Let’s talk about the pink elephant called bias

30/Aug/2014 · 2 MINS READ

Should we stop looking at media outlets through rose-tinted glasses and start educating ourselves on something we didn’t want to admit? We’re surrounded by bias…

Alex shares her thoughts…

An element of disdain exists in the general public for journalists who move to write for companies, often after losing their jobs from traditional outlets. These companies will likely pay them a decent wage for their skill. Stories are everywhere about how traditional news outlets are dying to be replaced with biased big businesses, but the bias is no new phenomena.

Until computers start writing articles and creating content, all people with heartbeats who create stories have influence based on their life experiences, their emotions and specific outcomes they are aiming for (albeit some objectives are to be as unbiased as possible). Of course a massive oil company will release a wildly different story than Green Peace will on the same course of events. Fox News’ slogan is ‘Fair & Balanced’, but it is anything but, as is the left-leaning Guardian.

In fact, it’s not only widely reported how biased the ‘fair and balanced’ Fox News is, in a recent discussion hosted by Bill Maher he went on to blame Fox for polarising the entire nation:

“I feel like the reason the people are polarised is Fox News. I think of all the things that changed in America, Fox News changed the most. It used to be the John Birch Society came to your door once a year. Now they’re in your TV in your living room everyday and we don’t even know how to talk to each other.”

But what resonated the most and is reflective of many nations is what Former Governor John Huntsman explained about the shifting demographics. His point being that the younger generation of Millennials in America tend to seek out information from a number of different sources before forming an opinion.

So, what if, rather than getting angry at Rupert Murdoch or John Stewart, instead we acknowledged that with information comes bias? What if we relished our ability as citizens to think critically? How many junk and click-bait stories would be left unread if we paused to think about the story we’re about to consume. What if we started to think like Millennials?

Unless you’re living a society that restricts your information, (that’s a blog post for anther day) you have access to information from a wealth of sources, and for each article you read, this one included, you must ingest with the knowledge that the story’s creator wants you to react a certain way.

In short, stop passively consuming what your friends want you to like on social media, brush up on all the content providers out there find most inline with your truth, and start influencing the world with the stories you think are worthy. If you don’t do it for yourself, someone else will.