Cynical software

Software spots the spin in political speeches – tech – 17 September 2008 – New Scientist Tech

The algorithm counts usage of first person nouns – “I” tends to indicate less spin than “we”, for example. It also searches out phrases that offer qualifications or clarifications of more general statements, since speeches that contain few such amendments tend to be high on spin. Finally, increased rates of action verbs such as “go” and “going”, and negatively charged words, such as “hate” and “enemy”, also indicate greater levels of spin.

So any politicians who talks about their supporter rather than just about themselves, and who don’t make ringing promises followed by weasel words that revoke them, are spinning a lot. And woe to the politician who complains about negative advertising that depicts him or her as an enemy…

I guess it does explain the current republican mode: just lie flat out, without any fancy rhetorical devices, and no one can accuse you of spinning.

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