July 21

No Such Thing as Unbiased Writing

One of my students in an online writing class enquired whether she should use only "unbiased sources" for her references.  I replied in the negative, saying that "there’s no such thing as unbiased writing."

Now, the terms objective writing and objective reporting came about when newspaper owners and editors realized what partisan rags their products had become in the 19th century.  Thus was born a movement toward objectivity in the national interest. 

Of course, anybody who reads newspapers frequently knows that the editor’s or publisher’s agendas dictate how events are covered. For instance, what’s the ratio of road-kill stories to helping-save-people stories coming out of Iraq from the liberal media and why the preponderance of body-count articles?  The answer is obvious, and it’s not just that tragedy sells (though that’s true too).

Similarly, even a scientist has an agenda, and I believe it was a man named [tag]Werner Heisenberg[/tag] who developed the principle that a scientist would invariably find what he’s looking for because his bias would influence the results; nature would oblige, so to speak. (I extrapolate a bit here.)

Anyway, if you can find a work with no bias in it besides the bills you get in the mail, please let me know.



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Posted July 21, 2007 by Gary McCarty in category "Grammar Sucks

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