The spin doctors

By Marion O’Callaghan
March 02, 2015 –

Ernie RossI WONDER how many people noticed that Ernie Ross, of perhaps one of the most important advertising firms in the country, was reported present at that meeting with Gary Griffith which, in retrospect, was an important factor in the collapse of the Prime Minister’s then Cabinet and the collapse of COP as we knew it? This is not surprising: we are after all not very far from a general election.

It is therefore important that news be filtered to the electorate not as the presentation of facts, but rather dressed and advertised by the sales people of political “goods”. The British gave these a name: the spin doctors. These replaced the old-fashioned “adviser” sometimes taken on as a “consultant” for this or that political project. Every government and indeed every political party in a democracy needs to inform the public.

Few governments, even those with a reputation of authoritarianism and clandestinity, can avoid the imperative of producing information. Information officers, a ministry concerned with getting out news releases, press attachés exist in every government as part of the bureaucracy. The spin doctors exist between these and the public. They mediate, select and package news so that policies seem so logical, necessary and, if possible, non-partisan, that they are accepted.
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One thought on “The spin doctors”

  1. It is important how information is made public. In the best of times it matters and in the worst of times it matters most on the formation of words and ideals. The worst thing a politician can do is tell blatant lies for public consumption. The job of the spin doctors is to take raw telling words of an action and polish it so as not to sound blatant and ineffectual. The words, even in an act of betrayal, must make the perpetrator appear victimized and remorseful thereby begging for forgiveness and understanding from an audience that might not necessarily be interested in details. In the case of Ernie Ross, his style may not be particularly effective or professional because he allowed himself to get too involved in the actual politics or associated with the working environment of the professional politicians. nIn other words he is not polished in the execution of his art of spin. In the case of his involvement with Gary Griffith, Vasant Bharath, Moonilal and McLeod, he should never act as mediator or conveyor. He should have allowed the politicians to come to a conclusion of their course of action, then consult with the action to be taken and executed in a way that makes it admissible and presentable for his clients public image. What Ernie Ross did was allowed himself to be used in a way that made him a lawful witness in a case of witness tampering. Another important thin a spin doctor should know is who it approach with a given matter of importance, because it is important for him to have powers of persuasion and you can effectively do that only if you know the actors involved plus having the knowledge of their weaknesses and strengths so he can exploit them to his benefits.
    After five years in office and probably millions spent on advertising and spinning, there is nothing particularly effective in the way the PP is presenting itself to the public. The slang or slogan “Your government is working for you” is at best annoying. Tell that to the sick person who visits a hospital in an emergency and has to wait twenty-four hours before seeing a doctor. Tell that to a person who goes to a government department and has to go and come back several times before being attended to. Tell that to the person who goes to the Customs or Licensing office to have a car registered and have to go to office to office for months only to be turned down each time. How the hell does the slogan “your government is working for you” become effective in these cases? Having the Prime Minister dressing and playing Santa Claus for weeks on end for Christmas could never be a good political advice or spin. The PP makes some of the most atrocious political mistakes in public and I’m sure their favorite spin doctor must be part of those strategies.
    Good spin doctors are creative in how they dispense with information and strategies. The UNC strategy to chastise Dr Rowley in Parliament, bring foolish accusations to a court of law and file multiple lawsuits against hims is overkill and at some point will be a backlash is condescending and annoying. Kayla’s latest vow to bring a no confidence motion against Dr. Rowley is at best amateurish and risky because it puts her in a position where she will have to sit on the bench and be cross-examined for longer than the action can be of benefit to her. As a matter of fact, if I were Dr. Rowley, I would welcome it and encourage her to bring it to court as soon as is possible. Because in so doing, Kamla would be exposing herself to ridicule and unplesantaries that she never imagined. So, Ernie Ross you have your work cut out for you. I only hope you can handle the unplanned moments in these risky scenarios!

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