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Crosby ‘most successful propogandist since Goebbels’ – Ken Livingston

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, May 27th, 2015 - 57 comments
Categories: Media, spin, uk politics - Tags: , ,

Discuss.

57 comments on “Crosby ‘most successful propogandist since Goebbels’ – Ken Livingston”

  1. SHG 1

    Smells like butthurt

  2. Atiawa 2

    Oh yes. FEAR.

    In New Plymouth last election it was ” the fear of the Greens being in government and the effect that would have on the local oil & gas economy “.

    The important debate on the damage the use of fossil fuels was incurring on the planet never saw daylight.

  3. just saying 3

    I think it is a real shame that the left’s problems in winning the hearts and minds of the majority – people who have the most to gain from moving leftwards and the most to fear from the current political settings – is relentlessly framed as a problem of being better manipulators, liars, and propagandists.

    So, our “representatives” spend more and more time and money learning the dark arts in order to what? beat the devil* at his own game under his own rules and referees, on his playing fields?

    I guess if all you want is to be given a wee pretend turn at ruling hell every now and then it’s a winning strategy. And I think it’s part of the long term plan of the likes of Crosby-Textor to have them do so. Because what Labour in particular, have to do for their “reward” is exactly what they want them to.

    Have we really bought into the idea that hatred, irrational fear, prejudice, greed, elitism, authoritarianism, rivalry and malice are the real motivators of human behaviour all all our better instincts are mere sentiment to be occasionally appeased with empty slogans?

    *for want of a better metaphor

    • Bill 3.1

      Hearts and minds? It’s just not hard.

    • McFlock 3.2

      I agree entirely.

    • RedLogix 3.3

      Let me try and tease this out a bit js.

      Are you suggesting that the left should entirely eschew any understanding of propaganda? That we should nobly ignore Lynton Cosby because our cause is better than this?

      And if the cost of these higher ideals is to continue losing elections more or less indefinitely – are you happy with that price?

      Probably not – and you would argue that I’m putting words into your mouth. Well if so … then could you clarify how you think the left should respond? If embracing it is supping with the devil, and ignoring it means electoral impotency – then what DO you have in mind?

      Yup – hearts and minds. Exactly what Cosby does so well.

      • Colonial Viper 3.3.1

        some left wing politicians with authenticity and sincerity, both of the people and for the people, would go a bloody long way. Short of that then yeah, you’d need people who can do a better job of faking it and who have better sound bites.

      • weka 3.3.2

        I didn’t hear js saying those things at all. I think you are presenting a false dichotomy (join the game or lose). There are other ways of doing this.

      • McFlock 3.3.3

        If you imitate the devil, what makes you think you can stop? Because there’s always another election to win, so compromises in principle and message always need to be made to get elected.

        Your dichotomy isn’t between victory and failure, it’s just between two different types of losing.

        • RedLogix 3.3.3.1

          @weka & McF

          Which a perfectly good start to an answer.

          While I can accept why you see the question as a false dichotomy – I’m not seeing an effective ‘third path’ either.

          Or if argue that we must learn to counter the Cosby inspired machine … I’d be all ears.

          • Tracey 3.3.3.1.1

            I actually think people see the LP and whoever its leader is as constantly in a kind of cowering position (metaphorically)… its leaders stand up straight and look people in the eye when challenged about so-called cosying up to business. They stand tall and don’t apologise. However when it comes to standign for the vulnerable, imo, they do it from this cowered position… almost apologetic if not joining in (man on the roof) and thereby perpetuate the notion that all those who are not small business or big business are less than and only worthy of what we want to throw to them.

            I believe if someone from Labour stood up and was apologetic for wanting to help the vulnerable, who used real stories, to educate people about the suffering some go through they would be seen as far more authentic and viable than the current cowering to be a softer national.

