relations, spin is form of propaganda, achieved through
providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to
persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain
organization or public figure. While traditional public
relations may also rely on creative presentation of the
facts, "spin" often, though not always, implies
disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative
Politicians are often accused by their opponents of
claiming to be honest and seek the truth while using
spin tactics to manipulate public opinion.
Because of the frequent association between "spin" and
press conferences (especially government press
conferences), the room in which these take place is
sometimes described as a spin room. A group of people
who develop spin may be referred to as "spin doctors"
who engage in "spin doctoring" for the person or group
that hired them.
The techniques of spin include:
* Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support
one's position (cherry picking)
* Non-denial denial
* Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths
* Euphemisms to disguise or promote one's agenda
* "Burying bad news": announcing one popular thing at
the same time as several unpopular things, hoping that
the media will focus on the popular one.
Edward Bernays has been called the "Father of Spin". In
his book he describes some situations in
twentieth-century America where tobacco and alcohol
companies used techniques to make certain behaviors more
socially acceptable. Bernays was proud of his work as a
Another spin technique involves the delay in the release
of bad news so it can be hidden in the "shadow" of more
important or favorable news or events. A famous
reference to this practice occurred when UK government
press officer Jo Moore used the phrase It's now a very
good day to get out anything we want to bury in an email
sent on September 11, 2001, following the attacks on the
World Trade Center.