Best Spin Line in The History of The World

I am constantly intrigued by the daily dissemination of ‘spin,’ that usually pejorative term referring to ‘a creative presentation of the facts.’ Don’t confuse spin with lying. Even though there is some degree of gray area existing between them, spin involves more of a ‘massaging’ of the facts as opposed to dreaming up a whole new set of them.

Personally, I love spin. I love hearing people use it. I love to watch people eat it up. I love when a phrase is so well spun that even the speaker smiles with delight. The people I feel sorry for are those who are ordered to perpetrate ‘spinspeak’ by their superiors (flashback to Secretary of State Colin Powell embarrassingly pointing out the preponderance of Iraqi WMDs during the run-up to ‘schlock and ahh’).

Of course, spinning is modus operandi for politicos whose liberal (in the nonpolitical sense) use of ‘spinspeak’ normally has wonks and wags shaking their heads in disbelief. Candidates and office holders, however, do not have the spin market cornered. The corporate and retail world certainly are not averse to inserting a little obfuscation, deception or manipulation into their marketing and PR efforts.

Which brings me to the best spin line in the history of the world – and it was created, I can say proudly, right here in my town, Y-town. I did not come up with this line. I do wish, however, that I had. It was well crafted. It was terse. It was elegant. And, for about five seconds, I actually fell for it. Sadly, for the corporate flunky who was forced to impart it, he did so to me, a student of the genre.

Let’s go back a few years. A local publication was going through a pretty contentious labor dispute. Enmity on both sides of the picket line was ramping up on a daily basis.
Because of the length of the impasse, the paper was forced to cut back to a single, morning edition. I was oblivious to this fact, however. My carrier was still bringing my paper at 6:00 P.M. It wasn’t until I stopped at a friend’s home early one morning and saw his paper, fresh and crisp, lying at his doorstep. I called the publication and wanted answers.

So I dial up customer service and get a recorded message saying that ‘all lines are currently busy’ (I’m sure they were) and a representative would get right back to me. Since I was going to be on the road the rest of the day, I left my cell number and hoped for the best. About an hour later my cell rings.

The following is a pretty accurate transcript of the ensuing conversation:

[Ring, Ring]

Me: Hello.

Caller: Hi, Mr. Hahn. Joe So-And-So from Customer Service. How can I help you this fine day?

Me: My paper. It comes at 6 at night. Everybody else seems to be getting it early in the morning. What’s up with that, dude? (I didn’t really say ‘dude’ but I wish I would have. I would have sounded so cool.)

Caller: Well, Mr. Hahn, some of our routes run later than others.

Me: 12 hours later? The news ain’t news anymore 12 hours later. The root word of ‘news,’ after all is – ‘new.’ If this is a morning paper, I would really prefer to receive it – inthemorning! (I was starting to sense the ‘party line’ being mustered on the other end.)

Caller: Well, Mr. Hahn, the publication is much more than a ‘morning’ paper. (He was setting me up for the kill. The magic sentence that would appease lesser subscribers than I was welling up in his throat. So I fed him my set-up line.)

Me: Whadda yah mean “more than a morning paper?

Caller: You see, Mr. Hahn, what we deliver to our valued subscribers on a daily basis is an ALL-DAY PAPER.

There it was! An ALL-DAY PAPER! Poetry. Sheer poetry. I was speechless. I stared at the receiver dazed, confused…impressed. I could imagine those three words taped across the top of his computer monitor in 48-point bold Times New Roman. I envisioned myself relaxing at the home, my trusted, all-day paper in hand, its headlines and photos changing before my eyes as world events ebbed and flowed throughout the course of the day. He had me. He had spun me like a top. I believed. Oh, how I believed! But how I wanted it to be true! I gathered my composure and responded in my typical calm, dignified manner...

Me: Huh?

Caller: You see…

Me: Did you just use the phrase ‘all-day paper?

Caller: That’s right, Mr. Hahn. You see…

Me: Hold it right there, buddy boy. First,…what the hell does that mean? And second,…who was the genius who told you to say that? (I was torn between tears and laughter.) That was beautiful. I mean it. (I really did mean it. Honest.) Kudos to your PR department, or marketing consultant, or the janitor, whomever.

Caller: …and our sports section is one of…

Me: Just get my paper to me by 6 A.M.


That was spinspeak in its grandest form . They knew they couldn’t deliver everybody’s paper in the morning. No way. So they did the next best thing. If anybody complained, they had the magic line – All-Day Paper. It sounded plausible even though it made absolutely no sense. Heck, it didn’t matter when you got it, the news lasted ‘all day.’ In that case don’t bother wasting all that energy stopping by my home everyday, why not just wait until the end of the week and drop them all off at once?

I guess then you would have yourself an All-Week Paper. Even better.

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