A History of White House Spin

In yesterday’s Washington Post, Peter Baker takes a look at an upcoming book by professor Martha Joynt Kumar, entitled, “Managing the President’s Message.”

    As a college professor, Martha Joynt Kumar studied and taught the art of presidential communication for years. But one day, she did what few of her colleagues in academia had: She showed up at the White House, planted herself in the basement along with the reporters who covered the president and started watching the whole process up close. That was in 1995. Now we have the fruits of her labor.

    After attending briefings and presidential events for most of the last dozen years, Kumar has seen the sausage being ground for longer than most of the officials and reporters she studies. Her new book, “Managing the President’s Message,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press, pulls back the curtain on the machinations and recriminations that always seem to shadow the interactions between presidents and the media.

    Kumar, a Towson University professor, got most of the important figures of the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presidencies to talk with her about their strategies for spinning journalists — including Karl Rove, Dan Bartlett and Joshua B. Bolten from this administration. What emerges is a portrait of a rapidly shifting environment in which the White House has had to adapt to keep a quicker pace because of cable news, talk radio and the Internet.

Read the rest here.