David Greenberg is an associate professor of history and of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. A frequent commentator in the national news media on contemporary politics and public affairs, he is the author most recently of Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency (2016). His first book, Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image (2003), won the Washington Monthly's Annual Political Book Award, the American Journalism Historians Association's Book of the Year Award, and Columbia University’s Bancroft Dissertation Award. His biography Calvin Coolidge (2006) was included in the Washington Post’s list of best books of the year. His Presidential Doodles (2006) was widely reviewed and featured on CNN, NPR's All Things Considered, and CBS Sunday Morning. Formerly a full-time journalist, Greenberg served as managing editor and acting editor of the New Republic, where he was a contributing editor until 2014. He has also been a regular contributor to Slate since its founding and has written for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Daedalus, Dissent, Raritan, and many other popular and scholarly publications.
The talk surveys the role of spin in American politics from Theodore Roosevelt to the present day. It starts with TR's efforts to make the presidency the seat of policymaking by galvanizing public opinion on behalf of his causes and looks at the innovations in practice and method that developed over the decades. It also examines the public reactions to these developments, showing the concerns about spin to be, at bottom, concerns about democracy.