Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 24th Oct 2011 22:37 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Considering the polarising topic of software patents and related IP litigation is coming up a lot lately, I felt the need to write a few words on this thing called 'bias'. This word is being thrown around a lot, but I get the feeling many people are unclear as to what, exactly, it means. Because contrary to popular opinion, there's nothing wrong with being being biased. In fact, there's no such thing as unbiased blogging (or even unbiased journalism).
Thread beginning with comment 494116
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Bias =/= Interest
by jack_perry on Mon 24th Oct 2011 23:16 UTC
jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

I think the more important question is whether one's bias affects how disinterestedly one approaches a topic.

For example, my vague impression is that the Wall Street Journal's editorial page is an unashamed bastion of a (relatively) libertarian society, both socially and economically. (I don't read it, so if that's wrong, humor me.) The more important question is whether they use that to cover up information that they discover, or even deliberately misrepresent it, for their own interests; or, whether they are so passionate in their bias that it blinds them to fairly important facts and subtle nuances that contradict the party line, so to speak.

The easy example is whether they run a story even if someone offers them money not to. A harder example is when they resist running a correction, or hide it, because it doesn't seem that important, or because they think it doesn't contradict the "higher truth". Like, say, certain movies or documentaries which are replete with errors, whose directors justify this by appealing to "higher truths". That's harder to justify when the people being lied about are still alive.

Somewhere in between, I think, is if every other story hammers on the same theme over & over, seemingly out of proportion to the story's importance. In that case, people get tired of it, complain, and/or look elsewhere.

So, it's correct to say that there's no such thing as biased reporting, but that's really a cop-out spouted by second-rate journalists, and I'm sure you don't intend to be one of those. The real question is, how disinterested is your reporting? There's nothing wrong with disinterested reporting so long as it's honest, and there are various scales of interest. But, if the people coming to this site are looking for broad-based reporting on different operating systems, and you hammer only on the same topic over and over, irritating the readership increasingly -- well, don't be surprised if they tire of it & go elsewhere. & if you make no attempt to convince, but merely act as if you're screaming "Fire" in an empty theater, or adopt the condescending tone -- again, don't be surprised when you get blowback. Even the innocent don't like being associated with guilt; one ought to show how they really want to agree with you.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Bias =/= Interest
by ozonehole on Tue 25th Oct 2011 11:36 in reply to "Bias =/= Interest"
ozonehole Member since:
2006-01-07

The Wall Street Journal used to be a good newspaper. The policy used to be that the editorial page was unabashedly biased, but that was OK because that is what an editorial page is for. The rest of the newspaper was expected to report the news, whether or not it agreed with what was being said on the editorial page (and often it didn't).

Then Rupert Murdoch took it over.

Now the entire newspaper is an editorial page. Basically the print edition of Fox News for those with an IQ over 40. For those with an IQ under 40, there's the New York Post, Murdoch's other New York newspaper.

Actually, the entire US newspaper industry has declined. I remember when you could spend an hour or more to read a good newspaper. Now two minutes is easily enough - after all, how long do you need to contemplate the football scores, weather, your horoscope, UFO sightings and classified ads?

Edited 2011-10-25 11:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2