Yes it is used often.
I wonder if the "basement claims" were done for that reason. That is, some people who ate at the Pizza place where originally confronted with involvement with child trafficking's and they then elaborated the accusations with a basement torture chamber and then later Mars trips to deflect the charges. That is, they moved the narrative to something that they could easily shoot down even if the original acquisitions where true. After all who would not say Mars trips where crazy.
Not saying it was done, only that such deflections are often made. Even some here use the technic. They take what others say and twist it by using other words to something else that is more easily dismissed or used for attack.
Misdirection is a powerful tool - use ask a magician.