Spinning top, bought in Prague
Spinning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Edit: I wrote this early Saturday morning with no intention of publishing.  However the media was still at the six word spin furnished by the GOP Monday night and feel the need to post it.)


When does spin become news, maybe it always has been but with cable news and pontificating shows on 24/7 it is a staple like bread, milk, salt and sugar unless we are gifted with hours of a “Prison” interruption.

However it smacked me upside the head yesterday like being hit by an NFL linebacker who has been smacked way too many times, think of them as the talk show host, a little numb in the noggin.  But can I really blame them?  They get paid large money to ease the mind numbing head slams making it  nearly painless.  A money drip instead of a morphine drip.

But why do they have to impart the pain on me without the comfort of drugs or money because the head slam I got yesterday certainly was quite painful.  Luckily when I shook it off it all became quite clear to me.  News is news and spin is spin but so can spin be news and that can be spun into news and the news no longer exists because the news is now the spin.  Which is news!   Newspin? Spinews?

Yesterday began with a press conference on the economy starting with a statement by the President and followed by questions from the reporter sect lasting 27 minutes and 31 seconds.  That is news and it was reported as such.  Fine.  The part that the media reported was on the leak of the ‘Kill-List,” foreign policy stuff so not big news, who pays attention to that stuff, right?  So from a 30 minute presser the cable is left with 15/20 second clip of the President showing his anger on the leak.  Pretty lean stuff for them.

Then about  two hours later: WHAM!  A Republican staffer (unpaid intern?) found these words: “The private sector is doing fine.” That’s it.  Out of a 30 minute presser those six words and out of context became the news because the Republicans spun it so.  And by news, I mean we had to have the Speaker of the House say those six words, then the Majority Leader and the Majority Whip.  It was news!   But was it?  No, it was what the Republicans saying what they thought that was what the president was saying.  Not news, spin but the spin has now became the news.  All this and the reporters and news departments didn’t have to lift a finger.  The Republicans could even provide them the clips if they wanted (C-Span was there.)
Mission accomplished the Republicans have now framed both the news and the questions the news people  will now ask and they did very little work, the media did most of the work.  The Republicans spent very little time on it actually, they did some Luntzesque twist on six words, C-Span made their clips to furnish  to the media the media spread it and they own the news.

Pause: Anyone remember what the news was when the day started?

Oh, but it’s not over, not even close, we still have the talkers and what is their lede, yep, those same six words gratis the RNC.   No need to any work there.  Let’er ride!  And who joins in to lend a hand with the spin but good solid Dems. “Let’s go to our super panel….Was Obama wrong.”  Sure, they may voice their disagreements one way or another, they will even get in a heated discussion with the host and/or others on a  point or two and while being well meaning, fully supporting the President, they are discussing the Republicans talking point.  The Republicans have framed the question, done, over, painless and nearly oblivious.
And this is on the “librul channel.”

Think it stopped Friday night, that it would end when the “smart shows”  came on in the morning?  Nope, both Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry let the RNC spin, spin like a brand new top.  And when the “news” came on with Alex Witt should we expect anything different?

I’m not even sure if it’s something like “corporate media” can be blamed.  More like a lazy news department I think, and that they are somewhat ignorant, unconscious of what they are even doing, part of the whole fairness thing, what draws veiwers/ratings and it’s just the way it has been done and will be done.   What I fear, they think it is news.

What could they have done before going to the spin?  Maybe watch and or read the transcript from the press conference and look for any facts to see if what the President said had any validity what was the context.    I just did it in about 5 minutes while sipping coffee and watching TV, tough  job.  It’s called fact checking, it’s called TV production.

Q    What about the Republicans saying that you’re blaming the Europeans for the failures of your own policies?

THE PRESIDENT:  The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone.  The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.

And so, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry.  Because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result, I think most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more.

They also might like to take some pride and thought into their work before ratings.  Who’s to say that the whole story, not the Republican spin may have brought them better ratings?  People may appreciate the truth and taking six words out of a thirty minute press conference is not news or even good spin.

Now that would be a shocker!

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Bito, this habit of echoing propaganda simply because it’s controversial is not journalism, it is more of a tabloid mentality which is exploitative, not informative. Years back, if propaganda was tossed out, journalists may have reported on it depending on its actual importance and relevance but they would have framed it as untrue and presented the facts that proved that. It didn’t used to be considered “being partisan” for journalists to identify falsehoods.

Instead, as a way to benefit from having more stories to broadcast (which 24 hour news stations are desperate for) and to cover their backsides as journalists in the now-corrupt form of “being impartial”, propaganda is echoed around the media by just stating the one little fact that “Republicans are saying…” then following it up with echoing their big lies, misrepresentations and propaganda and tagging on, “What do you think, is this true?” or tossing it out to talking heads who debate its accuracy.

As you point out, the net result is that those who shovel out the dirtiest mud into the street, get it spread all around the street by people who kick it around.

As to this justification of using, “Republicans are saying,”…well, anyone can say anything and you can report as a fact that someone said it, does that mean that broadcasting an untrue accusation just because it’s true that someone said it is responsible journalism?

