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Wherever there is a big candidates' debate there is Spin Alley. After the debate, journalists have to write stories, produce TV packages. For this they need quotes and authorized knowers who can talk on camera.

There to provide such are the spinners: hired guns, stand-ins, soulmates who agree to meet the press after the debate to explain why their candidate "won." Of course this is a verdict known in advance; however that fact too is known in advance, so no one really minds. Spin Alley will live again in whatever large, air-conditioned room is next designated for the ritual. Unless it's stopped.
After the debate, I took the press shuttle back to the media center -- and to the small section therein blatantly designated "Spin Alley," ringed on three sides by bare-bones makeshift broadcast platforms and stuffed to capacity with reporters, camera crews and politicos. Everywhere you looked there were clusters of media people surrounding spinners and surrogates, whose names were printed on laminated red signs held high above the crowd by aides. I felt like I was standing in the middle of one of my own damn cartoons come to life.
by Arunabh Das April 24, 2005
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