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13 July 2010

It looks as though they've got the name back...

Spinprofiles moves to - bookmark this source

OF COURSE journalist should always ask, in the words of Jeremy Paxman on interviewing politicians, "why is this bastard lying to me?" And the first step to answering that question has to be "who is this bastard working for?".

To assist, the Spinwatch inititative, founded by David Miller and colleagues at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, set up a database of spin doctors (and, to use the term some prefer, "reputation management consultants") at

If you'd had a briefing from the "American Council on Science and Health", say, you could just go there and look it up...

Or, you could. The project has been forced to move, in an unusual and worrying fashion. Usually, those who object to what's said about them online issue a legal threat to the "hosting company" - the outfit that owns the hard drive where the website's information sits, waiting for you to call it up. Distressingly frequently, the hosting company rolls over and deletes the site, rather than enter the ruinous maelstrom which is British libel law.

A think-tank researcher called Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens issued his threat instead against the "name registrar" - the outfit that owns the computer that tells your computer where to go on the internet to find the content of the site you want. It rolled over: so though the contents of the site still existed, no-one could get to them.

Spinwatch is still trying to clarify what Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is complaining about. In the meantime, the database is available at

So bookmark this source!

Last modified: 03 Jul 2010 - © 2010 contributors
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