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Collectively, they're on a crusade to rescue a political system and media they believe are seriously off track. Reporters, they say, are too soft on President Bush, while the president spins his message with half-truths better than any of his predecessors. The result: a vacuum of shallow news stories and an uninformed electorate, according to Nyhan.


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The threesome and their analysis are getting big play this election year. Their work has appeared on the web magazine salon. And their book has made The New York Times ' paperback nonfiction best sellers' list and ranks th in sales on Amazon. Nyhan, 25, Fritz, 27, and Keefer, 26, all have past ties to liberal or Democratic politics, but believe their work on political spin is evenhanded. In a recent posting on the website, Nyhan criticized "a long pattern of Democratic trickery with net job loss figures. Kerry and his party have repeatedly presented the number of private sector jobs lost during the Bush administration — currently 1.

He quoted Kerry as saying in a radio address earlier this month, "Over the past three years, we've lost 1.

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Nyhan, who is studying toward a doctorate in political science, said his discontent with political coverage peaked while working in as a spokesman for the failed U. Senate campaign of Nevada Democrat Ed Bernstein. Spinsanity is different. Despite all that has been written about George W. Bush, something important is missing from conventional portraits of our 43rd president. While debate continues to rage over whether Bush is a liar, few have discussed the way he employs the insidious tools of public relations, which make selling a tax cut as slick and dishonest as the worst of corporate marketing.

By using these tactics, Bush has promoted his policies in a remarkably deceptive manner and avoided serious consequences for doing so. This is the untold story of the Bush presidency. During the election and subsequent Florida recount, the three of us saw how the national debate had been reduced to an endless barrage of spin.

Rather than lifting up political debate, mainstream political institutions were dragging it down. As a result, we founded Spinsanity www.

Brendan Nyhan, analyzing political spin | Duke

Though we started small, with a readership of only a few friends and family, major news outlets eventually began to take note of our work. Our criticism of commentators such as Michael Moore, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter has attracted national attention; our coverage of politicians and government officials has been cited by partisans of all stripes; and our debunking of falsehoods spreading through the press has helped prevent them from growing into conventional wisdom.

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Judging by the response we have received, we believe the public is hungry for nonpartisan criticism of a political system that is collapsing under the weight of deception. All three of us were politically active in liberal or Democratic politics in the past, but our work is scrupulously fair.

President George W. Bush's Thoughts on Putin and the Press

The citations, accolades, and hate mail we get from across the political spectrum attest to the fact that we effectively challenge the left and the right on a regular basis. We will continue to hold both sides accountable on our site through the election and beyond. But after several years of de-spinning politicians and the media, we realized that things have only become worse since the election—and the man currently doing the most damage to our political debate is the President of the United States, George W.

To fulfill our mission to counter those who spin and deceive, we must start at the top by holding the President accountable for the accuracy of his public statements. That is why we decided to write this book. When the chief executive can wield these tactics with little challenge, it is not surprising that other politicians so frequently mislead and dissemble.

Some readers may ask how we can claim to be nonpartisan if we have written a book that is critical of President Bush. We understand that many people, particularly conservatives, are skeptical of endless assertions from liberals that Bush is an inveterate liar, many of which boil down to little more than ideological disagreement. The wisdom of his decisions is for others to judge.

Our goal is to show how Bush has attempted to deceive the nation and why he has escaped serious consequences for doing so. In the process, we hope to spur discussion about a political system under siege by the forces of public relations and spin. Bush may be the current leader of the arms race of deception, but his presidency reveals a deeper problem at the heart of American democracy.

During the presidential campaign, then-Governor Bush liked to tell the story of a hypothetical waitress who would benefit from his tax cut plan. What Bush failed to mention was that his hypothetical waitress probably already paid no federal income tax. In August , President Bush announced a new policy on the use of stem cells in federally funded medical research. More than sixty genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist, he told the nation in a televised address, concluding, We should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines.

Although sixty lines did exist, it was uncertain whether many of them would ever become available to researchers. In late , Bush began pointing back to a statement he claimed to have made during the campaign. As he put it in May , when I was running for president, in Chicago, somebody said, would you ever have deficit spending?

I said, only if we were at war, or only if we had a recession, or only if we had a national emergency. In fact, Vice President Al Gore was the candidate who had listed the exceptions in though Bush advisor Lawrence Lindsey said at the time that they would apply to the Texas governor as well. Was this an innocent mistake? The answer is almost certainly no—Bush continued to repeat the trifecta story for months after it had been debunked. Then, in a televised address to the nation in October , Bush declared, We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy—the United States of America.

ISBN 13: 9780743262514

We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. Without ever stating that there was a direct connection between Iraq, al Qaeda, and September 11, the President artfully linked them together with a series of carefully chosen phrases. After the war, Bush told an interviewer from Polish television that We found the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Rather, Bush was referring to a pair of trailers that some analysts thought might have been used to produce biological weapons. While experts debated the purpose of the trailers, the President of the United States was falsely claiming that WMD had been found. These examples might not be so troubling if the press had consistently called attention to them.

But on most issues, with the possible exception of stem cells and the aftermath of the war in Iraq, he got away with little more than a slap on the wrist.

Journalists deserve much of the blame for this, but one of the chief reasons these examples received so little attention is that many were based on a partial truth about a complex policy issue; after all, the waitress did end up with no federal income tax, there were sixty existing stem cell lines, and Iraq had some fragmentary connections to Al Qaeda…sort of. Just how often did the President deceive us? How did he do it? The answers are disturbing. George W.

Bush has done serious damage to our political system. His deceptions span nearly all of his major policies, were achieved using some of the most advanced tactics from public relations, and were designed to exploit the failings of the modern media. The five golden PR rules From Amazon This book laid out the facts about Bush, his administration, and the way the media has played into all of his spin and "misleading" facts.


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  • This book takes an objective look at the tactics used by the administration spinkled with a few anti-bushisms. If you are looking for an angry anti-bush book this is not for you. Even when presenting infuriating facts about the lies and deciet found in the media and our presidency the authors do not present an angry public anywhere in the book. A book everyone should read if they care about their government and it's use of the media to get their own agendas in place. They cause a ten car crash and say they are working on recycling scrap metals.. Someone needs to get to the bottom of this and find out why major corporate media is allowing this load of manure to be fed to the public- whose pocket is being lined?