Thursday, June 10, 2004

Bias in the Media

Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, the NPR ombudsman, recently discussed the shortcomings of the recent Pew study about bias in the media.

I think Dvorkin is correct that the politics of media management executives and the media ownership is far more important than the politics of the individual reporters.

But I contend that objectivity is a flawed idea. Everyone has his or her own perspective and that perspective is shaped by that person's life experiences. This perspective affects how a person views the world and what arguments are persuasive or resonate with that person.

My view on this is shaped by what I've read about standpoint epistemology. Samuel Trosow has written an essay on how standpoint epistemology is an alternative methodology for information science and Nancy Hartsock has also written on this topic.

I think this is a much more honest way of going about things and acknowledges our humanity rather than pretending we are objective. No one is truly objective. There may be an underlying reality, but all we can ever know of it are our perceptions and the perceptions of others as communicated to us.

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