Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Today, quite unexpectedly I must say, the discussion rose again over the VCN Discussions list about the Middle East crisis.

It started on an almost inoffensive way, with a post criticizing the MEMRI, developed in a discussion about bias in information and devolved once again to pretty uncivil behaviour, but at least it made me think of something: is it really important if the news are biased?

Probably as a logical consequence of my standing expressed here and here, I came to the conclusion that it is not, as long as the bias is known and advertised and the reader/watcher/listener is given the chance of balancing the new against the obvious position of the reporter and make a judgment call on it. What I find unacceptable and dangerous is media that present themselves as neutral while being far from it and thus denying the audience the freedom of a fair judgement. It's not the herald well dressed in a cause' colors to be dangerous, is the grey backstabber.

Another interesting point was raised by another participant (who in the past said "I am just sickened by any suggestion that the IDF has tried to do anything less than bomb Lebanon back to the Stone Age") who quoted the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary on line to suggest that "being biased means showing an unreasonable like or dislike for a person (or thing, I suppose), while a bias is a tendency to support someone or something in an unfair way, rather than by recourse to sound judgment".

But the point is: who decides what is unreasonable? What is unfair or what is sound judgment? I feel that while the problem on the actual field are of various and of complex nature, the problem of the ones trying to discuss on the situation from apart is the unwillingness or the inability of agreeing on a common set of values and rules. Actually, the unwillingness of many of exposing what they believe into and in an order of importance. Without such common framework, every behaviour, action and fact can be totally reasonable for one, and barbarous for the other and discussions end up in a sterile confrontations of thesis and antithesis, with a synthesis being impossible.

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