Flipped on the TV this morning to GMA on ABC. The big news? The new polls on President elect’s handling of the transition. It was 40% on a graph comparing a half dozen other presidential transitions. Then the percent was higher for the two other polling questions on fixing the economy and fighting terrorism, both around 60%. Where do they get these? After the election and the exit poll debacle of all three major networks, and maybe four, how can anyone believe any poll results which are announced?
Back in the 1990s, George Stephanopoulos and James Carville in more than one documentary about the Clinton campaign and era, explain how they handled a problem by explaining, “How are we going to spin this.” Perhaps that was where the inception for the new TV show “SPIN CITY” with Michael J. Fox. 1996 – 2002
Is it all a matter of degree? While I have had a smattering of college classes in mass communication, political science, some history, oh, and don’t forget statistics ……several things come to mind. I am forced to dig up my old history by Garraty about Horace Greely and the 1860s press, Yellow Journalism and turn of 1900’s century Muck raking Press. Samuel Clemens comes to mind and his Virginia City journalism days in Roughing It make one wonder about truth in the press. Wasn’t there a raved about movie in early 1940s? Citizen Kane movie was about the negative influence of a press publisher, Supposedly about William Randolph Hearst who also supposedly ruined or sidetracked the career of Orsen Welles because of the film.
Then came TV and 1950s Madison Avenue, and the power of TV in the Nixon – Kennedy debate. It wasn’t even ten years after the 1960 election that CBS was spinning the false debacle of the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam.
I am not believing much in polls these days, exit polls or any others. No matter how you “skew the data.”
But a question still persists. At what point is SPIN turned into a LIE?
Let me know what you think.