PRESIDENT. I want you to give me seventeen trillion dollars for the new space program.
CONGRESS. Are you kidding? He's nuts. I can't believe he actually said that. What's the matter with you? Are you out of your mind? No way. No way. Forget it. Don't even think about it.
PRESIDENT. Well, then at least give me ten billion for the Free Hookers for Senators program.
CONGRESS. Well, that at least sounds reasonable. A bit steep, perhaps, but, hey, at least it sounds a sane as opposed to the other one.
Now the whole purpose of the exercise was to get the ten billion for the hookers. The President expected them to turn down the first one.
An article in a major newspaper reads: "Even such benighted country bumpkins as the natives of Austin, Texas, know that the most important thing in the world is not to allow Donald Trump to get elected."
The purpose here was to convince everybody that people who live in Austin are benighted country bumpkins. The author knew that the second point (the Trump issue) was going to infuriate everybody (for various reasons), allowing the first point (giving Austin a bad reputation) to sink unnoticed directly into the readers' subconscious.
My question is: is there a term for this trick (okay, rhetorical device)? Bonus question: did the Greeks know about it? Did THEY have a name for it?