The first rule of political propaganda is ‘make it believable’. The second rule is if you can’t do that, at least make sure it’s hard to disprove.
Apparently, no-one over at Labor Party headquarters got that memo, because there’s no other possible way to explain the third grade stunt they tried to pull off overnight.
As Australians sauntered off to bed, an official ALP advertisement began doing the rounds on Facebook.
If you missed it, here it is:
Labor are basing the quote in the ad on a story that ran across media yesterday evening. Here’s how the Sydney Morning Herald called it: ‘Never say never’: Skivvy-swathed Richard Di Natale open to coalition with the Liberal Party.
Technically, that’s not a lie. At least, it’s not a Paul Sheehan-esque lie. Di Natale did sort of say that in the interview. But it is most definitely the sort of click-baity nonsense for which the Herald has fast become famous.
Here’s the full quote, which in context, paints a radically different picture.
“In my view it’s much more likely that the opportunity rests with Labor, but you should never rule out any possibility, though it’s unlikely. ‘Never say never’ is the quote I’d use about everything in politics.”
In Labor’s defence, Di Natale has been leading with his chin of late. Not only is the ALP is furious with him over the deal he cut with the Coalition to support reforms to Senate voting (aimed at wiping out the micro party system the Greens used in the early days to get elected), but Di Natale is also slated to appear in a 6-page fashion shoot for GQ magazine, wearing a black polo neck sweater.
All he needs to complete the parody is a latte in one hand and a bill from an expensive private school in the other. And maybe some of his cattle in the background.
But there’s still no defending the ad… a fact probably not lost on the ALP webmasters this morning, as hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of comments began piling up on their Facebook page. Very few of them were complimentary.
Even more problematic for Labor is the timing. Only this week, two graphics have been getting big shares on social media. They put the lie to Labor’s ad claim… and of course, they were shared heavily in the comments section of the ALP ad, despite the best efforts of moderators to delete them as they appeared.
And it gets worse. The Labor hack who posted the ad also decided to include a little extra ‘zinger’, the likes of which Bill Shorten would have probably been proud… provided he never stopped to actually think about it too hard.
Really? You sure? Do the words ‘Kevin Rudd’ ring any bells?
If this is how Labor plans to run its election campaign, Malcolm Turnbull could take six weeks off and holiday in the Maldives, naked, and still win.
The upshot: It’s going to be long election year, folks.
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