Politicians spin. It’s a fact of life. But nobody spins quite like the Bush administration. I’ve gotten used to the feeling that whenever I hear Bush or one of his cronies speak, I’m going to hear nothing but lies and manipulative language. I’ve listened to George “Don’t Think of an Elephant” Lakoff, and dug his ideas. I’ve heard Frank “Words that Work” Luntz speak on the radio, and wanted to spit in his face. I feel like I understand what spin is, and can tell when I’m hearing it. My spin-dar is pretty sensitive at this point.
It’s one thing to know you’re hearing spin. Knowing how to counter it is a whole different story. A fellow named Jeffrey Feldman has written a terrific article that unpacks those adjectives, so to speak. It’s an incisive analysis of Bush’s recent press conference about the US Attorney firing scandal. Feldman identifies the five deliberately misleading buzzwords that were the real purpose of the press conference, and provides accurate alternatives for journalists to use when covering the story. The attorneys didn’t resign, they were fired. Gonzales didn’t give an incomplete explanation, he lied.
This analysis is timely. We need one of these for every statement this administration makes. And mainstream media need to start showing a bit more skepticism towards the choice of words they get fed in these press conferences. Do not repeat his words, folks!
Bush Used Press Conference to Force PR Buzzwords into the Debate