Monday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Media bias … 1k people gather that’s news (if it’s a liberal cause) 500k gather … not news because it’s not a liberal cause. 
  2. Or maybe it’s not bias.
  3. Not Carbon … whoops.
  4. Police tech.
  5. Deceit and election tactics.
  6. What do you have to lose?
  7. Government motors … not doing so well strategically speaking.
  8. On safety netting.
  9. Some notes on the much abused anthropic principle.
  10. Newsflash, museums have been doing that for 40 years.
  11. An accusation of liberal racism.
  12. Apparently I’m ornery. Certainly there are day’s on which my girls would concur.
  13. Pretzels in Congressional testimony.

29 Responses to Monday Highlights

  1. Media bias … 1k people gather that’s news (if it’s a liberal cause) 500k gather … not news because it’s not a liberal cause.

    Google AP and March for Life and plenty of stories come up. At this point every attempt to document media bias has failed because its not properly defined. All definitions have faltered except my own. It is simply this: A media source is biased if the reader cannot rely upon it to get all relevant information.

    What I think is useful about this definition is that it doesn’t demand a source not take any stand. Its perfectly possible for a pro-life site to be unbiased as well as a pro-choice one.

    With that in mind, here’s an example of real bias:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/01/23/three-facts-about-roe/comment-page-1/

    Note my excellent comments. The bias is a rather obscure fact is highlighted (the rate that 14-17 yr olds born post-Roe commit homicides) while ignoring the much more relevant fact, namely the huge decline in homicides over the last generation.

    IMO then it’s almost impossible for mainstream media to be biased on abortion. Abortion is such an old debate it’s impossible for just about any reader to NOT be aware of both the pro-life and pro-choice sides of the argument when the topic is abortion generically.

  2. Some notes on the much abused anthropic principle.

    Book recommendation:

    Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt.

    Grabbed it from the libary after chasing it multiple times….seems to have caught a nerve among those who read such things.

    One aspect that irks me is dubious calculation of ‘odds’ as in ‘what are the odds of a universe being created with parameter X without which we’d be screwed?’. Well who knows? Unless you know there’s some ‘universe manufacturing machine’ and knows how it selects its its parameters you can’t calculate odds.

    Another that irks me is “if X deviated by only one part in a trillion we’d all be screwed’. Well a room that’s 65 degrees feels cold, 70 feels hot. Comfortable room temp is a range of only 5 degrees. Amazing considering inside our universe temps range from something like -459 degrees to millions. Isn’t it cool one place was fine tuned for me? Note quite, more like I was fine tuned for one place.

    *IF* the parameters of the universe were generated randomly within some range it would be impossible to say only the results of what we currently have could have produced intelligent life.

    Pretzels in Congressional testimony.

    If you embrace the idea that Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia was legal on the grounds that it was really attacking North Vietnamese forces hiding over the border, then you’d have a tough time explaining why we can’t bomb Al Qaeda forces outside of AFghanistan in places like Yeman and Pakistan.

  3. Boonton,

    All definitions have faltered except my own. It is simply this: A media source is biased if the reader cannot rely upon it to get all relevant information.

    That’s only because you’ve steadfastly refused to read Mr Groseclose’s book.

    First Things is certainly biased. They make no claim as a news service or not being biased.

    You sidestepped the NYTimes/Soros mud pit nicely, btw. Nice try, but the dog didn’t bark.

  4. Boonton,
    I picked the book up (kindle).

    Do you have a complaint or remark about B’s post?

    If you embrace the idea that Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia was legal on the grounds that it was really attacking North Vietnamese forces hiding over the border, then you’d have a tough time explaining why we can’t bomb Al Qaeda forces outside of AFghanistan in places like Yeman and Pakistan.

    Not topic I have much knowledge of … although if I recall the remarks regarding the Spaulding Grey movie on Cambodia … “if you embrace the idea of Nixon’s bombing …” then you’re not a modern liberal/progressive.

    So … do you think Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia was an act of war against that state or not? If you thnk that would be OK, … move to China doing it to the US and explain what circumstances their bombing of US activists is right.

  5. That’s only because you’ve steadfastly refused to read Mr Groseclose’s book.

    Could you summarize again what his definition of bias is?

    So … do you think Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia was an act of war against that state or not?

    Certainly an expansion of the war. I’m not really sure to be honest with you, I’m going to have to read up more on it.

