February 13, 2006

The Spin Factory

from - RSA

To all Republican operatives:

The unfortunate publicity associated with the Vice President's hunting mishap has largely been contained, but a greater effort will be needed in the near term. Suggestions follow.

"Whittington was peppered [or sprayed] with pellets." The language here is fine, peppering and spraying being associated with domestic activities such as cooking and lawn care, but it could be better. One possibility is that we further push the domesticity angle: "Whittington was misted with a confection of tiny projectiles." Passive voice, abstract language--all good. An alternative is to be more forceful. Imagine this headline: "VP shoots campaign contributer in face with shotgun." This demonstrates Cheney's virility, as well as showing a new way to look at the Abramoff scandal.

News of the incident was held back for almost a day. It's possible to see bad intentions in the delay, but only by the paranoid. Cast this as concern for Whittington's privacy: "If you had just been shot by the Vice President of the United States, would you want a bunch of ravening reporters at your bedside? It's not even the first time it's happened." Aaron Burr, of course.

It was an unfortunate accident. Hunting accidents are fortunately rare, due to the bright clothing worn by hunters, the rules they follow concerning when and where they fire their weapons, and the care hunters take in knowing where their companions are. . . On second thought, forget the rules. When you're bird hunting, it's only natural to shoot at objects six feet off the ground 30 yards away, to the side and possibly behind you. Where's the excitement otherwise?

It was Whittington's fault. Ms. Armstrong's statements have been invaluable, describing Whittington as having sneaked up on the group without shouting, "Hey, it's me, I'm coming up!" If anyone asks about the Vice President's responsibility, suggest that Whittington may be a conservationist: he may have leaped into the line of fire in order to protect the birds.

With hard work, we can keep this under control.

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Posted by RSA at February 13, 2006 01:32 PM
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