- What makes you think that…?
- What? Don’t you trust me?
A prime example of this tactic was presented in 2012 by Newt Gingrich during his bid for Republican presidential candidate, when confronted by, conspiracy-exposing activists WeAreChange.org. (Not trying to single out Newt Gingrich, but unfortunately he has provided some excellent examples of deflection tactics as a politician.) The video of this encounter is provided in the supporting material 18. The transcript of their exchange is as follows (emphasis added):
QUESTIONER: You consider yourself a Catholic. What happens when you worship Molech at the Bohemian Grove?
NEWT GINGRICH: (doesn’t respond – looks incredulous)
QUESTIONER: The New York Post says that male prostitutes are shipped in to the Bohemian Grove. Can you tell us what happens there?
GINGRICH: You actually believe all this junk?
QUESTIONER: Bill Clinton said that Republicans run around naked in the woods there. And you don’t want to know what Richard Nixon said about the place. That’s the place you attended. It’s a secret society. Can you tell us at least who invited you?
GINGRICH: (chuckles) You know, it’s nice to know that there’s some people who have fantasy lives. [Ed. note: yet again, shame / embarrass the questioner]
Gingrich had the right to simply refuse to say anything to the activist at all. However, instead of answering the questions, or attempting to correct the activist’s allegations of Bohemian Grove, Gingrich diverts and places attention back on the questioner by retorting with another question.
Pot Calling the Kettle Black
(Project Own Faults on Accuser/Questioner)
“The pot is sooty (being placed on a fire), while the kettle is clean and shiny (being placed on coals only), and hence when the pot accuses the kettle of being black, it is the pot’s own sooty reflection that it sees: the pot accuses the kettle of a fault that only the pot has, rather than one that they share…” 19
““Oho!” said the pot to the kettle; “You are dirty and ugly and black! Sure no one would think you were metal, Except when you’re given a crack.”
““Not so! not so!” kettle said to the pot; “‘Tis your own dirty image