In a recent article in the Washington Post, a columnist asserted that mainstream media is not “consciously” biased but is biased in the same way that institutions and agencies can become biased, by unconsciously favoring one group or another because of an affinity for their values and objectives. In a way, she is right: any institution or agency that prefers facts and information will have an affinity for people who respect knowledge.
There are people in this world who do not respect knowledge. They don’t know that what they do not respect is “knowledge” or “truth” or “facts and information”. They believe that what they think is all the wisdom there is to be had in the world, and the “cultural elites” are actually clueless. They are convinced that most “knowledge” is a charade that privileged people are trying to pull over them. They believe that their knowledge is just as complete and true as those peoples’ knowledge.
If you do extensive research on climate change and come to the conclusion that it is the result of human activity and that will have an enormous impact on the planet, are you “biased”? And does that make someone who has never read anything on global warming but likes Doug Ford and Donald Trump “unbiased”? Is your doctor “biased”? Is your plumber? Well, we know that all teachers are biased. They have information. They have knowledge. That makes them unreliable and dangerous.
I believe this writer is falling prey to the mistake of false equivalency. I believe that the more you discover about real facts and real information, the more likely you are to adopt positions that would traditionally be regarded as progressive and enlightened: in other words– “liberal”.
And yes, I’ll say it. A lot of conservatives are willfully ignorant. When Scott Pruitt decided to repeal the Obama standards for mileage for North American built cars, he relied on a 25-page document that was largely written for him by the auto-makers. Obama created the regulations in response to a 1200-page document that was produced by scientists and engineers as well as qualified government staff and researched all angles of carbon pollution, global warming, the impact of the regulations of the car manufacturers, and so on. They even consulted with the car-makers.
These are not two equivalent things here.
One of these things is not like the other. You can argue that a persuasive case can be made for doing nothing about climate change– you’d be wrong, but you could argue it– , but you can’t argue that Pruitt has just as many facts and just as much information as Obama has about the issue. He doesn’t care. His objective is to enrich his patrons. They will be able to afford to insulate themselves from the consequences of rolling back environmental regulations, whether it be contaminated drinking water, increased rates of asthma, or global warming. He does not care. He will never care.
And this pattern, of conservatives developing policy based on what their uninformed little minds feel is good for them and their friends, and liberals at least giving some respect to information and research, is consistent, from the Civil Rights era to Global Warming. Not all liberals and not all conservatives, of course, but let’s not be fooled by false equivalencies: they are not the same.
Every action by Trump is really nothing more than this: “you think you’re so smart”.
[whohit]Facts and Information are Biased[/whohit]