Shaking off the bias

Posted on Posted in by Elyas Harris

By Elyas Harris.


Understanding what is happening in our world is of paramount importance if we are to be concerned with progressing towards improving the state of it. We advocate for progress towards a better world in the specific shape of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This entails a world of dignity, peace, and well being for all humankind and the planet. Like any issue or problem, one can only start to find answers and solutions, once one is able to properly understand and map the said issue or problem. If we think that we the people, have the power to change the world, then we ought to be well informed on what needs fixing. In this day and age we rely on diverse media to understand what is going on in the world day by day. This is simply how we like to receive our information. But there is a problem with that…

If we think that we the people, have the power to change the world, then we ought to be well informed on what needs fixing.

If you were to look on three different news outlets, you would usually see 3 different variations of the same story. Each news channel will tell the story differently and portray their own biases towards the facts. They are the modern spin doctors. The reason for this is that news outlets target audiences they would like to keep and profit from. Hence, news outlets have unfortunately become marketing machines that would most likely target our very worse biases before ever challenging them. This is a growing issue because it fosters ignorance in the world. The public feels like they are being informed on the news, but what we are getting is the result of calculated marketing that targets and reinforces our biases. The issue is that news outlets have only one bottom line, which is profit maximization. This is unlikely to change for the time being. For sure we should consider alternatives to this conundrum in the long run, but in the meantime we can escape this vicious cycle of biases which leaves us immersed in a haze of ‘informed ignorance’.

We can only get an unbiased view on the news if we are aware of our own biases. We all want to be right in our views, this is the very essence of a bias. This is when conviction and resoluteness can become our biggest enemies. This is why it is so hard to shake our biases. It may take a lifetime of actively striving to be objective… and we may never really lose all of our biases after all. We can however become more aware of them. This is how change can start within. Only through empathy one can separate oneself from our own biases and achieve the compassion and courage to listen to both sides to a story. Only with time we will be able to develop a sense of objectivity and shake those unfortunate biases we all have. So why not start by seeing both the conservative and the liberal news outlets and compare each of the stories, take away the parts that seem to conflict, and only take the facts for what they are. One inescapable fact we will find is that there is too much human-caused destruction and misery in the world, and playing the blame game will to take us anywhere. Think about this when you tune in to the news. Better to rely on your brain to interpret facts as they are than have a marketing team do it for you… right!?