While, a common knowledge of what “spin” is might be assumed, it might be best not to risk making an”ASS out of U and ME” and define it as being “often characterized by exaggeration, euphemisms, inaccuracies, half-truths, and excessively emotional appeals.” Yes, why make an ass out of both you and me, when our political masters and their mouthpieces are doing it all the time anyway?
Heather Brooke, in her book, ‘The Silent State’ , writes about the journalist Nigel Green complaining that “journalists rewrite police press releases instead of doing real reporting” and adds that “they just print releases almost verbatim.” Perception is the new reality and it is hardly confined to police press releases. Therefore, while tall tales of the “crime rate falling” and “the police doing a good job” might be harmful, it, unfortunately, gets much worse.
In today’s ‘Guardian’ we can read that “the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that more 31,000 people have been in killed in Syria in a little over a year and half” and is anyone asking who or what is behind “the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, or is the figure of 31,000 accurate and if it is, who is actually responsible for those deaths? Or have “exaggeration”,“inaccuracy” and an implicit “excessively emotional appeal” had the desired effect on the reader?
Well, it would appear that the UK-based “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” (SOHR) is an information office opposed to the government in Damascus. In other words, this is a bit like asking the Israeli government how many innocent children died during Operation Cast Lead and contenting ourselves with an “according to official Israeli sources’ answer of “none”.
Furthermore, even if the SOHR figure of “31,000” is accurate, the question remains, who is actually responsible for the killing? That, of course, is not an answer that we are going to get from the ‘Guardian’s’ Jo Adetunji who, with the help of various news agencies and the SOHR has now turned her dab hand to world affairs after accumulating a wealth of experience as an editor of the health and social care networks. Who knows she might soon get round to writing up police press releases verbatim.