Spin Alley

SPIN ALLEY….I’m not a big press basher, but I’ve got a question about debate coverage. I know it’s a terminally naive question, but it’s also dead serious.

As you know, “spin alley” is the infamous offstage area where all the flacks from both campaigns hang out and deliver opinions to a press corps packed into the room like sardines. There’s no subtlety here, either: both sides have the single-minded goal of convincing the press that their guy did better than the other guy.

So here’s my question: why does the press spend time there? In fact, why do they even attend the debates in person? The debates are fundamentally designed for TV, so you get a better idea of what really happened if you watch them on TV instead of watching them live.

I’m puzzled that a supposedly cynical, professional, highly knowledgable national press corps actively wants to be spun. They know perfectly well that the opinions expressed in spin alley are completely fake, and yet they go there anyway. Are they really so insecure that they’re afraid to just trust their own instincts when they write their stories?