Spinewatch is a newsgroup and link bank for campaign 2008 stories of a certain narrowly-defined type. Here, we keep track of reporting from the mainstream media where the press can be seen going further than it has traditionally been willing to go in describing untruths, calling out lies, and reporting clearly on statements at odds with well established facts. Even at the risk of saying that one side is worse than the other or one candidate is actually lying.
We also keep track of how journalists and news organizations stand up to attempted intimidation, extreme brow beating and the rejection of normal patterns in press inquiry.
? A good spinewatch story is often marked by the absence of qualification, a boldness in categorization ("out of bounds!") and a refusal to artificially balance the account when the facts themselves point one way.
? Also relevant are blog posts and pointed works of commentary that observe upon this issue of the press calling out lies, and reporting clearly on campaign statements at odds with reality. Or failing to do that very thing.
? A critical part of spinewatch is holding up good work and highlighting moments of clarity.
? Apart from this newsgroup at publish2.com, spinewatch is a meme (or proliferating theme) on the web, owned by anyone who uses it with clear intention.
? On Twitter, people contribute to spinewatch using the hashtag system, inserting #spinewatch into their Tweets (posts) when there is clear evidence of "spine" being shown, or being needed and not showing up.
? On other social media systems--YouTube, summize.com, technorati, del.icio.us--simple use of the spinewatch tag accomplishes the same thing.
For more background see this Q and A with Jay Rosen and Ryan Sholin.More