Of course what we are talking about is “political spin”. What is twisted about the word “spin” in this case. “Spin” has become a euphemism for lying. Because the word has been twisted and is just a euphemism for what should be plainly stated, I don’t use it much. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE “RIGHT” TO WHATEVER I NEED AND THE “RIGHT” TO WHATEVER I WANT? is an exception, and even then I felt it necessary to define the word. This post provides further explanation.
Consider this video definition.
Here are some more of the better definitions.
- spin (PR, marketing) (whatis.techtarget.com): Although this definition refers to marketing, not political spin, the technique is still the same. A political candidate or political scheme is a product. If you lack sufficient skepticism, you may find the video eyeopening.
- spin control (merriam-webster.com): Spin control refers to the activity that takes place with respect to political spin.
- Spin (propaganda) (en.wikipedia.org)): Discusses spin as a form of propaganda. Politcal spin and propaganda are largely synonymous.
- political spin (britannica.com): This article suggests that political spin contributes to the rise in cynicism.
Since it seems no one is ever punished for political spinning (Lying about one’s product can result in fines.), the deceptions can be quite audacious. Here is an example, In defense of political spin (washingtonpost.com). Consider the ending.
Journalists and intellectuals should — and do — call out politicians when they distort, exaggerate, or manipulate our hopes and fears. In an aphorism usually attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan (but first coined in slightly different form by Bernard Baruch), “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
The problem is that determining which facts are relevant or important to a political debate is part of the challenge — and often the heart of the disagreement. Instead of trying to somehow banish emotion and spin and other less rational elements from the kingdom of politics, we’d be better off trying to inculcate in our fellow citizens a critical sense that helps us question and evaluate politicians’ claims — and maybe, just once in awhile, to know when to believe in what they say. (from here)
The Washington Post doesn’t spin the news? That paper’s reporters just have a problem determining which facts are relevant? Their emotional involvement just makes it difficult for them to be objective?
Others, however, dream of The Death of ‘Spin’ (Will It Kill The Future Of Public Relations?) (forbes.com). When I looked at its publication date and read this article, I just cracked up. Here is an excerpt.
As a content universe we’ve come to expect the death of traditional SEO as it is supplanted by quality content, though many continue to grapple with the results. That evolution is big, and it’s beneficial. But now for the next horizon: the media universe (and Google algorithms) are increasingly demanding content that is not only authentic (and yes, interesting) but also genuine in its representation and devoid of manipulation and spin.
Is it even possible to eliminate spin? In my opinion, yes, it is. Bear in mind, however, I believe the hours expert writers spend creating irresistible headlines, using power words to command attention and testing A and B alternatives to provoke a result are not a breach of integrity, so long as the content of the piece is genuine to the promise of the headline, and provides readers with material and information that is honest, accurately identified and cited, and that they genuinely want to receive. (from here)
In the last election, Google tried to boost the Democratic Party. We know the Google SEO was programmed to produce partisan results. That is a form of spinning these days.
So can we eliminate spin? Can we eliminate people who lie? No, but we voters can learn to do our homework, and we can work to make the information we need available to study. However, to do that we have to deal with three big problems.
- Our government runs our education system from kindergarten through the most advanced degree programs. Effectively, that means we have given politicians the power to control what our children are taught and who teaches them. Because of the massive amount of government-funded research, even the results of scientific research can be biased by those in power. Hence, many don’t trust the proponents of global warming because too many politicians are using the results of the research as an increasingly blatant excuse to seize more power for themselves.
- Our news information systems have become more and more obviously partisan. That partisanship has become increasingly apparent for two reasons. The rise of cable TV allowed news networks to form without the requirement for FCC licensing. Formerly both radio and TV signals had to be broadcasted over the air, and that requires FCC licensing. That meant government official could not threaten to revoke FOX’s or CNN’s licenses because they did not need licenses. The rise of the Internet also allowed news media outlets to form and publish inexpensively without government restrictions. As a result, we have many more point-of-views available, but fact checking can be difficult. It takes time to assess the reliability of a new source.
- Instead of being for-profit enterprises, new organizations often serve as the propaganda tools of corporate interests. The owners of these news organizations and government officials can work in cahoots with each other. This results from Crony Capitalism. The more power we give our government, the greater the temptation for politicians and corporate interests to engage in Crony Capitalism. If and when crony capitalists own most of the news media, there is very little chance those crony capitalists will allow the news media they own to publish anything about their own nefarious schemes or the schemes of their buddies.
There is a complete list “Of Twisted Words” posts at the first post in this series, OF TWISTED WORDS => FEMINISM.