For decades, perhaps for as long as independent newspapers have
existed, political operatives have used "spin" to shape the way the
news media respond to candidates and their policies. Spin can be
understood as a kind of top-down power that depends on the social
network linking political leaders and the news media. Some have argued
that weblogs or blogs have emerged in recent years to disrupt this
culture of spin. They see blogging as a grassroots movement that also
tries to shape or control public perceptions of important events and
issues. Others have claimed that the blogosphere has merely enhanced
the influence of traditional interest groups, giving ideologues of the
left and the right even more power to "spin" the world as they wish to
see it. How can we understand the interplay between spin and blogs?
How do each shape, some would say manipulate public opinion? How are
each subject to abuse? Is the culture of spin and blogging
contributing to the polarization of American political discourse?