Spinsanity authors announce book on President Bush's PR strategy

Spinsanity, the website that analyzes and critiques political rhetoric and spin, announced that its first book, "All the President's Spin: George W. Bush, the Media and the Truth," will be published in August by Simon & Schuster imprint Touchstone/Fireside.

Spinsanity, the website that analyzes and critiques political rhetoric and spin, announced that its first book, "All the President's Spin: George W. Bush, the Media and the Truth," will be published in August by Simon & Schuster imprint Touchstone/Fireside.

The book will focus on President Bush's "unrelenting dishonesty about public policy," according to the website. The authors said they plan to highlight the deft public relations strategy that Bush's administration has employed. They stated that the book was non-partisan and that they did not need to analyze spin from both the left and the right simultaneously in order to remain non-partisan.

"Our primary response is being non-partisan does not mean you have to be mechanically balanced. It's a book; it's not a treatise," writer Ben Fritz said. "[Bush] is the most important target because he is the leader of the country and [and a leader of] PR-driven deception."

Spinsanity, which consists of Fritz, a technology reporter for Variety; Bryan Keefer, the assistant managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk; and Brendan Nyhan, a graduate student in the department of political science at Duke University, will write about topics that they've tackled in previous Spinsanity articles, but all of the analysis in the book will be original. The group talked to a book publisher about a year after founding the site in 2001 but did not pursue a deal at that time. The process got them an agent, which led to this proposal.

While Bush's strategy drives the book, it will also cover previous presidents' public relations and how the field has worked its way into political communications.

"The theme [of the book] is that democracy depends on reasonable, rational debate," Fritz said. "You need to have a common understanding of what is true. When you start destroy that, democracy is hurt. Truth stops having meaning."

Fritz said that both John Kerry and Bush have been aggressive in their recent campaigning. "[What's] shocking is that both sides are being explicit and doing it eight months before the general election. We're not saying PR is bad and you can't professionally handle the media. But when that is combined with an intent to deceive, it can be destructive. Our belief is that while a lot of people have a sense that this [deception exists], we can explain, in detail, where it came from, how it works, and why [knowing about] it matters."

In additional to the Spinsanity.org website, the Spinsanity authors also write a weekly column on the Philadelphia Inquirer's commentary page and have been published in Salon and the Orange County Register.

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