Let’s say I’m department Chair, and the administration says it’s going to cut 3 of our courses because of the budget difficulties. If I go and tell my colleagues that I lost us 3 whole courses, they’ll think I’m a loser, right? So what do I do?
Obviously, I go to the colleagues and tell them that the administration is cutting 16 of our courses. Everybody is stunned. 16 courses? This is a full third of all our course offerings. Sixteen??? This is catastrophic!
Yes, I say. These neoliberal bastards are rabid. Of course, I’ll do what I can but, honestly, I think it’s hopeless.
Then I go and bravely do absolutely nothing.
The administration takes away 4 of our courses because it’s always worse than what was announced.
I go back and tell the colleagues that we lost 4 courses. They were expecting 16, so losing only 4 sounds like an epic win. They think I’m a hero who defended 12 courses from elimination and eagerly set to cover the comparatively small loss of 4. Everybody loves me and votes to reelect me for a new term.
I haven’t done anything like it, and things don’t work like that at all. Everybody has to fulfill their contractual teaching loads, and the administration would never cut into that. I’m not talking about academia at all in this post.
I’ll let you guess what I’m actually talking about. I only want to add that spin is everything.