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Spotting bias

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Wayne Fails

The Ellis County Press

The belief there is bias in media is probably as old as media itself and pretty much everybody I know admits to believing this to some degree. No doubt pretty much anyone can pick up a newspaper and spot bias as soon as they encounter it, or can they?

Many people can, for sure, but my experience is there are way too many people who are not aware of even the most basic tricks used every day by news outlets to turn our thinking toward a predetermined conclusion. Let’s look at some examples.

The Ad Hominem: President Obama recently responded to Palin’s critique of his push for nuclear disarmament by insinuating she doesn’t have the experience to criticize him.

Put aside for a moment the fact she is a private citizen and should not be singled out by the President for her views.

Take a look at the president’s response. Instead of defending and giving reasons for his stance on the nuclear issue, he attacks her credibility. That’s an ad hominem argument and is completely invalid.

He should answer the criticism on its own merit no matter who is doing the criticizing.

This is perhaps the oldest trick in the political book. Undermine the accuser’s credibility and maybe the people will not notice you failed to defend your position.

False Premise: It seems like every day we hear or read arguments made in the political realm that set us on a false course of reasoning from the very start.

Like the argument the new health care law will reduce the deficit.

Many in favor of the new health law begin with the premise that it is deficit-reducing and will actually help the economy.

Anyone who listens or reads to anything more than the primary media outlets is aware the Congressional Budget Office gave the verdict of a budget-reducing effect because they were forced to use the numbers they were given.

They used tax income estimates starting now to show a deficit reduction years down the road when benefits actually start kicking in.

More realistic projections show a minimum of a half trillion dollars in additional deficit due to the health law.

If you start with a false premise, you can make anything look like it’s good for you.

Then there are the more garden variety types of biases you find regularly in newspapers and network broadcasts.

Ever notice when the news about a Republican is bad, the opportunity is rarely missed to mention the person is a Republican. Democrats often get a pass.

When the news is good, it is almost universally mentioned the politician is a Democrat, whereas good news is rarely associated with the word "Republican."

Keep an eye out for this: When a republican is being criticized in an article, they’ll often throw Palin into the argument even though she has nothing to do with the issue.

It’s the game of association where one tries to taint one person by associating them with someone else.

As far as I’m concerned, Palin can be mentioned as many times as desired because I think even her critics secretly like her. What’s not to like?!

Notice just in general how the Tea Partiers are portrayed in major media outlets. Do you ever come away feeling like these freedom-loving folks are ever given a fair shake?

More than likely you are told about some fringe kook who showed up (probably an infiltrator) who spouted all kinds of nonsense and you are expected to believe this person represents the general mood of the Tea Party Movement.

These examples are just a small sampling of the countless everyday attempts by news and entertainment outlets to delegitimize conservative views.

Send your favorite examples of bias in media to the editor and maybe we’ll print them.

"Defending Truth and Freedom!"

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