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Are You Showing Your Blogger Bias?

Are You Showing Your Blogger Bias?

I was listening to what I thought was NPR Radio and hadn’t noticed my husband had switched to the local classical music station. As I turned it up for the top of the hour news, I heard the news reporter announce that the US economy had grown by 6% from the last time period. Then I recognized the BBC English accent and quickly switched to National Public Radio for the news. There I was greeted with the proclamation that the US economy had grown by an anemic 6 percent.

Huh?

BBC reported the information as a fact. Depending upon your perspective, six percent is huge, and still a positive number rather than a negative one. Sure, it might not meet expectations, which can be said, but either way, it’s a fact that requires no editorial commentary. It’s a number. Let the readers do with it what they will.

I always think of National Public Radio as unbiased, but I’m learning that all news within the United States has an amazing bias, some more, some less, some hidden.

That’s not the point. The NPR reporter could have just reported the increase as a number and given the reasons why. The application of the adjective anemic creates an emotional quality on the number, thus sinking into the consciousness of listeners that the US is on a downhill slide.

This made me think about the bias I inject into my own blog writing that doesn’t have to be there. Sure, there are times when my exuberance for something must shine through, but when I’m reporting just information that shouldn’t have emotional connotation attached to it, do I add it unconsciously?

Some subjects require bias, but some should remain free of your prejudices on the subject. The point is to notice the different and choose wisely.

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If you are writing facts, reporting upon an event or announcement, keep your bias out of the context. If you are reviewing the event or announcement or product, your bias and experience is what the post is all about. Our readers are smart enough to know the difference, and you should be smart enough to know the difference when you are writing.

Do you pay attention to the words you use when you make announcements? Do you keep your bias out of the language or is it important that you show your bias?

View Comments (2)
  • When I hear such a number, I always want some context.
    Is 6% a lot of growth? Is it very little?

    I wouldn’t mind NPR providing an interpretation, so long as they explain it, and so long as it’s objective, or if there is dispute, then several interpretations and the reasons behind them.

    I can think of many cases where NPR does have a clear bias.

    I believe in truth literally. Opinion is OK, so long as it labeled as such.
    We should be teaching critical thinking in our schools: how to tell opinion from fact.

  • @Michael:

    As I said in the article, the two radio reports gave a different perspective on 6%, one fairly neutral and the other very negative. Is 6 percent good? I have nothing to compare to in these short reports, but you are right that we have to teach critical thinking in our schools, but we also have to be critical about how we add our own bias in our blogs. If our blogs are biased, then the reader needs to know right up front, across every post. If they are not, and a journalistic approach is taken, then the blogger needs to relate the critical thinking to explain the difference between a fact and opinion. Good point.

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