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Spin: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail -- 1992

By TheLocust in MLP
Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 09:04:02 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

The year: 1992

The event: the '92 Elections

We had just come off of the last war of the 20th century, the economy was in a downturn. The worldwidewed was still embryonic, and being developed mainly at CERN and the NCSA. What we all saw on television, be it Larry King or Dan Rather with the 6 o'clock news, was crafted to us, the ravenous public. Spin doctor was nothing new at that time, but with the nation in a democratic upheaval, the economy faltering, both sides, Republican and Democrat had to win.

But what was happening behind the scenes? See the doctors at work...

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comments (24)
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Thanks to the wonder of technology, an hour long documentary, entitled Spin has managed to strip away the gloss and sugar coating that we all saw. Director (or editor, perhaps) Brian Springer has compiled this hour-long documentary from satellite "backhauls", the unsponsored, unedited live media streaming from satellites every hour of the day. What Springer has produced, while still very rough, gives a good glimpse into the "spin" we are all subjected to.

There are links to the video in chunks of .ASF's, RealMedia, both in streaming and downloadable format. You can also buy the movie on VHS. Thanks to the 'pool for this one.


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Spin: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail -- 1992 | 34 comments (28 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
"self-centerism" (2.36 / 11) (#7)
by ar0n on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 11:50:10 AM EST

We had just come off of the last war of the 20th century

Please, it's not we. It's the U.S.
Also, the Gulf war wasn't the last.

Please try to be a little less US-centric.

Re: "self-centerism" (3.00 / 5) (#9)
by el_guapo on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 12:34:15 PM EST

no flame - but I seem to recall a whole lot of other countries involved in the Gulf War. The word "coalition" comes to mind. It was, admittedly, US, um, centric? But there were a bunch of other folks there as well. I applaud your desire to de-US-ify things in general though...
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Re: "self-centerism" (3.85 / 7) (#11)
by fluffy grue on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 01:44:39 PM EST

Still wasn't the last war of the 20th century though. Chechnya, among others, on the international front, and even for the US it wasn't the last - remember Clinton's sudden undeclared war on Slodoban Milosevich? (Don't worry, nobody else seems to either.)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: "self-centerism" (3.40 / 5) (#12)
by cypherpunks on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 02:14:05 PM EST

Also, the Gulf war wasn't the last.

Hell, calling it a "War" is extremely generous. It was a training mission for the US military to try out some of it's new toys in the real world. And some of them *cough*Patriot Missile*cough* didn't work anywhere near as well as the press and the military lead the masses to believe.

[ Parent ]

Re: "self-centerism" (3.33 / 3) (#28)
by isk on Fri Sep 29, 2000 at 05:51:05 AM EST

Try telling that to the families of the 1.5e+5 iraqi soldiers who died there..

[ Parent ]
Re: "self-centerism" (none / 0) (#32)
by cypherpunks on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 03:46:17 PM EST

Try telling that to the families of the 1.5e+5 iraqi soldiers who died there..

Um...where does this number come from? Most independent accountings of the war (ie. not the big corporate American media) have suggested very small casualties on the Iraqi side.

And what about the millions of civilians that have died as a result of post-war sanctions? Or all who died in the war with Iran? Or the thousands of kurds that were brutally tortured? Or the Jews who were bombarded with SCUD missiles because of their association with the US?

The US had no real business getting involved (except to secure cheap oil) in the first place, but that doesn't absolve anybody else in the region of their own sins.

[ Parent ]

Re: "self-centerism" (2.60 / 5) (#16)
by simmons75 on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 03:52:39 PM EST

I can honestly say that I rated you down.

Why? You were clearly able to tell who the story was aimed at. It was clear to you that it was written from a U.S. perspective. You had no trouble identifying that.

So why, then, bother with the post? Why not inform the original author of your misgivings? I personally saw the problem; I live in the U.S. and actually caught on that, hey, that's a U.S.-centric post. I didn't say anything, though, because it was fairly clear to me just about any kuro5hin reader could figure out that we weren't talking about electing Tony Blair or Nelson Mandela.
So there.

[ Parent ]
Re: "self-centerism" (3.33 / 3) (#22)
by ar0n on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 06:43:16 PM EST

I can honestly say that I rated you up.

Why? You were kind enough to tell me why you did so and explained why I shouldn't have made the post that I did.

The author spoke of "us, the ravenous public", "we" and "the nation."

Kuro5hin has readers from all over the world; this was post on the frontpage and, as I understand it, was directed towards those readers,
not just US citizens. Of course I knew this was US-centric post, but that doesn't mean that the term "the nation" should mean the US by default, just because alot of the readers are Americans.

