Friday, September 14, 2012
I've been asked a few times about bias in the media, and I always have a ready answer.
Because many civic matters are of some concern to me, I naturally have some opinion when covering a city council, school board or other meeting. I usually have a preference for which team I would like to see win a sporting contest, as well.
However, as a journalist, it is imperative that I not allow my opinion or preference cloud my judgment. I need to refrain from cheering aloud when I am covering a sporting event.
It is my job to seek the facts and present them to the readers without bias.
So, I set aside my own feelings about a particular matter or a team to do just that.
It isn't always easy to keep an open mind, but it is my duty to be fair as I share what transpires in a particular meeting.
With sports, it is a little easier to present what happened in a colorful manner because the readers are often as interested in a particular team as I am.
But, I still must present the facts as they are without bias.
That's why we have an opinion page. If I feel strongly enough about something and can present my opinion in a clear and well thought-out way, the readers will learn about my thoughts there.
That's just the point, though. They are my thoughts and my reasons for those thoughts might not always match with someone else's opinions.
We are all shaped by our own experiences and our own view of the world. Opinions don't always match because of those experiences and views.
Some of us have personalities that reflect idealist points of view and others might be more pragmatic. There are opinions that are shaped from an analytical point of view and others of us base our opinions from an emotional standpoint.
The human race is very colorful in physical and mental attributes. The significance of our opinions is that the thoughts we share make us unique from one another.
That makes every individual biased in some way.
I may not always agree with someone else, but I can respect the opinions of others without reverting to name calling because they have shaped their thoughts from a different perspective than mine.
In the meantime, I will cheer for my side from the inside.