    BTW, another book recommendation:

    Twilighte of the Elites by Chrisotpher Hayes. Borrowed from the library for my Kindle and shot thru 75% of it in two days or so. If you can get beyond a liberal POV, he makes an interesting case critical of meritocracy and argues that meritocracy has not only poisoned society but made the elites less and less likely to be competetant at their jobs. It would be interesting to read the book and react to the affirmative action debate based on it.

  6. First Things is certainly biased. They make no claim as a news service or not being biased.

    Note Tim’s comments at the end of the thread. He makes his argument against abortion by noting the 14-17 yr old demographic blip while at the same time admitting the larger story of declining crime rates. It’s possible to be on a side and still be unbiased.

    You sidestepped the NYTimes/Soros mud pit nicely, btw. Nice try, but the dog didn’t bark.

    You’ll have to refresh my memory on that. In terms of bias, though, if you spent the last 30 years or so reading only NYT articles about abortion could you intelligently answer the question of why pro-lifers oppose abortion? Why pro-choicers don’t? If so the source is unbiased.

    The better word for what you are describing may be ‘non-partisan’ which is an attempt to craft a story in such a way that partisans on both side of an issue will not object to it. This may end up also being non-biased but isn’t necessarily so. Most American journalism holds that model as an ideal but it’s not required for unbiasedness IMO.

  7. Boonton,
    Mr Groseclose attempts to use mathematical analysis to identify bias. He looks locates a “center” in Congress by voting patterns. He locates bias correlating phrases and arguments used by those in Congress (as located in how my they are conservative/liberal with their voting patterns) with those quoted and used by the press. An unbiased source should quote both sides evenly.

  8. Boonton,

    It’s possible to be on a side and still be unbiased.

    But it is not possible to argue one side and (have your discussion) be unbiased.

  9. It sounds like this is more applicable to my definition of ‘nonpartisan’. He is defining some point as a ‘center’ and evaluating the media by how far they deviate from that center. But is that really a very valid way to do things? It sounds like he is defining the average congressperson as an ‘ideal center’ to which the media should aspire to follow.

    First this assumes that Congress itself is unbiased in average. But Congress has a lot of influences on it and doesn’t cleanly represent the average American. There’s disproportionate representation in the Senate. The House is slow to adjust to population changes. There’s also disproportionate influences inside of Congress. For example, the Senators from Alaska may not care much about corn subsidies but if the Senator who sits on the committee that decides Artic drilling is from a state with lots of corn growers he may vote for subsidies. Corn subsidies, then, might appear to be a more ‘center’ position than they really are among Americans leading one to assert media critical of them are ‘biased’.

    Second, it seems to assume Congress leads the media which is odd…shouldn’t it be the other way around. For example, the American people soured on the Iraq war much fater than Congress did. Congressmen had gone on record supporting it making it harder for them to flip their positon. If the center is defined here as moving towards skepticism of the war Americans were there before their representatives. Does the media make money selling papers to 500+ Congresspersons or 300 million Americans?

    Third, the ‘moving center’ method seems to suffer from relativism. If ‘unbiased reporting’ means simply mirroring the ‘average opinion’ then what’s the point of reporting? Why would one need it? If the average opinion was wrong, wouldn’t you want reporting that honestly challenged it?

    But it is not possible to argue one side and (have your discussion) be unbiased.

    See this gets at the problem with your definition and others like it. IMO bias is a type of dishonesty. Saying its ok to be biased if you’re an editorial or ‘taking a side’ is basically being pitched here as saying its ok to be dishonest. I don’t think it is. Bias is immoral to some degree in my book and there’s no reason it should be excused and encouraged just because someone is ‘taking a side’. You’re view devolves into “It’s ok to lie if you’re First Things, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh or National REview but not the NYT or CNN”. In my opinion it’s more helpful to say you shouldn’t lie. You can argue for a position but you should do it in a non-biased matter.

    That requires a definition of bias that does not mean simply ‘take no side’ or ‘mirror the position of some hypothetical average’. Since bias is a species of dishonesty you’d measure it the way you would measure dishonesty, against an objective standard. Namely something is dishonest if it isn’t true, which is a simple and very commonsense way of viewing it.

  10. Boonton,

    First this assumes that Congress itself is unbiased in average.

    Not at all. He is using the electoral process and Congress to define the center. And you are right this is different than the media and the population. However, defining the political center by Congress does make sense.

    If ‘unbiased reporting’ means simply mirroring the ‘average opinion’ then what’s the point of reporting?

