a case for more "biased" reporting
It’s often said that the media’s biased reporting is at the heart of many of our societal divisions. We fantasize about a media establishment that objectively reports the facts as if that would solve our problems. If only we could return to the “good-old-days” of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite…
Perhaps there is truth to this. It’s certainly a noble task to approach reporting a story from an objective standpoint but what if this traditional approach is no longer enough?
It’s a common lesson of history that as the world changes, so too must the institutions, technologies, and methods of societal progression change. In this era of unprecedented promulgation of false information (“fake news”), where objective, provable facts can be disputed and dismissed, objective reporting is no longer enough.
A more subjective approach to reporting ought to be encouraged.
What if the solution was not so much to find a news network or a particular journalist we could trust completely? What if the solution was rather to tap into a greater degree of critical thinking, into our instincts as individuals and learn to trust those?
If we can be educated and educate ourselves on how to think rather than what to think, we can make informed deductions about ideas and situations we don’t have direct knowledge of.
This of course must be accompanied by ready admissions of our naivety as individuals. But this critical thinking (let’s call it “curious thinking”) transforms us into enactors of the democratic values that compose the theme of America’s heart.*
The media has a role to play in fostering curious thinking by focusing more on one question:
What does the world look like from the perspective of a particular individual?
Sitting in the cockpit of another person’s mind and seeing the world through their windshield… The learning potential is profound. As a thought experiment, momentarily setting aside our values completely and adopting another’s helps us better understand our own values and tunes us into the nuances of the world around us.
What does the world look like to the religious terrorist? What does it look like to a Joseph Stalin? How does the world make sense to that refugee pushed away from their home? How about to my neighbor?
This is the type of “bias” we need; something that takes us out of our own shoes and forces us to look back at ourselves.
We need a revolution of curiosity. (see upcoming blog post)
* It should be made clear, I’m not advocating for a delegitimization of expertise. As individual, private citizens, we are not privy to much of the knowledge, experience, and facts that the legitimate experts possess.