My friend Joe offers up a good op-ed in his local media. Especially apt is his analysis of bias, and why we should expect to find it in media, and why engaging it is good for us:
A disturbing cultural attitude has developed about reading. When in agreement with a writer, people typically say, “that’s the truth,” and when in disagreement, people say, “that’s biased.” Actually, all writing is biased. In school it is taught that a written piece should have a point of view, an intended audience, a central argument and factual evidence supporting the argument. It is the reader’s job to render judgment on the validity of the argument and the relevance and weight of the evidence. But if we stop reading after encountering a central argument that we don’t like, and never consider the evidence for it, we stop learning. It is imperative to read viewpoints different from our own and to give them careful consideration even if we still decide to disagree. It is intellectually dishonest to dismiss everyone we disagree with as biased and laud all those we agree with as sources of truth.
Many bloggers seem to prefer a smooth uniformity on their sites, not unlike the pep rally that precedes a major athletic event. “We’re number one!” we shout, reinforced by the band, the athletes, and the school administration. As a ninth-grader, my classmates and I were herded into the periphery of the gym floor (seniors and juniors filled the bleachers) and urged to get caught up in the spirit of it all. Honestly, I found it a waste of time. Later that night or the next day was the actual game, when the better team would be determined. We 1800 students were more or less enthusiastic for our team. And maybe that good will inspired the athletes. But eventually, it was all settled in the field of play.
My own sense is that the blogosphere is growing more hopeless as the years pass. Instead of a worldwide discussion on the evidence, the merits of argument, and the utilization of one’s intellect to make choices, many web sites promote uniformity. They gather disciples and relish like-mindedness, no matter how close-minded it may be. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been trying to avoid the more backwater liturgy blogs, but maybe it’s time to get out there again and get banned from a few sites. A closed mind may be a terrible thing, but poking fun at ignorance at least has some entertainment value, eh?