Here are my biases: I hate liars, charlatans and w*nkers.
Or why there is no such thing as "unbiased" journalism.
|Mic Wright||Oct 21, 2020|
I have a bias against wankers and no amount of inherent bias training can free me of it. This anti-wanker bigotry has lost me jobs as I refused to concede to the wankers’ treasured religious ritual of talking absolute shit, and it has led me further and further to the left as the Labour Party under Keir Starmer becomes not the workers’ party, but the wankers’ party. It goes without saying that Boris Johnson is King Wanker, first among onanists, the spunk-splattered liar of Downing Street, leading a cavalcade of the world’s worst wankers.
My bias against wankers is apparent in every single piece of opinion writing I do. In feature reporting, it’s less apparent as my voice takes second place to the words of the people I quote. However, features are never bias-free — bias creeps in through your choice of framing and who you decide to interview as well as who you choose to omit,
A familiar cry among absolute wankers is “typical biased journalism!” which is deployed both when they detect bias and when they simply encounter a story where the facts simply have an anti-wanker bias. The idea that journalism can ever be free of bias has been strengthened by both foolish journalists and stupid tech bros who keep promising platforms that will remove bias, even as they code that bias into algorithms, user onboarding, and the very structure of the user experience.
A good journalist understands their biases, tries to represent voices that offer different views, but crucially tells their readers clearly and honestly where their biases lie. What they do not do is loftily declare themselves free of bias. Journalists are not infallible or godlike, no matter what they tell themselves when they’ve had more cocaine than Scarface on cheat day.
Will there ever be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark? No. Will there ever be a journalist who can write entirely unbiased copy? Double no. And neither will some tech wunderkind create an app that can strip bias from copy because algorithms are encoded with their creator’s biases.
You may not like hearing all this, but what would I be if I didn’t admit it to you?