“To everything, spin, spin, spin, there is a season, spin, spin, spin…” OK, I know the correct word is “turn,” but in today’s world, spin is far more likely to be the case when referring to the media, our current presidential administration and just about every politician of every stripe on the planet. Spin rules. Truth gets its walking papers, and this powerful and enraging book shows just how much truth has taken a back seat to propaganda on all fronts of the political spectrum.
According to the editors of
Spinsanity.com, a popular website that keeps track of lies and misinformation in the media and government, the current president has made a mastery of the art of spin, but it didn’t begin with Bush. In fact, the art of spin has been around for eons. But, the authors argue, it is Bush who has raised that art to a level of dangerous perfection that is misleading our citizenry to the point of rendering public power and accountability moot.
This chilling book documents all the president’s speeches, SOTU addresses, campaign debates and interviews with the media, then proceeds to show where and when the lies occur, which is pretty darned often. The authors do the same with John Kerry and other deceitful Dems, too, for you conservatives who are about to bash the book as liberal fodder. In fact, they show how spin has been used by a number of politicos and pundits to get a certain agenda pushed forward by manipulating public perception via the weak, spineless media. Oh, and it works every time, folks. Half the country still thinks Saddam had something to do with 9/11. Ignorance is bliss, but it is also very stubborn.
From 9/11 to the war in Iraq to the upcoming elections to Bush’s brilliant (sarcasm here) tax cuts and everything in between, the authors explain how Bush and his team have used the willing media to lie, cheat and deceive the American public in ways that absolutely will have you gasping and wondering, “How could we all be so stupid?” The answer: spin control. He who controls the spin, controls the people. In fact, so blatant has the Bush pattern of media deception become that even some of his fellow Republicans in office are hiding their heads in shame (although not enough to make a difference).
Each chapter covers so much detailed research and offers a multitude of quotes, excerpts of speeches and interviews as examples of exactly how certain words, phrases and statistics were skewered and redelivered to the public as truth, and how the media goes along with this deception as if it were a mighty and noble purpose. The White House’s aggressive PR team including the master of lies, Karl Rove, is profiled, and the use of repetition of lies is looked at in detail as a powerful method of convincing the public that truth is simply a matter of perception… the perception of those in power, mind you.
I felt very angry reading this book, and my anger is directed at all politicians who lie to the public. I don’t care if they are Republicans or Democrats or Greens. Spin is spin, and it always hurts the public who, like the cheated-upon wife, are usually the last to know. This book presents the problem – government control of a spineless media - but also offers some advice for how to fix the problem. Unfortunately, that solution involves people like you and me waking up to the manipulative ways of our “elected” leadership, and demanding that our media tell the truth and our government do the same. It also demands accountability to the public – something that just simply doesn’t exist today, what with Fox News and CNN and MSNBC all leaning rightward and refusing to counter or investigate stories coming directly from the White House or Pentagon.
The final two pages begin with this line: “The harm George W. Bush has done to our political system is profound and will almost certainly last far beyond his time in office.” (pg. 254). Lies upon lies lead to a political system that no longer knows the meaning of truth. Scary, but stoppable if we all just stop acting like Jethro on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” who once told Granny “It has to be real. It says so right in this here comic book!”
Once we all stop believing everything we see and hear on television and radio and the newspapers, and do our own research and truth-seeking, we the people just might win the game of spin.