Spin Doctors

By Thomas Kochman - 03.15.2010

Almost every piece of news that gets reported these days seems to have one kind of spin on it or another from people bent on promoting one or another social or political agenda. We expect that behavior from politicians, cults and other thought squads, caught up in what David Brooks characterized as “information cocoons” in his excellent article, “Getting Obama Right!”

However, the media is no less guilty of spin when it chooses “sexy” or controversial topics for airing or publication to draw in viewers or readers.

And even researchers fall prey to spin in selecting criteria whose single greatest virtue is that it is measurable giving the research and themselves, a sense of relevance or importance that –upon looking deeper—is unwarranted.

As a case in point, Drake Bennett’s article “Who’s still biased” cites researchers who, using prejudice reduction as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of corporate diversity training, imply that there is somehow a causal connection between prejudice reduction and behavioral change—presumably with prejudice reduction needing to occur in order to achieve the latter. Read more »