Just changing "we" to "The US" would have made all the difference. It would have shifted the perspective from that of US citizen observing at his/her own country, to that of a world-citizen observing the media of one of the wealthiest nations in the world trying to influence political outcomes.

I think it's an interesting topic, and one worth posting. It's just that the wording was poorly chosen.

PS. Could you point to some information on posting editorial comments instead of standard ones? In retrospect it seems slightly more appropiate.

[ Parent ]
One thing to keep in mind about Pat Robertson (2.90 / 10) (#8)
by simmons75 on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 11:57:07 AM EST

Remember on his comments about "that last one was a homo" is that (and I have misgivings about this) he at least considers himself to be Christian. Personally, I think he's the Antichrist, but that's just me. :^) I've experienced personally open hostility from homosexuals if I've admitted even the slightest Christian bias. Ugh--Christian people (the real deal, not the ones who yell it from the TV pulpits) don't hate homosexuals--they just don't believe it to be right and hope for people to change their ways.

That being said, fire away... :^)
So there.

Re: One thing to keep in mind about Pat Robertson (2.83 / 6) (#10)
by /dev/null on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 01:40:06 PM EST

Sorry to be a little offtopic, but when I saw your message I had to reply: I am more than a little offended at your assumption that all Christians are against homosexuality. I am Christian and, although not homosexual, I support gay rights (Incidentally, so does my pastor!). While claiming that other Christians misrepresent you, you misrepresent other Christians. Please, don't assume that all people share your beliefs.

[ Parent ]
Re: One thing to keep in mind about Pat Robertson (2.50 / 4) (#15)
by simmons75 on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 03:44:30 PM EST

You've taken my statement a bit wrong.

I come from a background that states "the Bible, and nothing but the Bible" (that's a misstatement; the Bible is actually more of a conglomeration of different books) and I have nothing against homosexuality personally, but believe that homosexuality isn't exactly the right thing to do. I find it OK to be extremely good friends with someone of my sex, but not marriage or a physical relationship. I hold no grudge against homosexuals; I don't hate homosexuals. I have close friends who are homo/bisexual. Funny thing is, we respect each others' beliefs. I support gay rights too. If someone cannot be persuaded to see my view, fine. That's their choice, and they're free to make it (God bless America!) and I believe it's outside the scope of American politics (and outside the scope of other countries' governments) to put restrictions on homosexuals and bisexuals. I don't, however, believe that a good Christian can be 100% supportive of homosexuality and bisexuality; if that offends you, then I apologize, but I won't retract my statement. IMHO it's the *only* right way to feel about it. I may be wrong and told what a fool I was after I die. But that's my belief. :^)

I was actually trying to put out a potential fire...and seem to have started one in the process. :^) There are those who would take the statement of the site "that last caller was a homo. who's screening these calls?" to be an offensive comment. Pat Robertson feels it's against his beliefs (IIRC) to be homosexual and he's pro-life. I was merely commenting that I've gotten into heated debates (barely civilized arguments) with people with homo/bisexual preferences that will berate me for a Christian belief...thinking that I hate them and I think they're going to hell. It's not my place to say that I hate them; it's not my place to say they're going to hell. That's out of my hands. I'm supposed to love my neighbor and I'm not supposed to judge. So I don't...at least, I try not to. I explain that to people, but they don't believe me. I think Pat Robertson's a circus leader, myself: one step above the traveling phonies the movie "Miracle Man" parodied several years ago. I was merely stating that he might have made the glib comment because he was feeling a bit stressed and as if he were under attack.

Sorry I didn't make that clear.
So there.

[ Parent ]
Re: One thing to keep in mind about Pat Robertson (2.33 / 3) (#18)
by Jonathan Walther on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 04:05:21 PM EST

You made yourself clear. Unfortunately, thats not enough to subdue peoples knee jerk reactions. People that do or have done something wrong are either really silent when the topic comes up, or have knee jerk reactions, such as you saw here. Natural conscience is real and does exist. That simple fact makes it very easy to figure out if a woman has had an abortion.

Truly gay people (the ones that aren't just political poseurs) don't have knee jerk reactions when someone says they are Christian, or think being gay is wrong. They laugh or shrug it off, and get on with their lives. For a good description of the evils the neurotic knee jerkers cause, and the pathetic causes behind their behavior, read <a href="http://reactor-core.org/wholemanifesto.txt">this political commentary.


(Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")

[ Parent ]
Re: One thing to keep in mind about Pat Robertson (2.33 / 3) (#29)
by dash2 on Fri Sep 29, 2000 at 07:25:22 AM EST

yeah, you've started a fire alright!

Seriously, I respect your beliefs but I disagree completely. First of all, I think a good Christian (which I am not, but have been) can be 100% supportive of homosexuality and bisexuality. The serious Christian case against homosexuality - the case not founded on simple fear and loathing, or a highly selective reading of some bits of Leviticus, or a contentious translation of St. Paul on "malakoi" - is that promiscuous sexual behaviour is wrong, sex should only happen in a committed relationship and be aimed at having children. I disagree with this and believe it is fundamentally muddleheaded, but let's accept it for the sake of argument. This means that you disapprove of promiscuous sex. Okay, but that applies to heterosexuals too. There are plenty of homosexuals (by inclination) who are celibate, and plenty of randy straights. Homosexuality is not usually something you choose. Christians can disapprove of behaviour, but it is very unChristian to disapprove of people for what they are and cannot alter.

Secondly and less important: you don't need to be so kind to Pat Robertson. He is a circus leader, as you say, and more: I think he made those remarks for the simple reason that he is an evil bigot. If he had said "that last caller was a nigger", would anyone be trying to defend him?

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
[ Parent ]
Re: One thing to keep in mind about Pat Robertson (none / 0) (#33)
by NewAccount on Mon Oct 02, 2000 at 08:21:54 PM EST

Ok, I'll bite. Take a look here.

[ Parent ]
Re: One thing to keep in mind about Pat Robertson (none / 0) (#34)
by RadiantMatrix on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 05:42:36 PM EST

The serious Christian case against homosexuality - the case not founded on simple fear and loathing, or a highly selective reading of some bits of Leviticus, or a contentious translation of St. Paul on "malakoi" - is that promiscuous sexual behaviour is wrong, sex should only happen in a committed relationship and be aimed at having children.
Actually, the Biblical (I won't say Christian, because "Christianity" has been blurred into paganism in so many cases that most churches claiming to be Christian might as well be pagans anyhow. And no, I have nothing against pagans...) view on homosexuality comes from something slightly different.

Catholics do believe that sex should be aimed at having children (from a misreading of one particular passage), but most other Christian religions do not. In taking the Bible verbatim (hard to do - many translations abound), homosexuality is considered wrong because of several scriptures (both in the Old Testament, and the New) which indicate God's disapproval of "men who lie with men".

This is stated in the same context as adultry and fornication - making a whole lot of homophobic christians hypocrites. :) As for my stand, yes, I believe that homosexuality is morally wrong, but not any moreso than adultry. Call me old-fashioned, if you will, but that's what I believe. However, I also believe that no person should have anyone else's ideas on morality forced upon them, and that just because someone is not behaving morally from my point of view doesn't mean that I can't respect and befriend them.
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]

Re: One thing to keep in mind about Pat Robertson (1.00 / 1) (#30)
by /dev/null on Fri Sep 29, 2000 at 11:39:16 AM EST

Thank you very much for your treatment of the subject. I was afraid that you were simply intolerant, but I can see you are willing to accept the views of others -- part of Christianity, as you acknowledge. Again, thank you for your reply and your willingness to open your mind. However, you are still 100% in the wrong on this issue... ;-)

[ Parent ]
General Response (4.27 / 11) (#13)
by bozak911 on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 02:24:37 PM EST

First, to respond to the people trying to de-US this conversation. In the context of the original post, I took this to be a conversation about the US.

Secondly, if we really want to get technical about wars, the US has not been involved in a "war" since World War 2. Everything since then, the korean, vietnam, grenada, gulf, somalia, and albania have either been a "police action" or action on the part of the UN or NATO. The allies of NATO and the United Nations have been trying to act like the world's police force. If we wish to have intellectual debates, let us use the correct vocabulary.

Another point I would like to make is that the US has been gradually, through the media, through liberalism, through activism, straying farther and farther from the original intent of the US Constitution and the beliefs on which this "great" country was founded. The people that believe in the morals that this country was founded upon have not stood their ground enough. (Let us not bring slavery to the discussion, as the founding fathers were split on the issue of slavery and were threatened with *two* nations at the penning of the constituion. The Moral Right won in the Civil War after all, which proves that problems do correct themselves with *positive* social change.)