            I think even when people don’t agree with someone they will admire their fight, their sincerity, etc…

            LP leaders don’t gve kiwis the chance to say

            “you know, I hadn’t thought about it that way”

            or

            “of course I want those people to have a better life”

            cos LP is too busy feeding the meme…

            I believe that Cunliffe was on the right track with his speech to the Womens Refuge “today I am embarrassed to be a man”…

            but too often they cower away from their sincere and definitive statements about the vulnerable, s the CT trick of repeat, repeat, repeat never gets implemented.

            • McFlock 3.3.3.1.1.1

              That’s the thing for me.

              Basically, the only real shortcoming caucus have, regardless of leader, is that when they’re slagged off by the media and by parts of the membership (different parts each time), they start second-guessing themselves.

              Yes, some fall into the “lower taxes, balanced budget, so something must be cut” paradigm trap, others are socially conservative “Waitakere men”, others have no idea about issue xyz, and others I flatly disagree with on a few issues. But despite all that a confident Labour government that wants to improve the conditions for all would still be a pretty good centre-left government.

              I think the main weakness caucus have is that if someone makes an uproar about even a policy proposal, caucus run away and try to nix it. What I learned doing some public speaking is that whatever I said, a quarter of the audience would dislike it, a quarter would like it, and half would actually consider it in reasonably good faith. I feel it’s the same with policy: put it out there, don’t slag it off (others will do that for you), but simply say “it’s an idea put forward by intelligent, considerate people. I’ll give them the respect of actually waiting for the details rather than mouthing of about it before the circumstances are clear”.

              Hell, even say that about Green policy.

              Good for another five or ten points in the polls, easy, I reckon.

              • RedLogix

                Genuinely interesting answers. Thank you.

                Yet part of me is still persuaded of the folly of ‘taking a knife to a gun fight’. Part of why the LP caucus is so gun shy as it were of standing up for what it believes in is that time and again they’ve seen the propagandists and dirty tricks merchants slaughter them. No wonder they’re perceived as timid and insincere.

                Witness Little’s ‘cut the crap’ moment. Well received on the day – but since then the Beltway inward looking play it safe instinct seems to have reasserted itself.

                Labour has not had any shortage of capable leaders since Helen Clark. Goff, Shearer, Cunliffe and Little would all make or have made great Labour PM’s. (Well maybe Shearer would have struggled). But each in his own way has been cut down or cowed by a vicious, relentless machine.

                Thinking of Goff in that context – remember how his best days were just before the 2011 election. He had reached the point where I think he knew he had nothing to lose and actually went for it. I think quite a lot of people warmed to him at that stage, and I for one was saddened when he resigned as Leader. When he gave himself permission to give fate the middle finger – Goff looked great.

                So while I fully agree with much of what both Tracey and McF are saying – I’d argue that ignoring the machine is not an option either.

                • McFlock

                  not so much “knife vs gun” as “gun vs WMD”, in my opinion.

                  But don’t forget that some of the worst and most constant harrying of the Labour caucus doesn’t come from the Dirty Tricks side, it comes from pathologically-frustrated lefties and party members.

                  Every moderate economic comment is a sign of neoliberalism. Every socially tolerant move is a sign of identity politics. Every environmental comment will alienate the working class. Every idea to help beneficiaries will alienate the working poor, and every policy to help the middle class or working poor is treason because it neglects beneficiaries.

                  This is a legacy of Lab4 and the realisation that Lab5 was a stopgap, not a government with a plan to reverse the neoliberal acid that corrodes our society. But it’s also a direct symptom of what Lab4 created: policy is shit unless it’s all about me and contains 5 pages directly addressing my concerns. We no longer have a general practise of chilling the fuck out and accepting that a good policy which does not directly affect us or our priority is still a good policy.

                  Now, to pre-empt some righteous indignation, I’m not blaming the membership for the failings of the caucus, nor am I saying that the moaners are the same people each and every time, or even that some of the moans aren’t justified on a case by case basis. But to use a timely analogy the caucus and the membership are like a dysfunctional couple in relationship councilling – rebuilding the relationship after a betrayal takes time, understanding, and is a process. But if they manage to get over their differences and hurt, it could well lead to a stronger and more productive partnership.

