Essential election viewing: Brian Springer’s Spin (1995)

In the early ’90s, media artist Brian Springer learned that, with a home satellite dish, it was possible to pick up and record the raw satellite feeds created by the TV networks. These parallel feeds included the behind-the-scenes signals sent to the TV shows’ control rooms but not intended for broadcast, such as talk show sets during commercial breaks or people waiting to be patched in to an interview with a news anchor.

Springer recorded these feeds throughout the 1992 election season, eventually assembling one of the most remarkable inside looks at American political campaigns ever made. New York Times Media Critic Stephen Holden called Spin “a devastating critique of television’s profound manipulativeness in the way it packages the news and politics.”

Before election season gets any further, watch our 12-minute distillation of this incredible doc. It’s an essential lesson in media culture and American politics that everyone needs to see.

When you have time, we highly recommend watching the full documentary.



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