    No. Unbiased reporting means equally (in quantity and quality) representing the viewpoints of right and left.

    You’re view devolves into “It’s ok to lie if you’re First Things, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh or National REview but not the NYT or CNN”. In my opinion it’s more helpful to say you shouldn’t lie.

    OK to lie? Where did that come from . It’s never OK to lie. Look, nobody’s talking about lying. We’re talking about bias. First Things and Rush for that matter, unlike Fox, NYT or CNN make a pretense at being American News outlets, which in this country have claimed that the news is presented without bias. First Things, my blog, and Rush honestly report their bias. First Things is a Catholic journal. It doesn’t pretend otherwise. Likewise my blog has the tag line “right of center” … I’m not pretending I’m unbiased. If you come here you shouldn’t be expecting unbiased reporting things. I’m going to call things as I see it, but I’m telling you up front I have a personal bias. NYT, CNN, &c all pretend that they are giving all sides equal weight in debates, just reporting “facts” and letting you interpret them. But they are not.

    Since bias is a species of dishonesty you’d measure it the way you would measure dishonesty, against an objective standard. Namely something is dishonest if it isn’t true, which is a simple and very commonsense way of viewing it.

    That’s a broken syllogism. All dishonesty doesn’t mean a thing isn’t true. To exaggerate a bit, CNN could report both sides of an issue with equal time, they could list and explain the Dem talking points plainly and then do the GOP ones with a laugh track and mock it as much as possible. No lying at all. It is however, biased. Or (as they do) you could interview Democratic with softball questions and grill the GOP side. No lying. Bias. Or they could introduce “experts” and speakers on to their programs and present Left based experts as “experts” and right based experts as “Conservative experts”, putting the qualifier on one side only … because why? The other qualifier is assumed? If it is assumed, this evidences bias.

  11. No. Unbiased reporting means equally (in quantity and quality) representing the viewpoints of right and left.

    The game theory implications are clear. If Democrats propose a 5% tax increase on the rich and Republicans propose a 5% cut, then ‘unbiased’ would veer towards no change. But what if Republicans, realizing this, demand a cut of 15% thereby making the average a cut of 5%? But yet the ‘true’ unbiased position is to around 0%.

    OK to lie? Where did that come from . It’s never OK to lie. Look, nobody’s talking about lying. We’re talking about bias.

    Biased defined as exclusion of relevant facts or information is a type of lying. Say 80% of Americans think the Iraq war is going very well. But a reporter in Iraq is finding lots of evidence trouble is brewing, the population is dividing into sects, ex-military people are looting their old commands of arms and disappearing, et. It would be a lie if he made his reports conform to the so-called ‘unbiased’ 80% ok view. He should report what he sees which is that there’s evidence that things are about to go really bad.

    I’m going to call things as I see it, but I’m telling you up front I have a personal bias. NYT, CNN…

    ‘Calling it as you see it’ is unbiased. NYT, CNN likewise has never pretended to follow your idea of chasing ‘average opinion’ whether measured by polls or elections that happened years ago. You don’t give equal weight to both sides, all sides should get the weight they can objectively carry.

  12. Boonton,

    The game theory implications are clear. If Democrats propose a 5% tax increase on the rich and Republicans propose a 5% cut, then ‘unbiased’ would veer towards no change.

    No. Unbiased reporting would mean that equal space would be given to the Democrat proposal (and their reasons) for a 5% increase and to a GOP 5% decrease proposal. This is not a unbiased = median policy, this is unbiased reporting, i.e., giving equal space to the two majority parties.

    It would be a lie if he made his reports conform to the so-called ‘unbiased’ 80% ok view. He should report what he sees which is that there’s evidence that things are about to go really bad.

    How about a weather reporter who reports makes special notice every time the temperature is unseasonably or record highs but never goes out of his way to mention when the temps are record or unseasonably low? That is bias.

    ‘Calling it as you see it’ is unbiased

    Not if you are biased. CNN, in the real world not that alternate universe you talk about, has never touted itself as liberal point of view network. It is. And no, when reporting political debate you should if unbiased equally report equally fairly both sides of the argument.

    Biased defined as exclusion of relevant facts or information is a type of lying.

    What about the laugh track on/off bias? Is that biased. After all, everything is reported. Everything gets equal time.

  13. This is not a unbiased = median policy, this is unbiased reporting, i.e., giving equal space to the two majority parties.

