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How Spin Works: A First-Hand Account

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posted on May, 25 2007 @ 01:26 AM
I guess I should preface this a bit:
I work for an independent student newspaper called The Link ( out of Concordia University, in Montreal. We're a modest publication with a print-run of about 10,000 a week. I've been a staff reporter just shy of a year now, and have been writing on a weekly basis for them in any number of sections.

Around the middle of March, the news editor (a dear friend of mine) offered me and a friend of mine the chance to cover the Youth Action Summit, which had keynote speeches from both Dr. David Suzuki and Al Gore.

We duly attended the conference, reported upon it and reported back to the news editor, who took a look at the story, edited it (y'know, like editors are supposed to do) and it was laid out and printed in that week's edition. The online version was put up on the Tuesday that the print version came out in.

The original article:
"Al Gore graduates from Concordia" (link)
Now, my name is Brian Hastie, but somehow the web editor managed to mangle my name. No biggie.

The original print version included the fact that the hecklers turned out to be LaRouche movement members and that it was very obvious by both the shirts (with prominent logos and slogans) and attitudes that it was them, and I have no idea why it didn't show up on the web version, a question I have since asked the news editor, who also had no clue.

I thought nothing of this, and being a full-time student, went right-ahead and started gearing up for finals.

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks later, when I casually bump into a friend after finishing my last final. We were talking, just catching up, and he congratulates me on my new-found fame. I thought he was joking about something, so I asked him to be more specific.

Well, it turns out that the story had made the rounds on the web... Originally it had been picked up by another Canadian university paper (The Brock Press, who somehow managed to mangle my name in an entirely new, unexplainable manner) and then ended up on the front page of The Drudge Report, which gave it their own right-wing spin and it quickly made its way around the blogosphere, and was even mentionned in Maclean's magazine, a large Canadian publication.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find the Drudge Report webpage, but a friend of mine has a screencap and I may or may not have access to it soon.

The interesting thing, though, is that the article clearly explains the fact that the crowd was booing Dr. Claude Lajeunesse and not Mr. Gore. To give you a bit of background, Lajeunesse had recently made some very... controversial decisions and taken some oppositional stances early that week with regards to raising tuition fees. The majority of the audience (I'd say 3/4ths of the 3,500 that were there) was comprised of Concordia students, who have a history of being quite vocal about things they do not like.

Anyways, it was interesting to see the spin take shape and take on a life of its own, finding examples with links like external link, external link 2 and external link 3 started popping up, clearly advertising the fact that Gore had been booed, when in fact he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Anyways, I thought this would be an interesting addition to this forum, and I'm sorry if I come off as narcissistic or too self-involved. I'm really not, I just thought I'd share a little something with the rest of you to demonstrate how well the media can change and manipulate what they have in front of them to suit their needs.

[edit on 25-5-2007 by Weirdoradio2]

posted on May, 25 2007 @ 01:06 PM
I found this very interesting. I also go to Concordia, and remember hearing something about this.


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