Spin Political Campaigns Consist Not essay

Download this essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from essay:

They seek to set the news agenda for the next day, meaning that they want their view to be the one adopted by journalists and editorial writers. They believe that if they can have that influence, they can make the news story more positive for their candidate and more negative for the opposing candidate. The spin session is part of the televised debate today, and as Morano (1996) notes, "Behind the scenes at the presidential debates the polemics and posturing are almost ludicrous as touts attempt to hustle the hustlers of the national media" (para. 1).

Hoffman (2005) analyzed a different sort of spin, the spin offered by Karl Rove in the aftermath of the Valerie Plame case in which Rove and others were accused of having leaked the CIA agent's name to the media in order to discredit her husband. Hoffman states,

General semantics applications can be applied to Rove's spin, what Freeman refers to as "Rove's World," and to the spin coming from opponents of the GOP, who would love to see Rove brought down by the Plame case (para. 22).

Hoffman characterizes Rove's approach by noting that "Rove has become a master at putting out images that first strike the viewer or reader at the lower level of abstracting, nearer the sensory level, and then encourage a big semantic leap to a higher level, of political theory, social values, or cultural bias" (para. 23). Hoffman cites another researcher on this same subject with a description that could fit many spinmeisters as he "wrote about how Rove structures the world in extreme Aristotelian, two-valued structure. There is only black and white, no gray. There are good guys and bad guys, who use what Hayakawa referred to as purr and snarl words" (para. 27).

The simplistic level of much spin is why it seems less effective, for it also depicts the world in black and white and is transparent to those who see the world in a more complex manner. For those who do not, though, spin confirms their simpler view of the world and so may have an effect. How effective spin may be can be difficult to determine. For the most part, the winning candidate's supporters may be able to point to his or her victory as proof that their spin was effective, though arguably this may not be the case when the losing side has been responsible for the most energetic spin, as was probably the case with the recent loss of John McCain. After debates with Obama, McCain's supporters could be heard asserting in a variety of ways that McCain had clearly won the debate and that each of his points was also accepted and desired by the American people. Yet, McCain lost the election. At best, supports might claim that he would have lost by an even wider margin if their spin had not swayed many voters, but there is no way to test this for certain. What can be said with certainty is that spin speaks first to the base and bolsters their already-held opinions. Spin also becomes the story the next day, though spin from both sides is reported and so creates a sort of written debate. That debate might sway some voters just as the one on television might. So long as spin is indulged in by both sides, its full impact over and above other events and other debates can only be judged by the final outcome of the election.

A related issue that may affect how much effect spin has is the way the news media treats spin. The media have been criticized for accepting statements of all sorts from campaigns and of not doing the fact checking that would show what is true and what is not. Critics often complain "about the lack of accountability journalism, [with] the press not wanting to inject itself into the presidential race" (Robertson, 2004, p. 38). Robertson (2004) cites Lawrence Schumacher, a politics and government reporter at the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota, on the subject as he states, "If it's not everybody doing it all the time, then the repetition from the campaigns is going to win" (p. 38).

Spin is not necessarily deceptive, but it can become the accepted fact even if it is incorrect if it is repeated often enough. Even debunked "facts" can gain ground with some people, as can be seen from the recent election among those who continue to repeat that Obama is a Muslim (which he is not) or that he cannot be president because he is not an American citizen (also not true). The news media did indeed challenge these statements and provide proof that they were not true, and yet there are still people who believe that these statements are true. Perhaps they simply want to believe these things in order to have a reason to oppose Obama, but in any case, they continue to repeat them in a form of ongoing spin that might influence some impressionable people.

The idea of spin is usually negative, and the view taken by using the word "spin" is that the statement being made has been shaped to give an impression and not to give the truth. One problem is that the news media often does not differentiate between repeated statements that are true and repeated statements that are not true, calling both "spin," as if they were equivalent. They are not equivalent, of course, since one is true and one is false. Both may be deemed "spin" by the news media, though, implying that both sides are lying, which may not be the case. The lack of fact checking is one reason for this, but a form of intellectual laziness is also responsible. It is simply easier to call statements by both sides "son" than to do the fact checking required or to differentiate in each case to show what is true and what is not. Another reason is the one given above, that the news media does not want to inject itself into the campaign process and so just reports on what people said without saying what is true and what is not. News people also want to avoid being labeled liberal or conservative according to whether they say someone is telling the truth or not. Spin remains as effective as it is in part because it is not challenged forcefully by any objective source. If the other side says something is not true, that might be discounted because that side has its own agenda. If an objective and accepted authority says something is not true, the public would likely at least have doubts and might simply reject the statement made as untrue.

So long as the news media in general refuses to make that determination, though, spin will have some power. As noted above, it is not enough for one or two sites or one or two media outlets to do this job; it is a job that has to be done by the media as a whole to be effective. As can be seen by the beliefs about Obama's religion and citizenship, though, it is also apparent that even when the news media as a whole makes the determination that something is not true, that does not mean the public as a whole will accept that determination. Spinners depend on this and hope to reach some people who will be influenced by what they say.

