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  • Spin (propaganda)

    Spin (propaganda)


    • In public relations and politics, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, "spin" often implies the use of , deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics. Spin is typically applied to events or situations which are deemed to be unfavourable or potentially harmful to the popularity of a person, brand or product.

      As such, a standard tactic used in "spinning" is to reframe, reposition, or otherwise modify the perception of an issue or event, to reduce any negative impact it might have on public opinion. For example, a company whose top-selling product is found to have a significant safety problem may "reframe" the issue by criticizing the safety of its main competitor's products or indeed by highlighting the risk associated with the entire product category. This might be done using a "catchy" slogan or sound bite that can help to persuade the public of the company's biased point of view. This tactic could enable the company to defocus the public's attention on the negative aspects of its product.

      As it takes experience and training to "spin" an issue, spinning is typically a service provided by paid media advisors and media consultants. The largest and most powerful companies may have in-house employees and sophisticated units with expertise in spinning issues. While spin is often considered to be a private sector tactic, in the 1990s and 2000s, some politicians and political staff have been accused by their opponents of using deceptive "spin" tactics to manipulate public opinion or deceive the public. Spin approaches used by some political teams include "burying" potentially negative new information by releasing it at the end of the workday on the last day before a long weekend; selectively cherry-picking quotes from previous speeches made by their employer or an opposing politician to give the impression that she or he advocates a certain position; and purposely leaking misinformation about an opposing politician or candidate that casts her or him in a negative light.



      • Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one's position ("cherry picking"). For example, a pharmaceutical company could pick and choose two trials where their product shows a positive effect, ignoring hundreds of unsuccessful trials, or a politician's staff could handpick short speech quotations from past years which appear to show their candidate's support for a certain position)
      • Non-denial denial
      • Non-apology apology
      • "Mistakes were made" is an example of distancing language commonly used as a rhetorical device, whereby a speaker acknowledges that a situation was managed by using low-quality or inappropriate handling but evades any direct admission or accusation of responsibility by not specifying the person or organization who made the mistakes. Grammatically, the expression uses the passive voice to focus on the action while omitting the actor. The acknowledgement of "mistakes" is framed in an abstract sense, with no direct reference to who made the mistakes. The speaker neither accepts personal responsibility nor accuses anyone else. The word "mistakes" also does not imply intent. A less evasive active voice construction would place the focus on the actor, such as: "I made mistakes" or "John Doe made mistakes."
      • Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven claims, or avoiding the question
      • "Burying bad news": announcing unpopular things at a time when it is believed that the media will focus on other news. In some cases, governments have released potentially controversial reports on summer long weekends, to avoid significant news coverage. Sometimes that "other news" is supplied by deliberately announcing popular items at the same time.
      • Misdirection and diversion
      • Roberts, Alasdair S. (2005). "Spin Control and Freedom of Information: Lessons for the United Kingdom from Canada". Public Administration. 83: 1–23. doi:10.1111/j.0033-3298.2005.00435.x. 
      • Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Brooks Jackson (2007): unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation, (Random House Paperback, )
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