There is a new clip doing the rounds showing the disastrous leafleting campaign Theresa May and Ruth Davidson undertook during their recent clandestine visit to Banchory, while on the 2017 General Election campaign trail.
In summary, the respective leaders of the Conservative Party attempted a bit of showboating for the cameras by going door to door in the small, rural town. The first resident approached politely declines from a distance, while there’s no answer at the next few doors and subsequently they give up.
It’s all very amusing, set to a humorously jaunty soundtrack with speeded up dialogue and presents a snapshot of “one of those days” where if anything can go wrong, it will.
Schadenfreude can be an amusing thing, especially when it comes to someone as inherently malevolent as Theresa May. However, you have to ask the question why is this footage being released now, two days after the event has been shared across social media already?
Sky News, a Murdoch owned monster, is one of the Conservative Party’s strongest media allies. Is this an attempt at political balance?
The answer is a lot more contrived and illustrates the extent of media manipulation by getting opponents of the Tories to do their bidding for them.
First, let’s look at the actual footage. It humanizes the current PM. She’s just like one of us and can have minor mishaps at the office too. Such sympathies are not going to win over any new support but it will resonate soundly with her existing core support in the Home Counties.
Second, and more importantly, this clip is intended and designed to deflect attention away from the catastrophic last few days Mrs May has had elsewhere in the British media.
Namely the interview on The Andrew Marr Show where she could only repeat nonsensical soundbites – the most dreadful being refusing to comment on NHS nurses having to use food banks due to their salary not covering the most basic human need of food.
Social media, for both good and bad, can be a great leveler when it comes to spin, hype and indoctrination. We’ve come a long way from just 3 channels on the telly and political parties, with their master manipulators like Lynton Crosby, know this.
However, they also know there’s only a limited amount of information a person is subjected to via these channels. This is down to both the algorithms that are the backbone of platforms like Facebook or Twitter and the fact we are all human with lives to lead and can’t take it all in.
The strategy then is to take up as much of the “digital footprint” as possible, flooding the internet and pushing the real damaging material – nurses using food banks – out of sight.
So the next time you see a funny status update or tweet, look at the source and question the motives of the originators behind it. The standard deflection tactic is nothing new but in this digital age, it could be one we are all actually complicit in through our own likes and shares.