The point of what Brian Singer is trying to reach with this documentary is this (humble opinion here):
The fourth estate, the media (print, radio, and video), has far too much power in this country. The media can attain any goal they set their minds to. If ABC wanted the US to enter a police action, they would start covering the conflict. CBS and NBC would follow suit and the cable news channels would then begin to focus on the the events as well. This chain can be triggered by any number of the various media sources. By reporting on the event in question, the media causes a population uproar and the politicians respond. This is not how it has always been!

In the fight against communism, the US entered a police action "in the best interest of the people of Vietnam". The media, after a while, started working against the action, portraying US soldiers as baby killers in Vietnam. How quickly did those images on broadcast television and front page headlines shift the public sentiment about the Vietnam Conflict? We dropped the H bomb on Japan and the American Public cheered becuase the Media put that in a positive light. We droppped napalm on Vietnam, the people become horrified because the media put those actions in a negative light.

Let us not dodge around this issue in this discussion. The more people recognize the power that the fourth estate possesses, the better off we can become. Let us not get side tracked by superfluous issues.

Remember this. Sam Donaldson, in a conversation about the 1996 election, stated "Maybe we elected the wrong person." This was not a comment about the American People. It was in a discussion about the media.

"Show me a man with 'No Fear' and I will show you a fool." --Anonymous

Another election point. (3.75 / 4) (#17)
by simmons75 on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 03:59:38 PM EST

Remember this. Sam Donaldson, in a conversation about the 1996 election,
stated "Maybe we elected the wrong person." This was not a comment about the
American People. It was in a discussion about the media.

This goes back to 1992...remember how, every time George Bush (not Dubbya) went to play golf, it made the nightly news? (At least, it did on CBS.) The general comment I got from people who admitted to voting for Clinton was "well, hopefully he won't be playing golf all damn day." Did you notice the extreme bias shown in reporting from the Republican convention? Geez...they might as well have stated, "well, this isn't who we want you to vote for, so now back to Dharma & Greg." (BTW if this isn't on the air anymore...go figure, I don't watch TV.) You've hit the nail on the head: mass media dictates public policy. What pays for mass media? Largely, advertising dollars. Indirectly, big business is what runs the United States. It's more covert, I'm sure, than in other countries, but it's entirely true. Then again, the United States was just a front for protecting business interests since the beginning.
So there.

[ Parent ]
Re: Another election point. (4.66 / 3) (#24)
by matthead on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 07:55:18 PM EST

Then again, the United States was just a front for protecting business interests since the beginning.

Well, yes, I suppose that's true, but I like to think the the founding fathers (that shouldn't be capitalized, should it?) were thinking more of private small business owners than international mega-corporations "owned" by stockholders.

It seems to me that Joe Blow, who just opened a metal working shop, is in more need of protection from the government than is Joe Q. Bloue, the CEO of BigAss Alloy Engineers, inc. I don't know much, if anything, about the end of the 18th century, but I do know that today, I find it difficult to get along without going by the local Wal-Mart every now and then. It's less friendly, but more convenient and definitiely cheaper than a distributed, private market, where one stops by several small specialized shops.

- Matt
I'm at (0.3, -2.5). Where are you?
[ Parent ]
Re: General Response (3.66 / 3) (#23)
by 0xdeadbeef on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 07:24:39 PM EST

Of course they're not called wars. That would get your ass hauled away by the Ministry of Truth.

Seriously, the media is not the cause, it is simply a tool that those in power use to direct the populace's attention.

People did not cheer because we dropped the A-bomb, they cheered because the war was over. No sane person cheers at the inceneration of thousands of innocent people. No one chears at napalm being dropped on children. The cameras were there to capture the image of burning children, they weren't there for the atomic bomb.

And for God's sake, the US entered Vietnam to "contain" Communist expansion. It was no more the sake of the Vietnamese than the Gulf War was for the people of Kuwait.

[ Parent ]
Re: General Response (3.33 / 3) (#26)
by bozak911 on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 10:43:07 PM EST

They are not called wars because a war can only be declared through an act of Congress. No conflict since WWII has been voted so.

Everything since has taken place soley on the whim of the politician in charge at the moment.

The quote of "in the best interest of the people of Vietnam" was a major theme of the war. It was also to stop communist expansion, in the best interest of the people of Vietnam. It was a statement to the world that we would not let Communism spread because it was directly opposed to the beliefs of this nation (at the time) and that it was not beneficial to the people forced to live under Communist rule.

Actually, remembering the tales that I was told from the people that served in and experienced WWII, when the bomb was dropped on Japan, this country rejoiced. I am not saying it was right. It happened. I was using that point to demonstrate the true power of the media.