    Equal space? I thought you said he defined the ‘center’ by voting…so the ‘center’ would be defined by the voting in congress. If congress was 60% Republican, 40% Democratic then unbiased reporting would have to be weighted 60-40 instead of 50-50.

    How about a weather reporter who reports makes special notice every time the temperature is unseasonably or record highs but never goes out of his way to mention when the temps are record or unseasonably low? That is bias.

    If the report is about notable weather, then leaving out record lows would seem to be leaving out relevant information wouldn’t it? My definition does the job nicely.

    What about the laugh track on/off bias? Is that biased. After all, everything is reported. Everything gets equal time

    Give it a try.

  14. Boonton,

    Equal space? I thought you said he defined the ‘center’ by voting…so the ‘center’ would be defined by the voting in congress. If congress was 60% Republican, 40% Democratic then unbiased reporting would have to be weighted 60-40 instead of 50-50.

    Apparently you are unaware that the Congress has two caucuses.

    If the report is about notable weather, then leaving out record lows would seem to be leaving out relevant information wouldn’t it? My definition does the job nicely

    And if he just weights the emphasis differently, is that unbiased too?

    Give it a try.

    What? Give what a try? Oh, you mean on my blog? I could write a post about a topic, mock the one sides opinions and express the other seriously .. and see if you find that unbiased?

  15. And if he just weights the emphasis differently, is that unbiased too?

    This is where discussions about bias usually go off the rails. One way is the imaginary newspaper where critics speculate about what a paper *would* right if a Republican or Democrate did something a Republican or Democrate didn’t do. The other is the endless quest to take offense where media critics start counting blinks or arched eyebrows to prove the talking head is really against them.

    And if he just weights the emphasis differently, is that unbiased too?

    If he tells you the record high temps and the record low temps you can’t claim his report is biased. Even if he makes a big frowny face when talking about the lows.

    What? Give what a try? Oh, you mean on my blog? I could write a post about a topic, mock the one sides opinions and express the other seriously

    Will you be putting a little star or something on the posts where you express a side seriously?

  16. Boonton,

    Will you be putting a little star or something on the posts where you express a side seriously?

    What? You can’t detect irony? Apparently you don’t notice mockery either.

    If he tells you the record high temps and the record low temps you can’t claim his report is biased.

    Only by your rhetorical stance that bias is non-existent if only all the facts are presented. Apparently if you trumpet one side in large page 1 leading articles and bury they opposition on page 12 … that’s not biased, ’cause everything was there. If you mock one sides point of view and express the other sides as correct that isn’t biased, ’cause both sides are “presented.” Look. This is your definition. You’re defending it. Stop. It’s a bad definition. It has this really big flaw. I’ve pointed it out. Now you need to modify your definition of bias, ’cause just “presenting” both sides isn’t enough to be unbiased. You need to fairly represent both sides of an argument to be unbiased.

  17. Boonton,
    I think a good way to tell if an author is being unbiased is if you cannot tell which side of the issue he is personally on. Kinda a bias Turing test (a test at which the mainstream media is failing).

  18. Only by your rhetorical stance that bias is non-existent if only all the facts are presented. Apparently if you trumpet one side in large page 1 leading articles and bury they opposition on page 12

    Burying might qualify as bias on the grounds that you’re trying to hide the truth. For example, in the First Things post, the article it linked too claimed since Roe crime went up and so did conceptions. To support its crime going up assertion, it presented info that a very specific demographic (14-17 yr olds), saw an increase in committing homicide (in other words, if you were born in 1973, 14-17 years later you were more likely to kill someone). OK it then dismissed the overall crime rate as being explained by factors such as the decline of the crack epidemic, better policing etc. It also claimed conceptions rose 30%. The paper it cited for that, though, detailed out all the reasons why the decline in crime could not simply be explained by things like crack going down, better policing etc. Clearly the author read the paper but choose to make bogus attempts to refute the overall drop in crime without acknowledging or addressing the paper’s refutation of those alternative theories.

    But again my test is simple. Can a typical reader understand this stuff and recite it back to you? Can someone who reads only the NYT intelligently articulate Mitt Romney’s case against Obama? Can they tell you why pro-lifers think Roe was a bad decision? On the other hand, can a hypothetical person who only uses Fox News be able to intelligently discuss the reasoning and arguments liberals make? If so then neither is biased.