                  Labour’s improving. I think that if they can gain a bit of confidence about policy (having the nats plagiarise their policy book would help with that, even if the nats are plagiarising too little, too late, and badly) and resist the efforts of the DPs to sow distrust, Labour will be able to improve their place in the polls. Which will make the nats shit a brick and make mistakes.

                  • RedLogix

                    That would make a post McF.

                    Too busy to respond right now – and to be fair I don’t think I can think of much more that needs saying.

                    Except that Lab4 was damn nearly 40 years ago now and while I accept the echoes of it are still with us – I’m not persuaded that all the Lab marriage issues are of their own making.

                    What has changed in that 40 years is the effectiveness and intensity of the dirty tricks and propaganda machine. Like any couple, they’d get on a lot better if life didn’t keep pulling the rug out from under them.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      The 30th anniversary of Lab4 was July last year, so it’s hardly ”nearly 40 years ago”.
                      Also even 40 years is a short time in respect of social and political change.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      And its 30-40 years max before some of the worst effects of fossil fuel depletion and climate change hit us. Its not very much time at all to get our political classes fit for purpose.

                    • McFlock

                      40 years ago it was dancing cossacks.

                      80 years ago it was just as vitriolic.

                      Labour and the Left has always faced a vicious and slanderous tory foe.

                      But then even some of the stuff Lee said about Savage was pretty cold.

                      And whenever tories have sensed that internal division in Labour, they’ve also played the role of the jealous outsider who uses gossip to try and break up the marriage.

                      No, the Left and Labour’s problems aren’t all of their own making. But the mistrust is part of the reason that caucus members can appear gunshy. The longer either side within Labour (to pose a caucus:membership dichotomy) avoids going apeshit, the stronger the relationship is and the easier it will be to ignore the tory gossiping.

                  • Anne

                    Spot on McFlock!

                    This is a legacy of Lab4 and the realisation that Lab5 was a stopgap, not a government with a plan to reverse the neoliberal acid that corrodes our society.

                    Helen Clark was arguably our best PM ever (yeah I’m biased being a woman and also having personally known her) but she had one achilles heel… she was cautious. Very cautious. Sometimes it was a good thing but other times it was frustrating. She tended to move only as fast as she knew the voters would allow and that was not very fast.

                    It probably accounted for her longevity as PM but it inevitably meant that progress was disappointing for most left of centre politicos. I do feel annoyance at some commentators here who persistently attack Labour for their lack of assistance to beneficiaries and workers on the minimum wage while in government. In point of fact the hoped for 4th term (which never eventuated) was almost entirely dedicated to addressing those two problems. Their reasoning behind the lack of assistance during their previous terms was the cost factor. They believed they needed to rebuild the financial coffers to a sufficient level before they could effectively help those at the bottom of the heap. And I’m saying this as someone who at the time of the election of the last Labour government was one of those at/or near the bottom of the heap. Another story.

                    So, the reality is: had the Clark government succeeded in being elected for a 4th term then the lower waged and those who for valid reasons are on benefits, would be infinitely better off today.

                    It seems to me that Labour’s Left detractors have conveniently forgotten their promises in 2008. And lets remember Labour – unlike National – actually kept most of it’s promises!

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Their reasoning behind the lack of assistance during their previous terms was the cost factor. They believed they needed to rebuild the financial coffers to a sufficient level before they could effectively help those at the bottom of the heap.

                      We look at this from the eyes of sensible adults, able to view things from the time span of having been around for a few decades. We save and wait, save and wait, save and wait. It’s very sensible.

                      But look at it from the stand point of a baby born into a family in poverty on the eve of the Labour 5 victory. That child had to go through all its most vulnerable and formative years of life in poverty while Labour waited to “rebuild the financial coffers to a sufficient level” – and then that child instead of getting the long promised benefit of that ‘financial rebuilding’ went on to experience 3 straight terms of National Government.

