New Spinsanity book, let's discuss

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, 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?

I haven’t read it, but what you say pretty well matches up with what was written by one of the writers for the Washington Post. I can’t remember his name right now, but it will come to me eventually.

C’mon. They actually told the media something like “Hey guys, don’t ask tax experts about this stuff, just take our word for it!” and they really didn’t consult any?

I can’t believe the Bush folks would be so stupid to make such a request, and the media outlets in question were so stupid to not immediately call a tax expert after hearing this amazingly telling request.

Or was the Bush campaign so smart that they knew the media would be so stupid?

Yes, though it wasn’t as blunt or as obvious as it sounds: it was presented as a quiet exclusive with conditions. Read the book.

Haven’t read the book yet, but I’m curious as to how much (little) overlap it has with The Lies of George W. Bush, which IMO seems to cover similar ground.

I’m interested in reading All the President’s Spin, but I’ll consider buying it only if it isn’t a deja vu experience.

Well, they mostly aren’t interested in outright lies as much as they are the rise of the use of modern PR tactics to spread deceptive spin.