Spin Cycle

November 20, 1998

Awhile back, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz wrote a book entitled Spin Cycle: Inside the Clinton Propaganda Machine. In the book he described ways this administration is able to spin the news in their favor. Here is a just a short list.

1. Selective leaking Over last year's Christmas holiday President Clinton approved an eight-page strategy memo for "leaking" his new budget proposals one by one through the month of January, leading up to his State of the Union speech. These selective leaks won Clinton front-page coverage of his ideas on food safety, Medicare, education, and child care.

2. Exclusive leaks Senior White House adviser Rahm Emanuel dials up a newspaper reporter and whispers, "I've got an exclusive for you." The next day the story is front-page news in USA Today or The New York Times. The following day, all the others papers and reporters scramble to catch up, leading to another round of stories in those newspapers. The Clinton administration just got twice the bang for a relatively small story.

3. Keep it off television Former White House counsel Lanny Davis encouraged White House staff to call back reporters after 6 P.M., thus assuring that news would not break on the evening news. Instead the story would break in the newspapers the next morning.

4. Kill a story ABC News' Nightline tells the story of what happened when former Press Secretary Mike McCurry discovered that ABC was going to interview former FBI agent Gary Aldrich about lax security in the White House. McCurry yelled at ABC News Washington Bureau Chief Robin Sproul and then threatened to pull all of ABC's interview requests with the White House.

5. Attack the accuser If you don't understand this one, just ask Kenneth Starr or Gennifer Flowers or Gary Aldrich or Kathleen Willey.

Over the next few months, we are going to see a lot of spin. You might want to be looking for these techniques. So far they have been very effective.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International