Whataboutism, Obfuscation, Preemptive Framing, and Misdirection


CBS News poll: Majority of Americans and Democrats approve of Trump impeachment inquiry

Sarah Longwell, Trump’s PR Meltdown:

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, this playbook worked for us the first time around with that whole Russia thing. A deft combination of whataboutism, obfuscation, preemptive framing, and misdirection is all we need to pull this off.”

Here’s the problem: Unlike the two-volume, 430-page Mueller report, the whistleblower report is 9 pages long. The central allegation is clear-cut and easy to understand. And it has already been proven true with the release of the call summary between Trump and Ukraine’s president.

You can try to spin the facts and fall back on process-arguments—but the battlespace is much smaller and the tempo is much faster than the Mueller wars. Most people will be able to read the report and anyone who doesn’t can clearly understand what happened: The president was acting like a mafia don by talking about the kind of “help” he could give Ukraine and then asking for “favors.” I mean, even Chris Christie understands that this is a problem: In an attempt to pre-spin all of this before the call summary was released, Christie insisted that it would only be bad for Trump if he said something blatantly extortive. Like, “do me a favor.”

Oops. Again.

Also, the Democrats and the media may be on to you. They’ve seen you run this play before and they’ve made adjustments. And the American people aren’t so sure anymore, either. In fact, a majority of them now back the impeachment inquiry. Including nearly 1-in-4 Republicans.