|The First Spin?
||[Apr. 18th, 2011|11:35 am]
In 1066, William the Conqueror invaded England. As he arrayed his forces on the landing beach, he fell off his horse. This was a time in which even the smallest event could be--and was--interpreted as an omen; William falling off his horse sent a ripple of concern through the men who saw it. Was this a bad omen, even the worst possible? Would their commander fall in battle? William stood up smiling and offered his own interpretation-- telling the assembled troops to see how eager England was to embrace her new King...
They relaxed and won the Battle of Hastings. In a later battle, William fell off his horse again, injured himself, and died.
Leaving omens aside--please!--this is the earliest example of political spin I can think of. Too bad it worked; we've been cursed with it ever since.
Can anyone think of an older example?