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Blogging Beyond The Spin Cycle

Steve McGookin, 10.08.04, 2:55 PM ET

It's official. The spin cycle has now overtaken the news cycle.

The opening debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry was predictably characterized by the usual spin-alley frenzy of rebuttal, pre-buttal and slant. The same, no doubt, will be true of their second debate, scheduled for this evening.

But this year, all of that is augmented by a constant stream of real-time analysis from an army of bloggers probing virtually every nuance of the event, a torrent of over-examination that after the first debate was so wide-reaching that it was physically and intellectually impossible to take it all in.

It was, truly, a manifestation of Richard Lanham's famous notion likening consuming information to drinking from a fire hose.

With an estimated 62.5 million people watching on television, according to Nielsen Media Research (more than 30% higher than the TV audience for the first Bush-Gore debate in 2000), there is no escaping the level of public interest in the face-to-face confrontation as part of the bigger picture in a crucial and evenly balanced election.

The vice presidential debate...

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