The media presented one thing (that was far too harsh) in a positive light, the American people were happy. The media presented another thing (that was harsh) in negative light, and the American people were unhappy. It is all in the SPIN.

I do agree that there was a lot of celebration because it marked the end of the entire war. Does that make it any better though?

The media does have near ultimate power in this country. True, they are the mighty sword of certian politicians, however, approach them from a point of view opposing them...

Example: I wanted to run a local cable ad for a presidential nominee. I was told by the local cable company that they do not allow individuals to run commercials for politicians. I called back two weeks later, asked the same question about the "other" candidate and they quoted me a price and asked me what time slot I wanted.

The media definately spins stories to accomplish goals. In fact, the last 8 years in this country are amazing proof what a well coordinated "spin" campaign can do. It can let a president get away with lying to the american people and the courts. The New York Times can sit on a story if it is detrimental to what they want.

Example: Look into the recent turn of events that Drudge from foxnews.com uncovered.

Let us focus on the real issue of the Fourth Estate abusing the power they possess.
"Show me a man with 'No Fear' and I will show you a fool." --Anonymous
[ Parent ]

Re: General Response (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by squirrelboy on Fri Sep 29, 2000 at 03:09:50 PM EST

Rant on.

Wake up! There is *no* monolithic media conspiracy. Follow the money: Fox news isn't coordinating their efforts with ABC, CBS, NBC. CNN wasn't trying to throw the election, they just discovered that covering an election was as popular (read profitable) as covering a war.

One of the clear ideas that comes out of this piece is that Clinton one because he was better at manipulating, understanding, and controlling the media. He was exceptionally charismatic to boot. (You might think he's the Anti-Christ, but that doesn't change the fact that he was. Regan was too. *I* think *he* was the Anti-Christ, but he had the charisma going for him.)

Money is what has power in this country. Look no further than the DCMA, UCITA, and the exclusion of Nader and Buchanan from the presidential debates.

Corporate Socialism (Nader's term) doesn't *like* freedom. ('Customers' might do something they don't know how to deal with.) It doesn't like diverse options. (They're too hard to market to.)

Don't blame the media for being too powerful. That's just a symptom.

Rant off.

[ Parent ]
More "satellite backhauls"? (3.66 / 3) (#14)
by swc on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 03:41:13 PM EST

I watched this video a couple days ago, and have been looking for more clips like those shown in "Spin" since. Anyone know where more can be found?

Re: More "satellite backhauls"? (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by Anon6731 on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 05:24:10 PM EST

There is another movie called "Feed" which is readily available on something like amazon (or buy.com for all you people boycotting amazon ;)

Feed uses it's footage from Brian Springer, and I've never watched it, but I'm guessing that it's a similar perspective on the same footage.

[ Parent ]

K5'ed? (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by John Jorsett on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 04:23:14 PM EST

The 'spin' link takes me to a non-responding site. Does K5 have a large enough readership now to crash servers?

Re: K5'ed? (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by Anon6731 on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 05:31:44 PM EST

There have been nearly 10,000 hits recently and seems to be growing quite rapidly, and so a Geocities mirror was added and the Media Player file was modified to be a bit leaner.

Any ideas of other good mirror sites to help with the increasing load?

[ Parent ]

I would like to apologize... (4.60 / 5) (#25)
by TheLocust on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 09:03:24 PM EST

..for the US tone of the article. If you couldn't tell, I am an American (which is a misnomer in itself, South American, Central American, what are they? Not Americans?), i digress. Looking through the replies to this article has really made me realize how much our media here in the states is still very myopic in it's global view. But that is what is truly great about the internet. I have NEVER had the chance to even SPEAK with others from other countries (with the exception of Canada), and Kuro5hin (and to a lesser degree, other sites) has let me do so (and allow me some much-needed writing criticism).

In fact, a comment I originally made about the 'net being "a glint in the nation's eye" was an admittedly narrow comment, and it was somehow replaced with that stuff about CERN and NCSA. Chalk that "glint" comment up to sleep dep, please.

So, if any American (US'er, i guess) should read this, take heed. Think globally. Hopefully, it will help the rest of us fat, dumb, lazy Americans to open our eyes a little wider.
.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

Open source news? (1.25 / 4) (#27)
by JediLuke on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 11:45:29 PM EST

well since i don't have the means to start something like this, how about an Open Source News Network...some site where people can submit news, any old joe. hell i'll help out!
"You're all clear kid, lets blow this joint and go home." -Han Solo
Spin: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail -- 1992 | 34 comments (28 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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