                      This is how a generation of young lives has been hopelessly disadvantaged while waiting for ones and zeroes on spreadsheets to come into line with our financialised modern day sensibilities.

                    • Anne

                      Couldn’t agree more CR. That’s how it ended up and that is the tragedy. You can’t blame them for then saying “A pox on all your parties”. One day they will look back (hopefully) and appreciate the pox really lies with the NAct government. I guess the delay of the 5th Labour government had as much to do with politics as it did with “counting pennies”, but without the politics they would have been out of government sooner (2005) and imagine what a Brash govt. would have done to the poor and disenfranchised.

                      edit: Btw, saving and waiting has been the story of my life. 😡

                • sirpat

                  “goff looked great”………yea gods as an all time lefty I cannot agree…….what the LP is missing is someone with the correct charisma and a party machine to make it work well…….not to mention policies that don’t scare the bejeebers out of the ordinary working person……fuck me in the last election to vote for them was a cgt tax and having to wait longer for a pension ……your one small “freebie”that joe doe worked so hard for to enjoy for only a few years before they die!!!!

              • Tracey

                yes @ some will automatically like and dislime.

                lp needs to stand for something and someone passionately unapologetically and sincerely

      • whatisis 3.3.4

        What Crosby does so well is ascertaining the right group to apply manipulations on, and (scarily) then doing it..
        We must be what that group is giving some attention to also.

        Lets win the hearts and minds of nearly everyone who is providing their attention the best way we can.

        There’s this here interwebs for the platform…

        The doing of only needs to be done..

        We should start by building the appropriate platform…

    • emergency mike 3.4

      “Have we really bought into the idea that hatred, irrational fear, prejudice, greed, elitism, authoritarianism, rivalry and malice are the real motivators of human behaviour all all our better instincts are mere sentiment to be occasionally appeased with empty slogans?”

      Psychopaths implicitly understand that the best way to manipulate another human being is via fear. Fear bypasses our logic circuits. The environment you describe could be the psychopathic manifesto. An environment where they would have a natural advantage and rise to the top. Every time.

      “So, our “representatives” spend more and more time and money learning the dark arts in order to what? beat the devil at his own game under his own rules and referees, on his playing fields?”

      Dr Robert Hare, the most famous expert on psychopathy, strongly warns against trying to beat a psychopath at their own game – you will lose.

      Instead of getting sucked in to trying to be a ‘better National’ who tinkers here instead of there, Labour needs to offer a real alternative vision. They need to highlight what a cold, miserable, selfish, uncaring society 30 years of neo-liberalism has delivered us. They need to show that TINA is all about playing on people’s fear of change on behalf of those at the top who benefit from the status quo. They need to show an alternative where our children and their children will be more than units in a corporation doing their bit for the shareholders as required by their zero hours contracts.

      It’s pretty boring listening to the concern tr0lls helpfully explaining that we’ll never win if we move further left, and that we must go right to fight for the mythical middle. What they don’t seem to grasp is that for some of us it’s not about ‘we won you lost haha’ like a friggin rubgy game, it’s about reducing inequality, social justice, and a sense of community. We want rational policy for future generations based on science, reality, evidence, not ‘good politics’ window dressing announcements ‘playing well with the public’ based on focus groups, polling, and manipulated voter perceptions. (Btw ‘perceptions are reality’ is in fact the most fundamental mantra of psychopaths.)

      If our choice is between National A and National B then even when we ‘win’, we lose.

      After Nicky Hager released his book I was watching a lecture he gave to a university class or something. Something he said has stayed with me, “a government that needs dirty politics is a government with something to hide.” National’s agenda is not for public consumption because it is not electable.

      Dr Hare’s advice for dealing with a psychopath that has infiltrated your life? Cut your losses and leave: exorcise them from your life but any and all means. We need to stop playing their game and offer something else. Or else what’s the point?

