What Else Can I Do With All This Spin?

The Boston Globe’s Brian Mooney shows how the spin flows with a minute-by-minute chronology of A Day of Campaign Spin (in this case, yesterday, when both campaigns were frantically spinning reporters on their economic plans). Mooney, in his words, “provides a case study in the spin and pushback that occurs out of public view as the campaigns try to win the message battle du jour in the media.”

We get it. We empathize. The spin comes early and often.

Still, would it be so hard to do more de-spinning, like Politico did when it took a look at what the 300 economists who signed a statement supporting McCain’s economic plan (see 8:36 a.m. on Mooney’s chronology, “McCain campaign: ‘Economists’ statement on John McCain’s Jobs for America Economic Plan … Over 300 economists sign statement in support of John McCain’s economic plan.’”) actually signed (see 10:50 a.m. on Mooney’s chronology: “Obama campaign: cites Politico item noting ‘What the economists didn’t sign’ when they endorsed the McCain economic plan - the statement omits McCain’s proposed gas tax holiday, and ‘there’s literally nothing in the release that mentions the deficit or national debt.’”)

And then what Politico also did, which was calling “more than a dozen” of the McCain’s “300 economists” and finding out that “a good many of those economists don’t actually support the whole of McCain’s economic agenda,” “at least one doesn’t even support McCain for president,” and “many were unfamiliar with — or downright opposed to — key details” of McCain’s plan.” Which certainly would have popped up on Mooney’s chronology (email from Obama campaign!) had the time line continued today.

We like the chronology. It’s a revealing look at just how spin-happy the campaigns are (and yes, at what political reporters are hit with). We like even more what Politico did by closely examining and checking up on pieces of that spin. Ideally, Politico would have called more than “more than a dozen” of the 300 economists (I know, who has the resources?) but it’s this general reporting mindset that we need more of: you know, that spin is something reporters should examine and question… and examine and question themselves, rather than turn to the opposing campaign to question.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.