    I think a good way to tell if an author is being unbiased is if you cannot tell which side of the issue he is personally on

    Consider you’re playing poker with someone. Whenever he has a good hand he smiles, frowns when he has a bad hand. Compare that to someone who never alters his expression. You’d call the first biased and the second unbiased, I’d say the opposite. Sitting still when you have a great or poor hand is inaccurate, smiling or frowning is highly accurate. Since poker is a game of bluffing being deceptive is part of the fun. That’s fine but communicating information, whether it’s simple news or a partisan making an argument, should not be deceptive.

  19. Another problem with your definition, its two dimensional, insisting on seeing the world as split only between one set of ‘liberal’ stances and another of ‘conservative’ ones. Many issues are not so clean. Take issues like legalizing pot, digital privacy, limiting or expanding the power of copyrights. Many of these issues are often not even addressed by congress or when they are congress is almost monolithic on it and even if its not it doesn’t seem like the different sides line up clearly with one party or another.

  20. Boonton,
    No. It’s not a problem with my definition. It’s a problem with your premise. You asked me to give a quick one or two sentence summary of Mr Groseclose’s definition of bias, which he uses one or two chapter in his book to develop and explain. Then you start quibbling with the details. I gave enough for you to get the gist. You can probably (if you decided to put on your other hat and try to view the definition sympathetically first) then you’d come up with a common-sense answer to your objection. But you won’t (read it or try to do anything but throw sand in its gears).

    Yes, these issues may not split along party lines. So what? They are issues. If the press is non-biased it would fairly report the discussion. If not, they will weight their coverage to (or omit) one side. That’s bias.

  21. I think your definition and his both belong to a class that essentially takes some moving ‘average’ and defines that as a centerpoint by which to measure bias. Ultimately this opens up the question of who makes the center?

    Your reference assumes Congress does so if the media seems more left than congress then that’s a bias on the media’s part. But wouldn’t it be more sensible to say Congress is the one biased? Congresspersons face a election anywhere from 2-6 years at the start of their terms. A newspaper or TV oulet can loose readers or viewers in less than a week and suffer a financial hit for it in less than a month. More to the point how do elections get decided? By voters and wouldn’t their use of the media be part of the discussion leading up to an election? If people want a change the media is going to reflect that *before* the election takes place, not after.

    You briefly veer into a different metric, let me call it the affirmative action system. You said ‘both sides’ should be equally represented. If an economist supporting Obama’s stimulus speaks for a minute, they should find an economist who opposes it to speak for a minute too. This method ignores the center. For example, in 1964 you might have found this point counterpoint method useful for debating segregation but not today. On Martin Luther King day in 2012 we don’t expect CNN to find some Jim Crow defender to give ‘equal balance’. Yet in 1959 you would have said that was necessary. Between then and now at what point does the affirmative action quota get recalculated?

  22. Boonton,

    I think your definition and his both belong to a class that essentially takes some moving ‘average’ and defines that as a centerpoint by which to measure bias. Ultimately this opens up the question of who makes the center?

    I don’t think this is relevant. That an average moves doesn’t mean an average now doesn’t exist. And average isn’t exactly as relevant as you think it might. See below.

    You said ‘both sides’ should be equally represented. If an economist supporting Obama’s stimulus speaks for a minute, they should find an economist who opposes it to speak for a minute too. This method ignores the center. For example, in 1964 you might have found this point counterpoint method useful for debating segregation but not today.

    In 1964 a unbiased report would fairly and evenly represent the debate which was occuring then, in 2013 it would fairly and evenly represent the debate today. That the same paper might not give report of the discussion is not exactly germane to the question of bias in reporting. The reporter isn’t calculating policy, it’s representing a discussion fairly and evenly. This the mainstream press does not do, yet pretends to be unbiased. They are not.

    There is also editorial bias, the selection of what news items are significant. A conservative and a liberal (biased) editor is going to pick different events as being more or less significant. An unbiased editor will evenly pick across those which the two slanted editors would pick. This doesn’t happen (much) in our press, as the editors are biased and mostly pick stories from their viewpoint, consciously or not.

  23. Boonton,

    You briefly veer into a different metric, let me call it the affirmative action system.

    Not different. The first is Groseclose’ method for determining the sides. The second is that their discussion points and arguments should be evenly represented if you are unbiased.

  24. The first is Groseclose’ method for determining the sides. The second is that their discussion points and arguments should be evenly represented if you are unbiased.

    They would seem to be mutually exclusive except for the highly special case where Congress is exactly evenly split 50-50 on an issue.

    More importantly, your second method does not exclude the possibility that someone can take a side on an issue (say First Thoughts and abortion) but be unbiased.