People on Fox News might have their hair on fire over a phony controversy…intended purely to spread propaganda…does that mean that the rest of the media should report on that? How does that serve their duty to accurately inform the public when a fraction of their story is based on fact while the body of it is false statements intended to mislead and manipulate those who hear it?

Even at a network like MSNBC that does offer many honest and Progressive-hosted show, viewers still need to voice their opinions to the network to let them know that they don’t want them to give aid and comfort to the propagandists and spinmeisters in this way.



I think you probably speak for a lot of people. But one thing we all have going for us is most people are too busy to even pay much attention. They may not get the info they need to make a sound decision but they also might be sitting back and reasoning their way through it. I saw a little of both at the polls. Some people were very knowledgeable and some were clueless. The non-partisan voters were the worst. They signed up for a non party affiliation that did not give them what they wanted and they did not even care to figure it out before they went in the booth.

In CA you can be non-partisan however when you go to vote you can only vote ballots where the major parties agreed to allow it or vote your party that did not have a president. But it was also funny to see what they did. Dem, Green and AIP were the only parties to allow it. Most people picked Dem but they were astounded they had no Presidential candidate to vote for on their own ballot. So you have people trying to make a statement without even understanding what the consequences of that statement actually are, however I still am of the mind that watching msm all day long rots your brain. But, when you choose not to do it, it becomes your responsibility to educate yourself with credible resources.

There was one other good thing I saw and that was parents bringing their children to the polls with them to show them how a democracy works. Benicia, where I live, is a happy little town. If I did not know better I might think people are sprinkled with happy dust every night. It is just one of those towns where people are friendly and smile alot. There are a lot of artists and intellectuals in the town and it provides a very easy going atmosphere. Republicans who run the museum and are proud of a GIRL SCOUT 100 or 200 year display(whichever it is) and are proud that they can teach young people the history of the town. Very unusual town I think.


b’ito, I’m so glad you decided to post this. Thank you.

Since I’ve dropped cable TV, I feel I’m at a major disadvantage in being able to discern the latest spinning trends. And it really is important to be aware of what “they” want you to think about — to believe.

But I do have to say that I’ve been thinking about a parallel trend that seems to be becoming more common lately. I call it the “Translation Spin Syndrome.”

RW churches and Glenn Beck specialize in this technique. I’m sure you’ve noticed that RW churches nearly always insist on using the King James version of the bible. I’m convinced that this is at least partially due to the fact that a sizable portion of their congregations, if asked to read one of Paul’s letters in the King James version and then explain what it meant, would be slack jawed clueless. This gives the pastor the perfect opportunity to translate the translation. “Here, son, let me enlighten you as to what Paul really meant — which was tax cuts for the wealthy.”

Beck does the same thing. I understand he’s published some sort of “Federalist Papers For Dummies” book. Granted the Federalist papers are written in a fairly elegant form of English. But it’s still English! Nevertheless, Beck assumes on behalf of his listeners that they are incapable of comprehending the papers as written. They need Beck to translate for them. We all can imagine the Beckian spin on Jay, Madison and Hamilton — which could only be rivaled by the three of them spinning at warp speed in their graves, appalled at what Citizen Beck has done to their orderly, well-researched and generally liberal thoughts.

So what people end up getting is not the bible, but the spin. Not primary historical documents, but the spin. Even NPR falls into this. The other day I was listening to “Marketplace” on the European debt crisis. The reporter is getting paid to go from pub to pub interviewing European people in various states of sobriety on what they feel about the crisis. You can go to their website and find a chart that compares the prices of a pint of ale in various countries. Nice gig for the reporter. Not too helpful for people trying to get hard facts on the crisis.

This was followed on NPR by an iPhone vs. Android story. I was naively expecting a compare/contrast on the relative merits of them both. Silly me. No — I learned that cool urban girls use iPhones while geeky midwestern guys (with heads that are slightly larger than average — ?????–) use Androids. Facts?…whut them?



Wow Kes that took a lot out of you. Very astute reasoning though. Is that what getting rid of cable could do for people? They actually have to break it down themselves(like you did) and reason it out. I believe that is what we had to do when the news only came on at 5:00. Ted Turner should be very proud of the network he built but I wonder if he also looks back now and thinks how the copy cats took it way too far and lost their way?


😆 Y’know, BFF…now that you mention it, since I got rid of cable I believe I have been thinking more…

Izzat what’s making my head hurt? 😆


Kes, thought you might find this interesting or make you want to puke:

Glenn Beck strikes $100 million radio and online deal

“Ratings for Beck’s radio show have grown nearly 50 percent over the last five years, and in its 10th year with Premiere it is typically the third highest-rated show in talk radio behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Premiere carries both of their shows as well.”

I can’t believe that anyone would listen to this idiot! Or the other two listed. Gee, are there really that many nuts out there?!?


I know, right Sally? Who listens to that charlatan?

I really think he doesn’t believe most of what he says himself. He seems to be laughing up his sleeve so often.

This is a big joke to him and he’s laughing all the way to the bank.


You got that right, Bito! They spun on the sound bite. Good article!