It’s been interesting to watch the nats and their busy little helpers working away at branding the election campaign as a nasty one.
It’s been disappointing to watch the media falling for it so hard.
Like every election there’s been some nutters defacing billboards across the entire political spectrum. But a couple of weeks ago the two main nat proxies – David Farrar and Cameron Slater started running up defaced National Party billboards with the clear intent of making National the victim.
It makes sense. When your opponent brands themselves positive and you need to suppress their vote the best thing to do is throw around the mud. Thus we’ve had Farrar and Slater desperately linking anything they can that make it look like the campaign is nasty.
And their handlers did a good job of it. Start with some vandalised billboards, then drop a video, then a stupid comment you’ve sat on for a while from a random moron candidate and voilà, you’ve got a narrative.
The irony is, of course that the people driving that narrative are some of the nastiest operators on the web, you only have to look at Slater’s rape culture attacks on Tania Billingsley to see how far these creeps will go to protect their political masters.
But of course the media doesn’t really get irony. So we’ve seen journalists repeating the Nats’ lines verbatim, and Rawdon Christie giving Key a free pass on linking a video of a bunch of drunk kids he picked up from Slater’s blog with the Internet Mana party.
And just on that, imagine if Laila Harre or David Cunliffe had commented on how Slater’s rapey posts were a bad reflection on John Key. Despite the fact there’s a close link between Key and Slater, and that most journalists know this, if only because they’ve been the targets of it, I don’t think any presenter would have let that pass.
And that’s the problem right there. Because until the media start calling National on this shit instead of playing along with it we’ll continue to see the election campaign being about sideshows and distractions. Because the last thing National want to talk about is what actually matters.