Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Advocating the Devil's Advocate

When other little boys played with remote-controled cars and Nintendo, I sat in my room and wrote love letters that would never get delivered. My sense of romanticism was full of the juice even before I could produce it. I used to idolize the perfect relationship - sans arguments. Now, I require them.

The only way to really get to know someone is by finding that something that they are really passionate about. Tell a pro-choice woman that abortion is murder and you'll see her tear at you with teeth, nails, wit, and statistics ripping you a new asshole before you know what's happening. Tell an anti-death penalty mother that her murder-convicted son should be shown the same treatment that he showed his victim and she'll make you question how much you truly love your own child. That's what I'm talking about. These days, passion is no longer found in the bedroom; it's found in the voting booths.

The disappointing thing is that all of this passion is kept locked away until someone else personally opens it. Protesters these days are viewed as unemployed radicals with nothing better to do than stir up trouble. But every time you defend your personal position, your standing in a one-man/woman picket-line. Which brings me to the biased media.

Yes, it is biased. As Jim Cavan exlains in his column, Politics, Public Relations, and the Future of Journalism, a reporter's and a newspaper's bias can be seen by anyone looking for it. The problem is that the public is looking for these biases as if they were the hidden bunny on each cover of Playboy magazine. It's become a hobby for people that don't have hobbies.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, FoxNews...they are all biased. It's an advertising thing. It's an internet-related niche. It's the evolution of American media. Throw in partisan blogs such as Instapundit and Daily Kos and you have a whole lot of subjective, strategic fact-checking. They are all forgetting the most important factor of all: the intelligence of the American public.

The American public is comprised of inteligent human beings with their own biases looking on the internet and channel-surfing for the stories that they want to read. The truth is, each media is just giving their audiences what they want where they want it. They're just looking to satisfy their buyers. These media do not come out and blatantly support one candidate or another. Yes, they imply their preferences, but that's the beauty of a democracy - the people are not being required to read/watch these reports.

As a journalist, the first rule I ever learned was objectivity; the second was seeking the right angle. There are an almost infinite number of angles a reporter can take with a single, given fact. Maybe that angle is biased, but there will always be unexpected holes. The role of the reporter shouldn't be to report the story objectively, it should be to prove his personal bias false.

Recently, I read Men in Black; a constructionist's view of how the Constitution and the Bill of Rights should be applied in Supreme Court cases and how current justices are pushing through legislation through their liberal agendas. I don't necessarily agree with either approach, but reading this obviouslly biased book forced me to question my personal beliefs.


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'Thought & Humor'
Cyber-Humor & Cyber-Thought
Harvard Humor Club

5:44 PM  

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