  25. Boonton,

    More importantly, your second method does not exclude the possibility that someone can take a side on an issue (say First Thoughts and abortion) but be unbiased.

    First Thoughts is not unbiased. They have a bias and they make it very clear. For example, do you really think they pretend to present an unbiased viewpoint on abortion? They do not present an unbiased view, but they don’t pretend to offer one. The news organizations like NBC, CNN, &c would be better served admitting their bias(es) and making one small step towards honesty.

    And it I never said it is impossible for a First Things moderator to present an unbiased debate on, say abortion, but … what that would look like would be an even fair representation of both sides of the issue. Mocking one side and presenting the other (which to your view is unbiased because you can glean both sides from the presentation) is not unbiased and not what an unbiased viewpoint would appear.

    They would seem to be mutually exclusive except for the highly special case where Congress is exactly evenly split 50-50 on an issue.

    I don’t follow. An unbiased representation of an argument presents both sides fairly. What does a 50/50 split in Congress have to do with that?

  26. Boonton,
    Let me put it this way. You are in a class which is offered the project of presenting in a debate forum an unbiased overview of the issue. 90% of the class supports one side of the issue. You are the instructor. Does the fact that 90% of the class supports one side mean that an unbiased presentation gives a 1-9 split of time allocated to the two sides talking points? Or is the split of preferences that the class internally holds have no bearing on the question of what an unbiased might look like?

  27. They have a bias and they make it very clear. For example, do you really think they pretend to present an unbiased viewpoint on abortion?

    Again you said unbiased may mean presenting both sides of an issue fairly. If that’s the case why couldn’t someone, in making an argument for one side or another, fairly present both sides of the argument? Wouldn’t you want to be able to offer praise to such a presentation in contrast to one that made an argument by excluding or distorting the other side of the argument?

    I don’t follow. An unbiased representation of an argument presents both sides fairly. What does a 50/50 split in Congress have to do with that?

    You said Groseclose’s method was to define a center by Congressional voting records. He then finds how often key phrases used in a story mirror those from congressmen. If they line up with the left or right wing he labels the piece biased, if they line up with the center presumably unbiased. That would seem to exclude just ‘telling both sides’ unless both sides happen to be rather evenly represented in the congressional vote.

  28. Boonton,

    You said Groseclose’s method was to define a center by Congressional voting records. He then finds how often key phrases used in a story mirror those from congressmen. If they line up with the left or right wing he labels the piece biased, if they line up with the center presumably unbiased. That would seem to exclude just ‘telling both sides’ unless both sides happen to be rather evenly represented in the congressional vote.

    That’s not quite right. He locates center by voting patterns in Congress. Then he scores each Congress person in Congress by how they vote. On a particular issue he locates key phrases or messages put out by each side of the argument. Finally then he analyses the press by their presentation (or failure to present) those phrases/messages of the particular argument. If a paper on argument after argument presents one side and not another he finds them to be biased.

    “That would seem to exclude just ‘telling both sides’ unless both sides happen to be rather evenly represented in the congressional vote” …. I don’t follow how you figure that. There is an discussion. If you present both sides (even if Congress is split 60/40 you can identify who is arguing which side …. you could do that if an argument as 99 to 1 by persons).

    If that’s the case why couldn’t someone, in making an argument for one side or another, fairly present both sides of the argument?

    I just said they could. The mainstream presss, however, does not do this.

  29. Boonton,

    If that’s the case why couldn’t someone, in making an argument for one side or another, fairly present both sides of the argument? Wouldn’t you want to be able to offer praise to such a presentation in contrast to one that made an argument by excluding or distorting the other side of the argument?

    It occurs to me that there are two things going on here. One is bias and one is comprehensive or complete. A person can be biased and offer comprehensive or complete coverage of an issue by including good arguments on both side of an issue but making it very clear that the speaker finds one sides arguments silly, inadequate or flawed. That is biased but complete. This is what you offer that might be done by, say, a good left/right wing essay author. A unbiased report however will not give have a “tell” it will not be clear, if the bias of the author is hidden, which side of the argument the author personally trends. Our news organizations claim they are unbiased. They are not. You know, and I know, to which side they trend. Their biases are clear. Their tells are obvious. They are biased. They are also not comprehensive or complete in that they often omit discussions and arguments made by the side on which they disfavor.

    All of this skips the whole editorial selection biases in the media, which Mr Groseclose also mentions and I touched on.

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