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Spin: The Art of Selling War

Presented by Josh Rushing, formerly a veteran Marine Corps media spokesman, “SPIN: The Art of Selling War” looks at the standard justification for going to war by American administrations, past and present.

Josh Rushing is a former Marine and spokesperson for US Central Command. In his first special for Al Jazeera (English), where Josh is the military and current affairs correspondent, he examines the US Government’s formula for selling war.

Notably, Rushing was one of General Tommy Franks’ former spokespeople for the war in Iraq, and provides something of an insider’s look at the spin machine during the US invasion of Iraq.

Also available at Googlevideo

Part One (11 minutes)

Part Two (11 minutes)

2 comments on “Spin: The Art of Selling War

  1. Servant
    20 May, 2007

    Thank you for this Ann.

    I saw a tiny validation of the marketing strategy on local television this morning. The Blue Angels will be at Andrews Air Force Base for our Memorial Day celebration next weekend. They took a reporter from a local station for an hour long ride in exchange for a 10 minute promo story on the morning noon and evening news. I have to watch again this evening on the other channels to see if each station gets a ride.

    It is the same infotainment reporting style they wheel out when the Barnum and Bailey Big Top Circus comes to town. Come on out! Bring the wife and Kids! It is news, but it is also free marketing.

    I’m sure every kid who plays flight simulator games was as breathless as I was seeing the performance from inside the cockpit through three nicely-spliced and edited camera angles. I felt vertigo when they pulled the 9g loop.

    And the reporter is screaming, “Oh my God! Yahoooooooo. Oh my God!” in the back seat. It would have been an excellent time to ask if this is the same plane we will use if we have to nuke Iran, but he was too busy screaming, “Yaaaaaaaahooo!” I thought I could even hear the air pumping in their pneumatic vests to keep them from passing out at 9gs. The sound quality was excellent.

    I’m going to watch the feeds the rest of the week to see if they give each station a ride. I’m very curious to see if the video angles are different. Whether the cameras and sound recording system belongs to the television stations or the government.

    I have a hunch that the government bought and placed the specialized video recording equipment so they can hand a DVD of the ride to the reporter as soon as he gets out of the cockpit. Knowing how well the Air Force lives, they probably beam the feed real time to a production crew in an air conditioned trailer truck on the ground. They can spread out and drink cola and smoke cigars while they splice propaganda feeds for the unsuspecting American public who pays for it all.

    Meanwhile the Marines are down at the Quantico Marine Corps Base they’re offering free twenty mile hikes. But instead of expensive video feeds they have Benjamin Heine out there sketching your caricature while you hump your 60 pound pack. Urrah! Come on down! Bring the wife and kids!

    Air Force punks I says. All we need are a few good men who can hit a target. The rest of that equipment is for show.

  2. peoplesgeography
    22 May, 2007

    Indeed. I wonder just how much of their high tech toys are really needed. I’ve suspected quite a bit just keeps the wheels of the Permanent Arms Economy going. And the rest is just razzle-dazzle, as you say.

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"