Matthew Hooton’s dirty tactics | The Jackal

2 Sep 2014

Matthew Hooton’s dirty tactics

Outside observers might be watching the National party unravelling and wondering what the hell is going on. This is especially the case with one particular right wing propagandist, Matthew Hooton.

At first Hooton’s behaviour might seem a bit strange. He has after all come out and publicly attacked the Prime Minister on various dirty politics issues. For instance, Hooton claims to have heard on Wednesday about the email that brought down Judith Collins, an email that points to a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice…while the PM claims not to have found out until late Friday night.

In my opinion, making bold statements against John Key about side issues is simply Hooton trying to re-take the narrative that has been damaging National’s re-election chances. The right wing can only start to control the narrative again if it is their spin-doctors who the media approach to get opinion. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, to create a diversion away from the real issues by developing your own controversy that can later be easily explained away. Thankfully most journalists aren’t gullible enough to fall for it.

Here’s the particular play from H. Michael Sweeney’s 25 Rules of Disinformation that Matthew Hooton is attempting to use:

11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions:  Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the "high road" and "confess" with candour that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made — but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, "just isn't so." Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later. Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for "coming clean" and "owning up" to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

Clearly Matthew Hooton is the last person the media should be relying on to get their opinions from. Implicated up to his eyeballs in the right wings dirty politics, Hooton has actively worked with discredited bloggers like Cameron Slater and Cathy Odger’s to publish people’s addresses with the intention of closing them down. Furthermore, he has manipulated iPredict in order to make people believe things that simply aren’t true.

Hooton might be on the face of it coming out and criticising the government, but there's an underlying motive to his behaviour. He’s attempting to subvert the media’s attention away from the issues that really matter. Matthew Hooton is trying to control the narrative in order to later downplay the right wings dirty politics thus minimising the damage to National that the truth is causing.