Yeah, it’s a book, but the topic is politics and how the Bush administration has taken professional PR and marketing tactics to the next level, corrupting public debate and exploiting the media’s reluctance to correct false or misleading impressions itself. It makes probably one of the most devastating and even-handed critiques of how serially dishonest the Bush administration has been in its campaign and 4 years of rule. And it concludes by pointing out the dismal sign that the Kerry campaign and many liberal advocacy seem to be trying to learn from Bush’s example, albiet without as much success.
It’s called All the President’s Spin
and it was written by the guys over at spinsanity.com, who are pretty equal opportunity critics.
There’s a LOT to debate about the thesis and arguments of this book. It’s no tract. There is no raving, no invective, just lots of hard-nosed detailed research. They pull together a lot of things we have all debated before and present them in a clean and clinical manner. And assembled together they do paint a very disturbing picture, not only of the President and his allies, but of the extensive failures of media. The media that acquiesed to the Bush campaign’s request that they report on the Bush tax plan without consulting tax experts. The media that doggedly refused to point out that Bush’s common refrain about a waitress paying no taxes under his new plan was a misleading fraud, or that his examples were carefully cooked.
So… what do people think of it? Are they right? And what can we change about the way our public debate works in this country that would help stop the spread of PR/marketing as a tactic taking us into a world of craven doublespeak from every side?