Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Spin Keeps Going and Going and

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Spin Keeps Going and Going and

Article excerpt

I'm so tired of the spin this president and his aides put on so much of what comes out of the White House. For example, the other day, a Page 1 New York Times story was headlined: "Aides Say Clinton Is Angered as Gore Tries to Break Away."

And then, midway there was this paragraph in the double bylined - John M. Broder and Don Van Natta Jr. - article:

"The motives for Mr. Clinton's aides and advisers to talk about the president's feelings toward Mr. Gore are not entirely clear. They may be trying to help the vice president establish distance from the president by portraying Mr. Clinton as angry. They may be trying to demonstrate their closeness to the president. Or they may simply be honestly reporting how Mr. Clinton and his inner circle have reacted to Mr. Gore's recent statements." What we see here are reporters so used to having to deal with the "Clinton spin" - in which information handed out or reacted to is invariably given an interpretation that will favor the president - that they simply don't know what they are dispensing. It's a sad situation. The public never knows what to believe when this president or those around him tell us something. We know about the lies that Clinton's admitted to. But I'm talking about the twisting and reshaping of Clinton-related information by the "Clinton spin." My sympathy is with the authors of this article. They have to report what is going on in the White House. And they have done it in a forthright way - even implicitly warning the readers that they can't depend on what the aides are saying. But when good reporters have to go this far in reporting the news, we can see quite clearly that the Clinton inability to deal squarely with the truth is seeping throughout his White House, and perhaps further. Oh, yes, we reporters know that all presidents "manage" the news. …

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