I often find myself thinking about bias in the media we consume. This ends up being a thorny topic because when you really delve into things you have to grapple with the fact that all media and information is constructed by humans. Even the most well intentioned human has their own biases whether they recognize it or not. You and I are not immune from this fact either. For example, I believe the Beatles are the best band in Pop/Rock music history. Because of that believe, it is really hard for me to accept information trying to teach me otherwise.
The ideal that many of us strive for is to consume information that is free from bias. If everything has a bias though, what do we do? Having come to the conclusion that everything has some level of bias makes me less concerned with the question of “does it have a bias?” and more “what does it do to keep its own bias in check?” There are many tactics you as the reader can use to assess this, but I promised one simple way.
Here is one tip to add to your information assessment quiver: Ask yourself if the author’s goal is to explain a topic or convince you of something that they believe.
If they do appear to be trying to convince you of something, this is where I take pause and start to read more skeptically. It doesn’t necessarily mean stop reading, but it does mean you should put on your thinking cap and start thinking critically about the information. It is then up to you the reader to decide to keep reading or begin to ask more questions about the author and what their bias might be here.
Just one tip of many!
PS – Here is a bonus quick tip. Ask what your own biases are. We often fall into the trap of being less critical of information that doesn’t conflict with our own held beliefs.
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