The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Spinning out of control

The 2008 race to the White House has officially begun as political ads and campaign speeches flood our televisions. Each candidate promises that our country will be better off as long as the other candidate is not in office. Unfortunately, many of the promises made by candidates are empty and full of false information that has been “spun”. Political spin is a technique used by politicians to distort the words of others in order to fit a certain message and muddle the truth about certain issues. With our country in the situation that it is in, now is not the time to believe the lies preached in political aids and speeches. Politicians should stop trying to sway voters with lies and start to persuade voters with the truth. Political spin is commonly used in political ads to attack the character, morals or beliefs of another candidate. This spin takes facts or statements and either changes the meaning, “cherry picks” or chooses only certain words or phrases, or misconstrues the truth entirely. Sometimes spin used in political aids is so modified that it becomes a complete lie based on unsupported opinions. Political spin is particularly detrimental to the political process because many viewers who watch the ads are so mislead and persuaded by the propaganda that the claims become believable. If the American people vote based on this propaganda, the United States will certainly be worse off no matter which candidate is elected. Further since when should our government operate solely on lies instead of being open with policies because the decisions made in the government directly affect the people. Everything that is going to happen in the near future will greatly affect the citizens so shouldn’t the citizens be well informed with knowledge instead of ignorance? Both political parties partake in political spin, as it is a long established tradition in politics with roots in the first contested US presidential election. A few recent examples of spin include a McCain-Palin ad attacking Obama for remaining silent on the economic crises despite the fact that Obama has repeatedly addressed the economic crisis in speeches. The silent accusation came from political spin in which Obama’s words were misconstrued and distorted to fit the McCain-Palin statement. The aid attempts to instill uncertainty in the voters by painting Obama as apathetic towards the economic crises. This is simply a lie that attempts to degrade Obama’s stances. Another example of spin in political ads includes an anti-Palin ad produced by the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. The ad attacks Palin for supporting the shooting of wolves from airplanes, which is true, but the ad does not tell the entire story. The ad paints Palin as a gun enthused animal murderer who kills wolves for sheer fun. The characterization is simply not true as Alaska allows wolf hunting in only five of the 26 game districts and is used as a means of keeping the population of moose and caribou high enough for hunters. It is also used as a means to keep the wolf, moose and caribou populations in balance. This ad uses political spin by omitting certain facts and not telling the entire story to demean Palin’s character and morals. This example of political spin utilizes “cherry picking” by only picking facts meant to enrage animal activists. But after hearing the entire story, one can see that the act of shooting wolves under the above circumstances has some validity. Political spin advocates outright lying to the public in order to make one candidate look better than the other. But since when is lying better than the truth, and since when does ignorance make us more safe than being knowledgeable? Our country is involved in a war and our economy is headed towards a recession so the upcoming election is pivotal in the direction the United States will go. With such an epic election coming up, now is the time for politicians to be truthful and stop utilizing political spin to persuade potential voters.

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