On Sunday, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a Q&A with Helen Thomas, a syndicated columnist for Hearst News Service.
The story, “Verbatim: Spin is not the truth” discusses the nature of information coming from the White House and how much things have changed in the 57 years Helen Thomas has served as a correspondent.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Are successive White Houses getting better and better at making sure journalists learn as little as possible?
Helen Thomas: Oh, it’s state of the art now. Each administration has learned more and more about how to spin events, especially in recent years. But spin is not the truth. Never the twain shall meet.
Inquirer: So is spin a kind of lie?
Thomas: Well, you never want to say people are lying. Spin isn’t really a lie – it’s their accent on the truth. All I can say is that we certainly were spun in the run-up to the war on Iraq.
We try to be apolitical at FADS so we’ll stop at the run-up to the war on Iraq and you can read it online if you like.
But what we can discuss is the nature of our business – from government to non-profit to corporate America. How much does it really help to “spin” a story when you or your client ends up looking terrible in the end?
We’re willing to bet you can sit down right now and think of all the times PR people have spun stories that have turned out terribly in the end. We did and this is what we brainstormed in less than three minutes:
· Dick Cheney shooting his hunting partner
· Hurricane Katrina relief
· The Wal-Mart blog debacle
· Bill “I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton
· Britney Spears ruined marriage weeks after she said it was “awesome”
· The Kobe Bryant sex scandal
· Scott Peterson’s denial of guilt over the murders of his wife and baby
As our colleague’s mother used to say, “you’re lying by omission”. Spin sucks!