A “spin doctor” is not to be confused with a public relations person. A PR person always tries to dress up the act – trying to take a non-newsy but “good news” item and blow it up into a gargantuan front-page story. If you are a PR person for a large school board you pray every day that they do not find a body in the school yard in the morning. (Out on the street’s okay.)
But a spin doctor is different. Even if a big footprint is on the rear end of a CEO of a large corporation, he has never been fired – “He has left to pursue other business interests.”
PR persons sometimes tell little lies, half-truths or evasions – like “I’ll get back to you about the rumour about our vice-president being arrested in a bathhouse raid.” Long after the paper has run with the story using other sources – the PR person calls back to say: “I’m sorry but we’ve been unable to locate our V.P. for confirmation.”
Probably the best spin doctor ever to be found, with 90 per cent hypocrisy flowing in his veins, was the guy who said World War I was to be “the war to end all wars.” Over three thousand wars later, a lot of people have begun to doubt him. But Allied soldiers in World War I believed him and that’s all the audience he was aiming for.
The nation that takes the Gold Medal for spin doctors would be Russia. Alexander Yakovlev, 77, is a former Politburo member and the intellectual father of glasnost, the policy that blazed a path for freedom in Russia today. He set out to count the victims of Soviet repression. By his estimate 35 million were shot or died and 41 million were imprisoned. More than 85,000 Orthodox priests were shot in 1937 alone! Can you imagine the gall of Russian spin doctors during these purges trying to convince the whole world that Russia was just like heaven, only a little closer?
Our spin doctors are minor-leaguers. They have to convince the nurses Ontario Premier Mike Harris fired, or who left Canada because of a lack of job openings, to come back. All is forgiven. Nurses get $20,000 a year more in the United States. Good grief!
On February 8, a Harris spin doctor denied an opposition MPP access to a press conference in a government caucus room. She claimed it was a “private press conference for invited media only.” When the MPP insisted on entering and knocked on the door a few times, the spin doctor called for the Sergeant of Arms and security to get rid of her.
It’s spin doctors who come up with words like “gay” instead of homosexual. “Sexual orientation” is another euphemism for homosexuality and “reproductive choice” – the right to kill your own child – is also their handiwork. Soon the spin doctors will have some of us going up to the Yukon to sun ourselves in the winter.
The spin doctors at Queen’s Park had to do a lot of scrambling when Premier Mike Harris announced he was leaving his second wife. Their carefully orchestrated explanation was another example of “Don’t eat that, Elmer!”
The spin doctors must have gone ballistic when Prime Minister Jean Crouton spoke in favour of a woman’s “right” to an abortion, during an appearance at a Catholic high school assembly during the election last year. Over 100,000 abortions in Canada a year and Crouton approves of it! I bet the spin doctors were running around trying to pull the plug on his microphone. Local Catholic school board official Dianne Legg described Crouton’s appearance as “a wonderful experience.” Yeah, right.
I think what we should do in the pro-life movement is hire some of those spin doctors to work for us. Maybe they could come up with a line like this: “The kid you save today may end up supporting you tomorrow.”