My Side of the Fencepost

The season of ‘spin’

By Jim Dickerson

Just a word of warning. We’re going to hear a lot of “spin” in the next three months.

It is a relatively new term for efforts to accentuate the positives and downplay the negatives of any given situation, event or issue (positive spin); or, used in reverse, to accentuate the negatives and downplay the positives (negative spin).

I believe the term started to become widely used during the political upheavals of the 1970s and 80s. Political consultants became known as “spin doctors.” A rock group named Spin Doctors was also formed in the 80s.

We have always had “spin,” but it wasn’t always called that. Any time there are two sides to a debate, both sides will obviously try to accentuate their strongest arguments and downplay any rebuttals.

The term “spin” shouldn’t necessarily be considered a negative, but we should recognize that it is present in every argument. We hear it every day.

T. Boone Pickens was obviously using it on a recent trip to Nebraska to sell his plan for achieving U.S. energy independence. In the main points of his argument, he advocates large scale development of wind energy, along with converting all of our vehicles to run on natural gas.

He gives us some food for thought in the national debate over energy, but his argument includes mostly what he wants us to hear. We should consider the suggestions of Pickens as part of the bigger picture, and we should look at where he’s coming from. He is already a big player in the natural gas industry and has plans for a huge wind farm in Texas. He also has a proposal to pump water from the Ogallala Aquifer in Texas to serve the growing water demands in Dallas.

Pickens stands to benefit if the nation adopts his plan.


With the presidential campaign heating up and the Democratic Convention underway, we are hearing spin every time we tune in.

Personally, I thought Michelle Obama gave an excellent speech Monday night in support of her husband’s candidacy. It obviously included her own spin on their family history, Barrack Obama’s qualities and the campaign issues. The quality of her presentation — spin and all — leads me to believe that Mrs. Obama could have a bright political future of her own if she chooses to pursue it.