The Thought Refuse

A Virtual Repository for the Mind

Get Your Own Political Spin Detector

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Political spin has become a staple in the American political landscape.  It’s the mechanism on which political entities distribute their party rhetoric.  Our civic landscape is littered with bombastic publicity.  It’s use as a diplomatic stratagem in domestic politics has become an American past time.

The immediate reaction to political spin reveals itself in the constant pursuit to decode spin.  An entire media phenomena has sprung up behind spin that combs across the political web looking to decipher and debunk opposing partisan tactics as window dressing.  Blogs are an acute avenue to deconstruct political spin.  Often times, politically motivated bloggers converge their efforts on deconstructing the opposing viewpoint, and dedicates a trivial effort to proactively integrating their own political foundation into the polemic.

From a logical perspective, the human prejudice to apply induction in the solution of a problem over deduction certainly exposes itself here.  It is considerably easier to take a singular event and incorporate it into a predefined conclusion, then derive the endpoint from the aggregate of all events.  In other words, in political terms, this translates to using every mistake committed by the adversarial party as confirmation to the correctness of the supported party.  Also know as partisanship.

It was with a curious fascination to discover a web application called Spinspotter that attempts to diagnose spin in online articles.  The employment of “spin detectors” is not isolated to Spinspotter.  As I detailed in another post, technology has seeded a germinal trend towards trying to turn the spin debate into an empirical non-starter.

Following the initial allure, there was the realization that a non-spin, non-partisan world would be a colorless and tedious bore.  Technology has one failing idiosyncrasy to it when applied to areas involving subjective discretion.  It abhores the human compulsion to discover semantic expression and the undercurrent of meaning found within.

Political spin, at it’s heart, is a highly personal endeavor for the individual.  The facet that turns it from a government agent for reelection and into a discrete experience for the voter is in the continuous decryption of whats true and whats not.  The polar magnitude between truth and lies is essentially a battle between good and evil.  There is no more fundamental conception of the world for us then the incessant battle between these two countervailing forces.  We effortlessly identify the antagonistic character here, and, most importantly, the deep investment individuals have in the outcome.

We feverishly fight against those herculean forces that menace our steadfast convictions.  It’s the implications of evil prevailing over us that compels us to combat the baleful malice perceived in the wicked.  Faced with either enslavement or destruction we invoke our primal survival instinct.

Politics is an ideological battle for the triumph between good and evil, and thus spin serves as the apparatus with which we rage against our civic antithesis.  Because the delineation of good and evil becomes blurred by it’s inherent ambiguity, political spin is the tool with which the individual approaches and characterizes the good and evil within partisan politics.

Spinoza wrote that:

If men were born free, they would, so long as they remained free, form no conception of good and evil.

Without ideological conflict, that sense of good and evil would vanish, and subsequently dissolve the very private heterogeneity that politics is for us.  It would certainly be a more utopian political ontology, but it would egress us with a purely detached perspective towards politics.  And then the blogosphere and media outlets have be left with a homogeneous harmony between all political sides.

So, it is assuaging to to find that Spinspotter, despite it’s idealistic intent, falls on it’s face for predicating it’s implementation on the subjective interrpretations of the user to define spin.  It’s failure keeps our political sphere locked in the ideological battle between good and evil, and maintains the political narcissism that makes government interesting to the non-politician.


Written by huxbux

October 3, 2008 at 1:21 pm

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