Limited Hangout

Nov 22 / Network Capital
By self-exposing a previously hidden secret, politicians, journalists, etc., prevent a greater exposure of more detrimental information. It is a form of a propaganda technique.

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In a very James Bond fashion, the term Limited Hangout originally gained currency as a spy-intelligence jargon during the American Watergate scandal in the 1970s. It is a popular deviation and dis- traction strategy. The act of deliberately revealing limited information to the public to divert them from a much more heinous, detrimental, scandalous or classified information.

It has three central implications. First, by voluntarily sharing true and useful information, a source may gain credibility which they can use later. It provides some immunity against counter- information in the future, and builds a positive reputation. Second, it desensitizes the public towards further scandalous and shocking information. It creates a new degree of morality and normalcy. Third, it protects the information that is ‘hung out’ from reaching public knowledge.

Limited Hangout has been an active tactic used not just by extremist groups and government intelligence agencies, rather, in its more mellow form, it is used by companies and businesses to maintain their reputation. Our modern systems of public affairs, media (online and offline) and information dissemination are a function of Limited Hangout.