Archive for spin

Fox News' Greg Burke Joins Vatican Communications Staff

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Honestly, could this be more perfect? The guy is just stepping from one virtual reality to another, nothing but spin in either one.

Greg Burke has left Fox News Channel, where he’s been a Rome-based correspondent since 2001, and is joining the Vatican’s communications staffas a senior advisor.

(snip)

“There are more than a billion Catholics, and you have the Vatican here,” he told TVNewser at the time. “You’re always going to have some news out of the Vatican.”

Now Burke will be switching roles, helping the Church with communications strategy.

“I’m a bit nervous but very excited. Let’s just say it’s a challenge,” he tells the AP.  “You’re shaping the message, you’re molding the message, and you’re trying to make sure everyone remains on-message. And that’s tough.”

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Cutting Through Special Election Spin

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I'm not at the point of pulling out my hair yet, so this helped. Via Taegan-

Nate Silver notes that while special elections "should more or less be ignored in terms of their national implications," a more nuanced approach shows that they "can provide us with some insight if we look at their results very carefully."

How to understand the results: "Blaming the candidate is often a poor excuse, as it appears to be here for Democrats... New York's Ninth Congressional District has highly unusual demographics, with a set of local issues that are unlikely to extrapolate well to the rest of the country... If the polls are right, the result in Nevada should be as troubling to Democrats as the result in New York... Academic studies find that special elections do have some predictive power, especially taken as a group... Special elections have more predictive power if you look at the margin of victory and not just the result... Special elections can also affect the behavior and morale of the parties, and they may do so here... Special elections won't provide us with much insight into the degree of anti-incumbent sentiment."

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Rolling Stone: Army manipulated visiting lawmakers to secure more troops & funding for war

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Rolling Stone magazine has an eye popper, and Gen. David Petraeus is ordering an investigation based on their reporting.  Per the exclusive, the Army ordered soldiers trained in "psychological operations" (psy-ops) to manipulate U.S. Congress members so they'd approve more troops and more money to go toward the Afghan war.

Great cause, huh? Not exactly the way to "support the troops".

This took place over a four-month period back in 2010:

"My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave," says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. "I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line." [...]

The incident offers an indication of just how desperate the U.S. command in Afghanistan is to spin American civilian leaders into supporting an increasingly unpopular war... Federal law forbids the military from practicing psy-ops on Americans, and each defense authorization bill comes with a "propaganda rider" that also prohibits such manipulation.

Some of the lawmakers that were targeted were John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin.

Another day, another scandal. Read the whole thing here.

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ACORN loses California branch

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By GottaLaff

(click on image to enlarge)

Repeat something often enough and it gains traction:

California ACORN has broken away from its embattled parent organization to form a new nonprofit group, a move that observers say might foreshadow other defections that would seriously undermine one of the nation's largest and most politically powerful community organizations.

The new group will have the same mission, will be staffed by many of the same employees who worked for ACORN, and will be funded by most of the same donors, said Amy Schur, the former head organizer for California ACORN. [...]

[T]he new group, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, was incorporated in California on Monday. ACCE is seeking federal nonprofit status. [...]

Congress was under pressure to strip funding from the organization [...]

Although a federal judge ruled in December that the funding cut was unconstitutional, and a Congressional Research Service report found that ACORN had not broken any laws in the last five years, the scandal so tarnished ACORN's reputation that the California branch [...]

[M]embers with similar complaints in other states were considering following California's lead. He and others said donor support has plummeted. [...]

ACORN's chief executive, Bertha Lewis, blamed the woes on "a multiyear political assault stemming variously from the Bush White House, Fox News and other conservative quarters" [...]

Sigh.

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