When spin doctors do harm

The practice of public relations (a subtle substitute for the more disturbing term «political propaganda») has emerged as an essential tool of every party’s policymakers in recent years. Public relations exercises have become so popular among politicians that they are often regarded as more important than the government policies they are designed to sell. However, such tactics are now used not just to disguise or justify various political shortcomings or even the absence of policy per se. Lately, they have been employed to spread certain carefully selected pieces of «information» and «news items.» The aim is to create a particular climate or situation in the public domain which serves to indirectly support covert and often regrettable policies. Some political figures look upon this shadowy «communications» strategy as a special art form whose mastery allows them to show off their special talents as spinmeisters to their political bosses. To be sure, public relations is part of the business of politics. But when spin doctors overstep the mark, when they are deliberately channeling negative energy into the political scene, when they are conjuring up «theories» or «developments» in order to undermine their political foes, then they are causing serious damage to the body politic. Their practices do little service to their political superiors either. The people have had enough of public relations exercises of this sort. And enough damage has been done to the country’s political life. The political elites in the ruling and opposition parties should re-evaluate the effectiveness of such policies and keep a tight rein on their hyperactive spin doctors.