The Origins of Modern Spin: Democratic Government and the by Martin Moore

By Martin Moore

In line with unique learn, this ebook disputes the suggestion that info administration is a contemporary phenomenon. It strains its origins to the interval 1945-1951, whilst the post-war Labour govt, and its media architect, Herbert Morrison, moved from an idealistic dedication to open conversation in the direction of the pragmatic courting with the media with which we're now commonplace. within the method this govt laid the rules for the politics of spin. This ebook is indispensible to an realizing of how modern governments converse.

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Harry Crookshank, for example, the irascible Coalition PostmasterGeneral, after seeing the Barlow report in June 1944 said that the machinery proposed by the Committee would give the government far too much power over public opinion and set it on ‘the road all the dictators have travelled’. For him it smacked far too much of Goebbels and government sponsored propaganda. He recommended that after the war the information services be cut back not by the ‘pruning hook’ 22 The Origins of Modern Spin but by ‘the axe’.

He and the Minister of Information, Brendan Bracken, worked very well together, and by 1943 the two of them had managed to make the Ministry efficient and uncontroversial, if not loved. But in November 1943 Radcliffe broke sharply with Bracken. ‘I believe these activities [information services] have been beneficial’ he wrote to his Minister, ‘and I would not be surprised to find that the balance of popular approval was in favour of their continuance. 16 Radcliffe must have known that Bracken would not agree with his new perspective.

The Prosperity Campaign of 1946–7 is a good example of how its approach began to change. 3 million people by the end of 1946. 96 Francis Williams, Attlee’s Public Relations Advisor, was asked to head a committee to translate this appeal into action. Williams was a tremendous optimist. In many ways he symbolises the early attitudes of the government towards communication. A good natured socialist idealist, Williams worked as a journalist and editor to the age of 37. During the war he then ran the MOI’s Press and Censorship division.

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