      • Wolfgang 3.4.1

        “Dr Robert Hare, the most famous expert on psychopathy, strongly warns against trying to beat a psychopath at their own game – you will lose.”

        Well that depends……………….right?

        On the person!

        • Wolfgang 3.4.1.1

          Actually you can’t beat a psychopath ‘at their own game’ because then you would be a fucking nutcase yourself, playing the ‘same’ game! Lets run round in fucking circles forever! To beat a psychopath you have to have your own strategy, and one that is flexible to the conditions. You have to role with it, always with your EYE on the goal! There’s always ways to ‘win’, you just have to make sure it happens! Design your ‘outcome’ and control your destiny! Oh and never be afraid, fear is the major ‘stumbling block’ to success! You have to be a rarity to have no fear, if you are one of those, then you really need to be ‘in the field’.

          • emergency mike 3.4.1.1.1

            Role with it with your EYE on the goal. Thanks man. You took my comment to the next level.

        • Huginn 3.4.1.2

          Conventional business school advice for dealing with psychopaths is to learn as much as you can from them, that is if they have anything to offer, and then get out as fast as you can. Don’t ever try to beat them at their own game.

          My own experience with psychopaths is that they can’t strategize – they’re highly reactive – and this may be connected to their problems admitting to past actions.

          That’s why good governance can sometimes work as a prophylactic.

          • Wolfgang 3.4.1.2.1

            Flurries of candour,
            Immerse in your open field.
            Void is your endlessness,
            But lurking just beyond the pale,
            Is thy heart?
            The beautiful Red,
            Rasping in thorns,
            On the cusp,
            Of the low Moon.
            And serenading is the high tide,
            With language of old?

            Colours mount your brow,
            The vibrancy sweeps,
            Concurrent,
            Securing Her voluptuous limb.
            Sweet and warm,
            Your breath ascends,
            The pavement cracks,
            Low long mist wraps,
            And coils me in your heaven’s scent,
            Inhaling me,
            The Virgin’s breast awakes.

            Once was one time,
            Now past,
            Her veil sculptured Her face,
            On the valiant wind,
            As the calling was issued,
            Meeting under the fold,
            Beneath the ruins of once was.
            Clasping my silver,
            The pangs that rope my chest,
            Tie me to my affliction,
            As I quiver in the midnight scold.

          • Wolfgang 3.4.1.2.2

            With destiny, you ‘deal’ with the situation, when the situation arises!

            I ‘can’ do this!

            I ‘know’ I can!

            He may be a psychopath but I am GOD!

      • Tracey 3.4.2

        SNAP! agree totally

  4. dukeofurl 4

    Smear and Fear ?

    Sounds familiar, SNP played the part of Dotcom, if he didnt exist they would have a list of bogey men as long as your arm to use.

    The election usually means the leader has to take the prime role in the beatups which are normally done by proxies.

    Other examples of Crosby style is pushing more women into responsible cabinet postions, the Tories almost left it too late ,it was a few months before the election. Our Joan of Arc is Paula Bennett, a little talent but rates highly in focus groups as she spouts all the right keywords.

    Ken is right , Crosby is best at the business in the Brit centric world since Joseph G

    These principles are abstracted from Jowett & O’Donnell.( Propaganda & Persuasion)

    Avoid abstract ideas – appeal to the emotions.
    Constantly repeat just a few ideas. Use stereotyped phrases.
    Give only one side of the argument.
    Continuously criticize your opponents.
    Pick out one special “enemy” for special vilification.

    The actual principles from Goebbels are here:
    http://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/Propaganda/goebbels.html

    • Tracey 4.1

      that list is why i laugh at those who saying criticising wont work. attacking clark personally was a major part of nats tactic 2007 to 2008. not the only one but this notion they dont do attacking is laughable

      • felix 4.1.1

        I can’t imagine why a bunch of right-wing national party people would be constantly “advising” us not to criticize the govt if it weren’t that they had our best interests at heart.

