​We are all familiar with the activities of political spin doctors, yet much of our knowledge is filtered through reports by journalists whose image of them is often not flattering. In this paper I use interviews with 28 media advisers to Labor and Coalition governments to try to assess the influence of spin doctors on the news. Among other issues I will discuss the co-operation (as well as conflict) between media advisers and journalists and the way in which news is a result of negotiated process. Finally I will examine Tiffen’s notion of spin as a two edged sword which sometimes produces the opposite result to that intended.

Dr David McKnight is an associate professor at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia.  He is the author of a number of books on the media, politics and history. They include his latest book, Big Coal, (co-authored)  and Rupert Murdoch: an investigation of political power, as well as  Beyond Right and Left: New Politics and the Culture War which discusses renewal of the progressive political vision.   His current research areas cover political spin as well as  climate change and politics. He was formerly a journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald and on ABC TV’s Four Corners as well as the weekly Tribune

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