propaganda Effort Likely Behind Flood of Fake News
that Preceded Election

“The findings show just how effective the bogus reports and propaganda were, according to the report. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed 213 million times.”

Washington Post:
Russian Propaganda Effort Helped Spread “Fake News” During Election,
Experts Say

“The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald T**** and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.”

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