Spinning the SpinSpotter?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

The New York Times has a news piece today on the SpinSpotter, a new software application that's supposed to help readers sniff out bias in news articles by, among other things, highlighting red flag words and phrases,

SpinSpotter debuted in beta this summer and frankly, we're a bit skeptical about the enterprise just because we think misinformation is more often the product of bad or lazy or sloppy journalism, not bias.

In fact, we couldn't help notice the (ironic) way the Times article concludes, quoting one of SpinSpotter's co-founders:

"We've even talked to some news organizations that are interested in having a version of our service behind the wall," he said, "so they can prescreen their work."

The irony is that's what you call spin. Because unless the founder can name which news orgs are considering installing SpinSpotter, or unless the Times can independently confirm that fact, the claim should not be reported in a news article. Because what entrepreneur, being interviewed by the Times, wouldn't love to claim that his new company was in talks with all kind of (unnamed) clients?

So the article about SpinSpotter pretty much proved our point: We need a software application that cures weak journalism, not biases.

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