Miriam Webster defines a spin doctor as a person (such as a political aide) whose job involves trying to control the way something (such as an important event) is described to the public in order to influence what people think about it. Considering the number of spin doctors that currently preside on both sides of the political isle – who knows what to believe?
I recently read an article about the one year anniversary of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and I then checked a few other sources to compare statistics, claims and facts. According to one source, the taxes on marijuana that Colorado made in one year was 76 million, another source had it at 40 million and still another, a meager 30 million. Any way you grow it, that’s a lot of weed … but how can these writers obtain such divergent statistics? Is anyone fact checking anymore? Or is this an example of selective spin in spite of the facts.
After Rolling Stone published an article on a campus fraternity gang rape that literally tore up families at the University of Virginia and enraged a lot of women, it was discovered that this event never even happened. The publisher was forced to officially retract the piece and apologize to its readers. My question – how do we as readers differentiate between spin doctors and journalists? What is the truth and how do we recognize it? It used to be that news stations and newspapers investigated, fact checked, then reported and/or published the news. Now it seems that stations or publishers have their own political and economic agendas and they report (and I use the term loosely) whatever they like – spinning information to heights that support those agendas. So now what?
After the events in Ferguson, Missouri last summer there were apparently questionable reports that the media ran which resulted not only in race riots, heavy damage to small businesses and angry residents, but a countrywide racism debate that grew pretty heated. Then, when the trial of Michael Brown actually happened and the truth was reported, it was nothing like the media reports. I imagine we can thank those in the Al Sharpton camp for inflammatory speech that swept up angry young people and their families along the way. So what is the answer?
For me – I shall pay attention to the spin surrounding all sides of an issue, especially during the season of political campaigning. Then, in gathering as much information as I can across the full spectrum of perspectives, I’ll decide the truth for myself. *rolls eyes*