Friday, March 27, 2009

No need for spin-doctors

"Spin-doctor jobs on line as Govt orders cuts," reads the main headline on the Herald front page today. Wait, not the band, right? I loved "Two Princes". But no, it's not the band, it's just another political 'spin' term - like rain on your wedding day - straight from John Key's lips to your Herald headline.
"The jobs of more than 300 public service "spin doctors" are up for review after a Government-ordered purge on public relations advisers."
So why are there no scare quotes in the headline, Herald? I mean, you wouldn't want to make it clear that the reason John Key doesn't need any spin doctors is that the Herald does most of that work free of charge. Please don't think I am just National-bashing here - I agree with Key in that I detest the idea that governments should feel the need to 'spin' what they are doing, and I have no real sympathy for the AUTU communications graduates who are going to be laid off. That said, when you're up against the kind of idiotic drivel demonstrated in Your Views, you might think that the only reason we haven't brought back hanging and thrown all immigrants two-to-a-cell in Paremoremo is because of government spin.

No, my problem is that, just like with the "hug a polar bear" 'story' yesterday, the Herald just throws out some National party lines straight from Key's mouth and runs it, with no real consideration or questioning. What exactly is the role that public relations people play in the public service? We are told that they expanded from "less than 50" in "the 1980s" to 448 in 2008, but that is relatively meaningless by itself. How much has the public service in total grown since then? Also, times change - I bet there weren't many people working on climate change in the 1980s either. I imagine to some extent that the expansion of public service PR numbers is in large part a response to the massive increase in private sector PR. And we know that National has no problem with private PR firms, having used the charming PR 'gurus' Crosby/Textor in the election. And while, like I said, I think a lot of government PR (like PR in general) is not only useless but dangerous, a lot of the opposition to it is probably just your typical 'PC gone mad' "Your Views"-style wank. As EtH contributor Ken says:
"Are these the people who make “Come on guys, get fire wise” ads? Fucking nanny state, I’ll have whatever attitude I want to fire safety."


  1. Were they not stating facts? I can't see any opinion in that story, like you suggest.

  2. It was more:

    a) the headline using John Key's terminology without scare quotes, just like the 'hug a polar bear story' yesterday.

    b) the Herald commenting vaguely on public service job cuts, but not on why 'spin-doctors' in particular are worthless - although they did go to the trouble to make a graphic about growth in the area.

  3. hence, no opinion.

    the herald does not state that spin-doctors are worthless, or worthwhile. it is reporting the policy as ordered by the government.

  4. Part of a good the job of a good journalist is also to present analysis. It's not reporting, it's regurgitating...

  5. My point is that "Spin Doctor" carries distinct negative connotations. Word choice is a subtle way of presenting an opinion on a matter.

  6. Spin it how you like. It was announced, it was reported, you make your mind up, it's a new day.

  7. Wait, do you like scare quotes or not, Jamesian?

  8. Plenty of companies are hiring fresher & experienced Doctors Jobs in Pune. Go through below site & utilize existing
    opportunities.with attractive salary. Rush to grab your job.