For politicians and journalists, spin is the word of our times. Politicians do it incessantly, the media attempt to detect and deflect it incessantly.

So where does the idea of spin sit alongside the idea of quality journalism? They are, surely, natural enemies.

Which creates a puzzle. Why did Fairfax Media — arguably the home of the best quality journalism in Australian history — this week employ one of the country’s top “spinners”, Sue Cato, to help massage its communication with its own quality journalists?

Surely the home of spin detection is the last place you would expect to find the wet fingerprints of spin itself.

Or has the definition of quality journalism changed so much that its practitioners now regard spin as one of its natural elements?

Peter Fray

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