Bias, and Truth

The cornerstone of journalism, or so I am reliably informed, is non-bias. The aim is for journalists to impart the facts without passing on their own preconceptions. And a laudable goal it is too, but for one thing: it’s utterly, totally and in all other ways impossible.

The Evening Standard, which essentially  has complete access to all commuters in London, as been accused at times of being pro-Conservative. “No!” say its detractors, “a free paper should be non-biased.” They continue: “these unelected journalists are influencing the direction London by pushing their favourite candidates at the expense of his rivals.”

Of course, this is all completely true. The ES has done nothing but praise BoJo’s re-election campaign, recast Ken’s campaign in a negative light, and has consistently only mentioned third-party candidates when they feel it will split the liberal vote. I can’t be bothered to track down links for these because this article isn’t about the ES – it’s about bias.

This concept of non-bias hasn’t removed bias from the news – just ask the BBC, the Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the New York Times, Fox News, Sky News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, The Sun, the Mail , the Express, the LA Times, the Washington Post, the Mail, the Boston Globe & Mail, the Mail, the Mail and the Mail. Or one of the other news outlets I haven’t bothered to mention.

The truth is, the emphasis on non-bias has done only two thing: groups have gotten better at hiding their bias, and groups have instead resorted to “he said, she said” journalism – the seeing both side argument. And I’m sick of it. Much as I dislike the Mail’s and Fox News’ message (hate everyone who isn’t like you, marriage is between one man and one woman, etc), I kind of admire their honesty – they are both open and unashamed about their bias.

Okay, if it wasn’t for the veneer of non-bias in the UK, then perhaps the politics here would be as horribly partisan as it is in the US. I can imagine a far worse divide tan the Times and the Guardian. But it’s the left who are more into self-policing their bias than the right – the Guardian is a left-wing paper, but it’s as left as the mainstream newspaper press gets in a country where the right has the Mail, the Express and the Telegraph.

Bias exists. Can we all just get over it and bring it out into the open? Then people can at least be prepared for the bigotry that’s about to hit them whenever they pick up the Sun.

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Filed under Journalism, Politics

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