The Herald and News did it again. They just can't help themselves. In Saturday, August 13th's edition on page A5, editor Steve Miller quibbles,
“To the strategists in the left and right camps, everything that anyone else says is biased. As well, no one from between the wings can simply think what the camps do or say or propose is wrong, or vain , or bad policy... it can't be other than premeditated political speech.”
Mr. Miller is making the case that reality consists of three main points of view: a “left” or liberal view, a “right” or conservative view, and finally a “middle” or neutral point of view.
I've set the previous sentence in its own paragraph because it is important to understand. What Mr. Miller states above is a liberal point of view — it is NOT neutral or “in the middle”. He wants to position himself as the reasonable adult in the room full of crazy, biased politicians, but that's just not possible. Read his statement again, then I'll explain.
To counter Mr. Miller's leftist assertion, conservatives do not believe it is possible to have a neutral point of view or an un-biased view unless one of two conditions are met. The only way a pure neutral point of view is possible is if
- you know NOTHING about the subject (you are ignorant about the subject) or
- you don't care about the outcome (you are apathetic about the subject)
For example, if I asked, "Who do you like in this week's game between Saskatchewan and Toronto?” Only if you don't know anything about Canadian football or don't care who wins classifies you as truly neutral when answering the question. You wouldn't have any bias, because you don't know enough about the subject to give an intelligent opinion or it doesn't matter to you who wins or loses. However, what if I asked a long-time resident from Toronto this question, “Who will win this Thursday's game between Saskatchewan and Toronto?” What do you think their answer would be? Most likely (highly likely) “Toronto”, right? And we would call this bias.
|Here’s the question we should be asking...|
|The question is not about whether someone has a bias, but whether someone is right. Asked another way, is what someone is advocating true or not?|
BUT WE CAN NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE AND DISMISS AN OPINION JUST BECAUSE OF BIAS. Said another way, bias is not necessarily bad. Bias is only bad when it clouds our judgement, making us unable to fully understand the truth of a matter. Our Toronto resident may have very good reasons to expect Toronto to triumph. And if his reasons are valid (Saskatchewan is using their third string quarterback, their defensive is slow, they have not beaten Toronto in the last 10 meetings,...), then his bias is not a factor. Why?
Because he is using facts to build a reasonable case for his view. We can yell (like the Herald and News is doing) “Bias, bias, bias! His opinion doesn't count because he's from Toronto!” But it may very well be that we should be listening to the Toronto resident. What if he's not only a long-time Toronto resident, but he also works remotely for a Las Vegas Casino to set the betting lines for Canadian Football League games? For very good reasons, he has picked Toronto to win by at least 10 points. Yes, he still is a Toronto resident with bias. However, he doesn't let that bias cloud his judgment because he has a significant amount to lose if he's wrong. Therefore, he does a lot of research, maybe extra research, just to make sure he get's it right.
The idea that Steve Miller comes to the table being ignorant or not caring about outcomes is plain absurd. Mr. Miller is not ignorant, and on most issues does care about outcomes. Therefore, even Mr. Miller has a bias. The fact is all major players (including newspaper editors) come to a political issue with a bias. And like everyone else in the discussion, they use their power to advocate a certain result.
The question is not about whether someone has a bias or not, but whether someone's opinion is right. Asked another way, is what someone advocating true or not? That is the question we need to be asking and not pretending that newspaper editors are the only ones “gifted” or “trained” to shed their bias. That's just malarkey. We need to remember to ask the right questions if we want the right answers. If Mr. Miller wants to be unbiased, then he shouldn't be an editor — someone paid to give his opinion to persuade people to a particular point of view. To pretend otherwise is just foolishness.
We believe Mr. Miller has every right to spout his opinion. What we don't believe is for Mr. Miller to prevent others from entering the discussion because they are “biased”. Don't fall prey to this time honored trick of the left. There is no “neutral” opinion unless one is ignorant or apathetic.