Are you an evil genius? Help us clean up politics!

Spin Doctored by Versionz

Spin Doctored by Versionz (CC BY 2.0)

Reading Italian job ads sometimes morphs into discovering a treasure trove of curious animals. If you ever contemplated the possibility of becoming a mystery shopper, you know what I mean.

It’s not entirely unexpected to find a job posting containing a mistake in the title itself; it’s a little more puzzling to find, as it happens, an ad regularly posted week after week since 2005, still displaying the same original grammar mistake, in full sight…

But I digress.

A few days ago I stumbled upon an ad for a position of “political consultant”. What could this be? After perusing the website of the advertiser, Polo Tecnico, I got the answer: they are looking for a Spin Doctor (in English in the original), and they admit it like it’s nothing. I always thought spin doctor was a pejorative term, rejected by those involved.

To better understand the issue, here’s Polo Tecnico in their own words:

Who is he? A competent consultant […] capable of supporting the political activity of a party and of a single candidate.

No red flags here: in today’s politics, it’s normal and expected to take full advantage of a staff of experts, helping with their analyses and managing communications. But read in the following passage how the job is further characterized:

he should be indifferent to factual truth, moreover he must be capable of manipulating said truth, repackaging it as something palatable to the public. Like a two-faced Janus, the spin doctor covers the double role of professional communication mediator and of “evil genius“: a sort of news tamer, a special effects director, creative and deceitful at the same time, always coherent with his professional mandate. A spin doctor is for instance in charge of suggesting to the press to use headlines like “Tax rearrangement” instead of “Tax hike”.

“Coherent with his professional mandate”: you don’t care about what is right, only to create the perception that your boss is always right. For a sum between 900 and 1800 euros a month, you should manipulate truth in favor of a politician.

It is ironic that behind Polo Tecnico you can find this guy Angelelli (President), head of an obscure movement that at first became part of Italia dei Valori, the small “Justice” party of the ex-judge Antonio Di Pietro, but then Angelelli stormed off declaring: “Eventually my desire to tell the whole truth prevailed”, adding that citizens need to know who’s actually hiding (who?) behind the respectable public façade represented by the former Public Prosecutor Di Pietro.

That’s Italian politics for you. Some random, almost unknown type, rambling against the “Casta” (politicians’ caste), then transferring his meager troops to better pastures, supporting Berlusconi, with the helping hand of spin doctors… “For a citizen’s initiative in politics” is their slogan. The very same citizens targeted by their professional liars?

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