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Spin This!

All the Ways We Don't Tell the Truth

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We're all familiar with the warning, "Don't believe everything you see or hear." Bill Press, the popular co-host of CNN's Crossfire, will have you wondering whether you should believe anything at all.
Spin -- intentional manipulation of the truth -- is everywhere. It's in the White House, in the courtrooms, in headlines and advertising slogans. Even couples on dates -- not to mention book jackets -- are guilty of spin. Now, analyst Bill Press freeze-frames the culture of spin to investigate what exactly spin is, who does it and why, and its impact on American society as a whole.
Depending upon who is doing it, spinning can mean anything from portraying a difficult situation in the best possible light to completely disregarding the facts with the intent of averting embarrassment or scandal. Using examples drawn from recent history -- the Clinton presidency, the Florida recount, and the Bush White House -- Press first probes spin's favorite haunt: politics. In addition to surveying the incarnations of spin in the fields of journalism, law, and advertising, Press also chews on the spin of sex and "dating," a word that has become the very embodiment of spin. Perhaps surprisingly, however, Press argues that spin isn't all bad, and that without it the harsh truths of our times might be too tough to swallow.
With the same keen sense of humor that helped make CNN's Crossfire television's premier debate show and the limited run of The Spin Room so popular, Press turns the tables on the prime purveyors of spin -- called spin doctors -- noting some of their biggest guffaws and blunders. As Press notes, it has become abundantly clear that the twenty-first century, beginning as it has with a president who was "spun into office," will be a fertile stomping ground for spin.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 22, 2001 – Press, the liberal cohost of CNN's Crossfire, has the credentials to study "spin"; after all he is a respectable political pundit who has necessarily practiced the not-so-noble art and has been in turn spun by the best political operatives. Happily for readers, he appears no worse for the experience and maintains a downright playful persona in this lighter-than-air look at the subject. He manages to score direct hits on politicians, fellow members of the press, dead presidents, advertisers and lawyers. He takes obvious joy in the skewering of everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Gary Condit, from Hillary Rodham Clinton, to, well, everyone. Here's his description of a typical reader hitting the snooze button in the morning: Spin: "Just nine more minutes, that's all I need." Truth: I can't stand one more day at that goddamned job. Underneath the mirth, Press also manages to make the important point that spin can be corrosive, misleading and can undermine democratic institutions. Orwellian "Newspeak" has, in Press's view, strong parallels with what he calls "Washingtonspeak." But this book is primarily fun and funny. Especially clever are Press's "translations" of various "spins." Senator Lott upon Senator Jeffords becoming an independent: "There's something liberating about being in the minority" (translation: "I hate no longer being able to wear my Leader's uniform..."). Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill on nuclear power: "If you set aside Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the safety record of nuclear power is really very good" (translation: "If you set aside the mountains, Switzerland is really like New Jersey").

Customer Reviews

Spin This

This is a good read. It provides perspective with regard to the when and the how our so called media/politicos spin us into living in a dream state like a bunch of sheep.

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Spin This!
View in iTunes
  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Events
  • Published: Jan 03, 2002
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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