Dead cat strategy
Dead cat strategy, or Deadcatting, refers to the introduction of a dramatic, shocking, or sensationalist topic to divert discourse away from a more damaging topic. The strategy, or at least the "dead cat" metaphor to describe it, is particularly associated with Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby.
History and usage
Identification of examples may be considered subjective; some articles citing the technique are listed for illustration:
There is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted. That is true, but irrelevant. The key point is that everyone will shout, ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!’ In other words, they will be talking about the dead cat – the thing you want them to talk about – and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.
- Chewbacca defense, a similar strategy in criminal law
- Diversionary foreign policy
- Post-truth politics
- Propaganda techniques
- Rally 'round the flag effect
- Wag the Dog
- Clarke; Kellner; Stewart; Twyman; Whiteley (2015). Austerity and Political Choice in Britain. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-137-52494-2.
- Milbank, Dana (25 January 2017). "Don't get distracted by Trump's 'dead cats'". Opinion. Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
Distraction has long been Trump’s modus operandi. ... When news coverage of his transition was particularly tough, he created a new narrative by attacking the cast of the musical 'Hamilton.' It’s a constant use of the 'dead cat' strategy: throw a dead cat on the table, and prior conversation on any other topic ceases.
- Maltby, Kate (22 November 2016). "'Hamilton' is Trump's dead cat". Opinion. CNN.
There is a story, popular among British politicians and attributed to the Australian strategist Lynton Crosby, known as 'The Dead Cat.' A CEO is confronted with poor statistics at a board meeting, and to divert attention from this unpleasant news, he suddenly pulls out a dead cat and throws it onto the middle of the table.
- Delaney, Sam. "How Lynton Crosby (and a dead cat) won the election: 'Labour were intellectually lazy'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- Johnson, Boris (3 March 2013). "This cap on bankers' bonuses is like a dead cat – pure distraction". The Telegraph.
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