|You gotta spin it to win it|
|Stop the presses!|
|We want pictures|
Public relations (PR for short, or euphemistically, spin) is the art of making the unacceptable and obnoxious into a fragrant and desirable thing. It can also be described as a refutation of the old saying "you can't polish a turd."
The concept and the term "public relations" originated in the business world — hence the definition of an industry: a gang of extortionists with a gimmick and a PR agency. (Keen operators acting outside the capitalist nexus had to rely more on clientage/protégés, on private armies or on patrons ("friends in high places") for support where it mattered.) But PR has evolved such that much of politics and monarchy these days is pure public relations. Noted masters include Lady Diana Spencer, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and almost any other President of the United States (Jimmy Carter being a possible exception to this rule).
Politicians don't lie any more, they just engage in public relations. And they don't change policies any more; they just "spin" them to look more acceptable.
PR has two main objectives: promotion and damage limitation:
- Promotion is in effect advertising; whether of a product, person or organisation. A hitherto unknown person can become famous (and possibly wealthy) purely through the intervention of a PR firm.
- Damage limitation often occurs when a "celebrity" is caught out in some misdemeanor. The PR firm can then spin the reporting of the event or circumstance to place their client in a less bad, or even positive, light
- Edward Bernays (1891-1995), who invented the term "public relations" as a euphemism for propaganda
- Frank Luntz
- "A Song About A Train" by Rob Balder at thefump.com