Spin also has a different effect when reported than when delivered. Immediately after a debate, for instance, the people who hear the spin are primarily people interested in politics, or they would not be watching, and are mainly those who just saw the debate, so they will gauge what they hear from supporters against what they heard from the candidates themselves. The reports the next day will each many more people and mainly people who did not see the debate and who are therefore easier to convince about who won and who lost and other issues. Spin has power for this reason as well, and if it becomes the accepted story told about the event, then many people will have the same view as if they had been there themselves.

References

Hoffman, G. (2005).

Symbol Manipulation and Boomerang Spin. ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Volume 62, Issue 4. Retrieved November 28, 2008 at http://www.questia.com/read/5011745083?title=Symbol%20Manipulation%20and%20Boomerang%20Spin.

Jamieson, Kathleen Hall. Packaging the Presidency. New York: Oxford University, 1980.

Morano, M. (1996, November 4). Manipulating the Voters from Inside Spin Alley. Insight on the News, Volume 12, Issue 41. Retrieved November 28, 2008 at http://www.questia.com/read/5001639190?title=Manipulating%20the%20Voters%20from%20Inside%20Spin%20Alley.

The Racine Group (2002). White Paper on Televised Political Campaign Debates. Argumentation and Advocacy, Volume 38, Issue 4. Retrieved November 28, 2008 at http://www.questia.com/read/5000789928?title=White%20Paper%20on%20Televised%20Political%20Campaign%20Debates.

Robertson, L. (2004, December). Campaign Trail Veterans for Truth: As the Election Neared, News Organizations Aggressively Fact-Checked the Assertions of the Presidential Contenders, in Analysis Pieces and Sometimes in Spot…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Spin Political Campaigns Consist Not" (2008, November 29) Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/spin-political-campaigns-consist-not-26327

"Spin Political Campaigns Consist Not" 29 November 2008. Web.30 November. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/spin-political-campaigns-consist-not-26327>

"Spin Political Campaigns Consist Not", 29 November 2008, Accessed.30 November. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/spin-political-campaigns-consist-not-26327

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Health Advocacy Campaign

    Health Advocacy Campaign - Childhood Obesity Childhood Obesity Most of the health issue that people face on a day-to-day basis do not become pandemics. But this is not the case with obesity. Over a billion people are affected by obesity worldwide (Miller, et al., 2004). The statistics are particularly discouraging for children who are obese. Children who have a body mass index (BMI) that is greater than the figures in the 85th

  • Presidential Election & TV the

    Also, viewers may perceive the negative advertising as an infringement upon their right to decide for themselves. Such a perception may result in reactance, a boomerang effect in which the individual reacts in a manner opposite to the persuader's intention. What these studies show, then, is that a candidate is never going to know how for sure how a negative ad may impact the voters. In the long run,

  • Mice Marketing Proposal the International

    In addition, Rome's issue is not name recognition, but rather positioning. Public relations is more effective at shifting the positioning of the Rome brand than attending trade shows. The primary advantage of a PR campaign and the related media relations is that the message reaches the target market. The media are beneficiaries of the campaign, so will be willing partners. This allows the message to be spread. Public relations is

  • Enron Was the Seventh Largest

    Enron could engage in their derivative trading strategy with no fear of government intervention because derivative trading was specifically exempted from government regulation. Due in part to a ruling by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's (CFTC) chairwoman, Wendy Graham, derivatives remained free of regulatory oversight. Ms. Graham, wife of Texas senator Phil Graham, made this ruling 5 weeks before resigning as chairwoman of the CFTC and joining the Enron Board

  • Viacom Is One of the

    In 1996 Westinghouse/CBS bought Infinity radio broadcasting and outdoor advertising group for $4.7 billion, a deal that was largely the result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Telecommunications Act heavily deregulated the media industry and allowed a company to significantly increase the amount radio stations it could own. In 1997, Viacom dealt its educational, professional and reference publishing businesses to Pearson for $4.6 billion, and retains Simon & Schuster.

  • Free Are American Media Events Occur and

    Free Are American Media Events occur and become news, news circulate all around the globe. In early times it was almost impossible to convey these happening with in short period of time but with the advent of time technology grew exponentially and gave a fast source of communication called "media." Media has played a very important role throughout. Any event occurring in one side of the globe gets to the other

  • Public Sphere Democratic Governance Relates

    Some of the communication technologies include news content, internet (social media platforms), campaigns, billboard advertisements, and organized interaction forums . These technologies are essential in enhancing interactions between the society and the state thus promotion of good or effective governance. Communication practices are forms of communication such as language, setting, mode, target audience, and content of information shared between the sender and the receiver. Communication practices and technology focuses on


Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved