There’s a standard formula that Crosby/Textor has its clients use when damaging information comes out.
a) refuse to engage. The most senior public response to the revelation that Brand Key has been created by exactly the same people who ran Brash’s divisive, racist campaign in 2005 has come from Key’s chief of staff. No politician has commented. Key will be forced to comment during his Wednesday interviews but look for another C/T line that he will repeat in every interview something along the lines of ‘no, look, the real issue here is why Helen Clark is so obsessed with who I get advice from when hardworking Kiwis are suffering from 9 years of overtaxation’.
b) attack the messenger. Off-the-record comments to journos from senior Nats have focused on attacking Hager’s credibility, just as they have with other journos who don’t faithful report the lines (eg Barry Soper, Greg Robertson). As with the Hollow Men, National is spreading rumours that Hager has somehow ‘stolen’ National emails. Not only is that claim baseless (the Police concluded there was no theft), it also doesn’t explain who gave Hager faxes, meeting notes, and diaries.
c) misdirection. The ‘stolen email’ ruse is being used again. a classic piece of misdirection. Rather than looking at how the public image of Key and National has been created and the tactics they use to shut down the informed debate which is democracy’s life-blood, political commentators are already falling for the misdirection and asking ‘who gave Hager the info’? (any fool knows it’s the English camp).
This is the same formula we saw last week when Key revealed he knows nothing of New Zealand history, the same as we saw when Key said “we would love to see wages drop“, and we’ll see it again every time the mask of Brand Kep slips.