Timothy McNulty wrote an interesting article today about there being no middle ground when it comes to facts in the Middle East. He described how they look for "loaded language," like "retaliation" or "offensive" or "onslaught." He says the difference between calling the fighting an "invasion" or an "incursion" is the duration.
However, most interestingly, he reported on a science report from the Washington Post. The results were just as I might have expected:
"Researchers took television news clips from the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and showed them to 144 people, split between pro-Arab and pro-Israel supporters.
The pro-Arab viewers heard 42 references they thought were favorable to Israel and 26 that were unfavorable. The pro-Israel viewers, looking at the same video, noted only 16 references favorable to Israel and 57 that they saw as negative."
Apparently this is called the "hostile media effect," meaning that partisans perceive media reports as biased against their side.
The Beeb claims to be very even-handed (and I believe it tries quite hard so to be). However, I have perceived precisely the effect you mention when discussing BBC reports with others. Depending on their persuasion, the item under discussion will be said to be "typically BBC left-wing" or "typically BBC right-wing".
As I have said elesewhere on this board, it's all about beliefs. The fewer the facts to support them, the stronger seem to be beliefs. And typically, believers, once they have adopted a belief, then seek facts to support it.
To keep clear of religion for the moment - just consider sports fans. A fan who chooses to support a particular football/baseball/basketball/whatever team will have made that decison based on little more than a preference - maybe his or her parents supported them, maybe he or she used to live in their town - but that support and the belief in the importance of the team can grow, and facts to support that belief in its superiority will be selectively garnered from the various media.
Grown men and women will fight, sometimes to the death, in support of their chosen team whereas, in truth, the superiority of one team over another is a matter of almost total inconsequence.
The Urban Legends Reference Pages at Snopes.com specialise in debunking urban legends. When many people find that a cherished belief has been disproved (particularly if related to politics or religion) they will fire off an irate email accusing Snopes of being commie-loving pinko liberals or, alternatively, crypto-fascist conservatives. Snopes has collected many of these emails and put them in a message board thread called Kiss my bias. It is really amusing to see the way that some (to my eyes) uncontroversial articles manage to attaract the wrath of both sides, each accusing Snopes of being in the pay of the Democrats/Republicans/Catholics/Jews/Muslims/Protestants/whatever.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
I wrote to the administrator of a site once who had the message across the top of the home page, "Support America in it's war against terror". This was during the early part of the US invasion of Iraq but I wrote merely to comment on his misspelling.
But the vitriolic reply accused me of being a "tree-hugging liberal who should go to Iraq and get nuked along with the rest of the anti-Americans scumbags".
I assumed that the man was a supporter of the US Government's stance.
The right wing accuses the media of left-wing bias. Reason: While the right wing is devoted exclusively to means of gaining profit and exploiting the helpless and disadvantaged, the typical reporter enjoys a much more comprehensive view of the world. Hence it is more realistic. In other words, the liberal point of view is much closer to the truthThis message has been edited. Last edited by: dalehileman,
This seems to be a very balanced view. By the way, if you want to take a look at Karl Marx's tomb while you're over here for the Wordcraft Convention, it's only a short ride on the tube to Highgate Cemetary.
I always think about this when I hear people say, "I only consider the facts." The "facts," and certainly statistics, must be very carefully analyzed. Some people either don't take the time, are not bright enough, or already have their conclusion in mind when "analyzing the facts." After all, clever people can mold "the facts" into what they wish to believe. I have seen that done many times, including yesterday in a meeting.
I don't think anybody could argue with the above.
(Can I come and see Karl Marx too?)
Surely. And, by the way, what days will you be attending the Wordcraft Convention? And how many rooms will you be needing?
Spoken by a dyed-in-the-wool liberal.
I imagine a few people could argue with that, though not I.
I believe it has been shown time and time again that regardless of your political views, you fell the media has a bias against you.
Take sports. People on the East Coast(except New York) think there is a New York Bias. People in New York think there is a West Coast Bias. People in California think there is an East Coast bias. I just sit here and wonder if they forgot around the part of the country not on the ocean, which apparently they have.
However, in sports, unlike politics, this bias has "some" basis in reality, as evidenced by the fact that there are tons of people in New York and tons of people in California. This doesn't address other biases like those for Duke(basketball) and Notre Dame(football).
Ok, to tell the truth, this post could have been about politics. I could have talked about liberal media and conservative media, but that would take this topic to another level, and I don't think we as a forum should get into those nasty political debates, so I chose sports.
Sean: Only those having an extreme right-wing mindset would consider my observation as political, while the followups can in no way be described as nasty
Speaking of bias, however, analogous to your sports comment I have often wondered why the Eastern Esatblishment won't acknowledge the existence of the West Coast: "Tune in 9 Eastern, 8 Central"This message has been edited. Last edited by: dalehileman,