        • Tracey 4.1.1.1

          Yes, it’s an odd thing, these folks who gleefully praise the lies of the government but simultaneously want to help the left.

    • Heather Grimwood 4.2

      to Dukeofurl : On reading that url, I find that the author thought Goebbels’ hate stuff might have been because it was wartime. I assure him and anyone reading that url that Goebbels was propaganda minister from 1933.
      My small brother had a toy battleship with metal plate on side which blew up ( dislodged) Goebbels’, Ribbentrop and another when hit from a popgun cork. We knew all about these gents as Dad had us listen to propaganda broadcasts for enlightenment. That’s why I could pick his error.

    • NZSage 4.3

      I’m sure Crosby are also equally adept at countering those tactics.

      The left needs to learn that skill too.

    • Colonial Viper 4.4

      Goebbels did not develop modern propaganda. He learnt that from the Americans, who became masters at it pre WW1. Edward Bernays.

  5. Heather Grimwood 5

    ….continued re propaganda: My other point is that because I learnt early to recognise propaganda, I feel real fear at the brainwashing being so naively taken on board by so many ( in NZ specifically for this conversation) in spite of critical thinking having been taught in schools for many decades.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Ahhh, a current affairs segment on the news. I remember we used to have them as well, once.

  7. SHG 7

    Man, it’s gonna be hard to godwin this one

  8. whateva next? 8

    and surprisingly a link to a Crosby masterclass masterclass, very interesting.
    http://gu.com/p/488t8/sbl

  9. les 9

    Crosby a former Labour man…oh the irony!Likeable and well spoken man.

  10. Penny Bright 10

    So – how come Prime Minister John Key didn’t beat Winston Peters in the recent Northland ‘buy-election’?

    Rather a spectacular FAIL for Crosby Textor?

    Or – did Crosby Textor have absolutely nothing to do with National’s ‘hammering’ and Winston’s ‘nailing it’ in Northland?

    Any comment on that point Mathew Hooten?

    Kind regards

    Penny Bright

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

    • Stuart Munro 10.1

      Propaganda can only take you so far. If you push it too hard, like a property bubble, it will collapse. So National had to look relaxed about Northland, even to the extent of choosing a candidate of no particular promise.

      Then, the opposition decided not to shoot each other in the feet for a change – they reached a pre-election accommodation. A strong candidate with strong local ties was chosen.

      And National screwed up too – they ran their stupid ghost jobs lie out and got caught out. The bridges gave the media ferals something to talk about. And Key and Joyce realised they’d lost somewhat before and began to distance themselves from their man.

      And a few people began to pass the word about prominent New Zealanders – long time National supporters who heard it were sick to their stomachs and didn’t turn out to vote.

  11. peterlepaysan 11

    Key is a well trained puppet.

    Any seasoned journo will treat “press releases” with a healthy dose of scepticism (there are notable exceptions).

    What Key does is express the press release himself, and on many occasions it is obvious he has rehearsed his performance.

    CT script and rehearse JK all the way.

    It works because CT understand the media extremely well.

    Key spouting press release bs does not get questioned.

    At the end of the day do journos care?

    Probly not.

    They are there to provide padding between the advertisements that pay their salaries.

    Key’s response to the levy tax question was well rehearsed and our hard boiled investigative parliamentary press gallery swallowed it.

    We are well past anything Godwins Law could bring up It is looking more like a plutocracy being very carefully nurtured, a la FIFA.

    Gordon Gecko and Wall Street rule, ably assisted by by the national party and a subservient media.

    I smell a long distant revolution coming, probably about two or three generations into the future, provided geopolitical events have not engulfed us beforehand.

    As an aside nz could easily become the new spratley islands and I am sure that jk could broker a deal between usa and china; with a side deal to to hollywood about film rights. All of which which would be breathlessly bruited abroad by our gullible (and possibly corrupt) media swallowing everythihing CT issue.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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