What’s wrong with duping the voters with a totally false image?

Today’s SST report about Crosby/Textor’s role in the National camp is deeply disturbing, whatever spin the Tories try to put on it. The notorious Australian practitioners of the darkest political arts are still with us, doing their utmost to pervert the democratic process and sell us a false Bill of Goods, courtesy of John Key.

Despite attempts by Key and his team to keep their role secret, we find that C/T have been employed these last two years to shape Key’s image and advise on National’s messages and tactics.

The Nats’ will ask, “What’s wrong with that?” Well, true, it’s not illegal to employ spin doctors, and just about every political organisation that can afford to, does. The problem is with the tactics that are used and how far you go in spreading lies and deceipt, and hiding what you have on offer from the voters.

C/T are the ugliest, most ruthless, dirtiest-fighting political mongrels this side of Karl Rove. Of course it’s wrong. Otherwise, why would Key & co go to such lengths to hide their association with these people?

We’re not talking about air-brushing the leader’s picture here. It’s about appealing to basest prejudice, about constructing completely misleading images of opponents and clients… stuff like Textor’s push-polling. In 1995, for example, Canberra voters were asked whether they would be more or less likely to vote for her knowing she had publicly stated she supported the right to abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Which she hadn’t.

Or spreading false rumours about London mayor Ken Livingstone having three “secret” children and the hiring an Islamic extremist to his staff.

This is the sort of thing that National would have you believe is “business as usual” and acceptable. It’s not. And that’s why this revelation has the potential to damage “Brand Key”.

In terms that C/T would use, it opens up the doubt in many ordinary voters’ minds that Key isn’t the decent, aw-shucks (albeit mega-wealthy) bloke they thought they knew. Rather, he’s devious and unprincipled, the sort of man who stoops to hire liars and racists when he should be telling them to fuck off.

[There’s a good debate on this on the Standard. Also, Russell Brown at Hard News on the “sulphurous presence”.]

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9 Responses to “What’s wrong with duping the voters with a totally false image?”

  1. MacDoctor Says:

    Yay, it’s Nicky Hagar’s latest conspiracy theory! The Nats are in league with the devil! Bad Key! Naughty Bill!!

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wake me when you have evidence, instead of innuendo, JP.

  2. Steve Withers Says:

    jp: Agreed. Key’s and National’s manipulation of the darker side of the Kiwi psyche for electoral advantage by following cynical methods originating with Bush’s GOP in the US is cause for serious concern. We do not want to go that way here.

    macdoctor: Save it. This is no theory. Delude yourself if you like, it’s your choice. Hager has this one nailed down tight just as he had the “Hollow Men” nailed using National’s own e-mails. You can deny reality if it pleases you. Clearly – on the record – that IS what tories do these days.

  3. MacDoctor Says:

    Steve:

    Being called delusional by you is highly amusing. All Hager can prove is that Key has used Crosby & Textor for campaign advice. So what? Apart from some push polling 13 years ago (wooo, hanging offense), everything else you have on Crosby & Textor is scuttlebutt. It’s just more blown up conspiracy theory with no hard evidence. It’s about as meaningful as Robert Mugabe’s presidential acceptance speech.

    So National use spin doctors. SHOCK! HORROR!

  4. AndrewE Says:

    I have to admit that I find it very hard to get worked up about this. Hager’s credibility is pretty low and even if it was true, so what?

  5. jafapete Says:

    AndrewE: “even if it was true, so what?”

    This: Campaigning is never entirely clean, but deliberately spreading absolute lies about your opponents in order to scare the voters into voting on the basis of totally false images undermines the democratic process. Hence the question I used to head the post.

  6. AndrewE Says:

    As far as I can it seems that all the parties are indulging in spreading lies about their opponents.

  7. higherstandard Says:

    Ah

    What lies and deceit have been spread about the current government by C&T or National …… got a link for that ?

  8. Ari Says:

    Since when is Hager’s credibility pretty low? Just because he’s broken similar stories before doesn’t mean this one is less likely to be true. In fact, given that the stories were well-researched and solid before, I would say that actually gives us MORE reason to trust Hager.

  9. Inventory2 Says:

    Ari – what was arguably Hager’s biggest story, the 2005 election, was based on information which had been illegally obtained (whether from leaked e-mails or stolen hard copies), but which he chose to use for both political and personal gain. It’s a bit rich that he is again trying to take the moral high ground here.

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