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What and who are the “spin doctors”, in media terms?

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PhD Student
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modern history
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LSE

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Mary Beth S.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Review
  3. Conclusion

The current democratic political landscape is characterized by continuous shifts in power between politics and the media and dependant on the increasingly malleable opinions of the general public, spin doctors provide politicians with a means to somewhat control the perceptions of the populous and by extension, their vote. Contrary to some academic arguments, the emergence of spin doctors is not a simple reaction to media's increasing power over the political process, but also an attempt to confront a more individualistic public driven more by emotion and personal motivations than collective loyalty. Spin doctors represent an attempt by politicians and parties to proactively exert influence over the opinions and decisions of an increasingly disaffected public in a system characterized less by media dominance than the growth of a new form of consumer politics.

While most academics agree that control over the opinions are by extension of decisions of the public which is a source of immense power. However, which institution wields this power is the subject of constant debate. Academics such as Thomas Meyer propose the media as the institution wielding this influence as a result of its ability to direct the meaning of the information it produces and thus control the mentality of the public through inference and implication.

[...] What and who are the ?spin doctors?, in media terms? In the current democratic political landscape, characterized by continuous shifts in power between politics and the media and dependant on the increasingly malleable opinions of the general public, spin doctors provide politicians with a means to somewhat control the perceptions of the populous and by extension, their vote. Contrary to some academic arguments, the emergence of spin doctors is not a simple reaction to media's increasing power over the political process, but also an attempt to confront a more individualistic public driven more by emotion and personal motivations than collective loyalty. [...]


[...] 6 [6] Swanson and Mancini, Politics, Media, and Modern Democracy, p. 8 [7] Swanson and Mancini, Politics, Media, and Modern Democracy, pg. 14 [8] Scammell, Political brands and consumer citizens: the re-branding of Tony Blair from The ANNALS of the American Academy Political and Social Science, p. 184 [9] Franklin, ?Packaging politics: an overview of the argument? in Packaging Politics: Political Communications in Britain's Media, p. 13 [10] Meyer, Media Democracy: How the Media Colonise Politics, p. 59 [11] Street, 'The Celebrity Politician: Political Style and Popular Culture', in J. [...]

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