First, let me start out by saying that this article contains no bias. Second, I will venture to say that those who read it may find it biased in one direction or another. Third, I would ask you to notice that while there was no intentional bias, that your perception of bias is something that may alert you to your “perceptual filter.” It is that filter that hears things in a certain way, based on your ideas and experiences that is different than how is is actually said or meant. And it drives your life.
Informal experiments have been used to find out whether an idea is considered a positive one or not by telling an experimental group an idea and then attributing it to either a popular media figure or an unpopular one. The ideas tended not to be judged on their merit but on the person presenting the idea. Since the process was a fictional one, evidence of the perceptual filter came to light fairly easily, and without a lot of investment on the part of the participants.
But the current issues aren’t light or fictional. We are engaged in a struggle between two very different factions in our country that have been fighting, as some would say, like cats and dogs. There is even a cat, Limberbutt McCubbins, running for president. So far, Lucy Lou, his canine opponent, is winning paws down, due to her past record as mayor of Rabbit Hash, KY. These two are such a topic of conversation that Kellie Gormley contacted me from the Washington Posts for a comment! So much for comic relief.
Truth is, that when you hear, report, summarize, read about or discuss the news, you have a point of view. It may possibly be less biased if you are an independent but think of point of view as a continuum, that ranges from left to right, and think about where you would place yourself on that continuum. Would you be near the middle, close enough to support one party while still being centric enough to be able to hear the other? Or are you further along on the continuum, with both feet firmly planted away from center and more to an extreme on the continuum? While it sometimes takes extremes to create change in a culture, it is also true that when you are standing too far away from anything, you have a difficult time seeing it.
In this excerpt from my latest book, Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life, you can see how this works:
“The proliferation of individual programs that address politics, offers a full gamut of points of view. Who am I to say that they express views rather than facts without stories or bias? Just a conscious viewer who many years ago noted a journalist praising political party A that was celebrating the approval of a bill, while suggesting that political party B’s comments on the events were creating “headaches for Washington.” I think I heard opinions, biases and a suggestion that freedom of speech caused a “headache.” Maybe it does, but it seems there is some opinion.
“Why is the truth so widely interpreted? Because of the stories we attach to what happens. The story forms based on your experience and perception of a country’s political viewpoint and events in history, as well as the interpretation of history that you have been given. The story, not the event, becomes what really happened.”
7 CRITICAL QUESTIONS TO CREATE AWARENESS OF POLITICAL BIAS
- What is one political point of view that I believe to be true?
- What would be true if I were wrong?
- What would be true if I were right?
- Who would be affected if I were wrong?
- What would happen if I took a different view?
- What would happen if I took no particular viewpoint at all and just decided to experience the issue at each and every moment?
- How did you feel doing this exercise?
- List the emotions you felt doing the quiz.
- Were you angry, confused, interested, able to see another point of view or annoyed, critical and unable to see another point of view, etc.?
- However you approached it and whatever you experienced, ask yourself if this is your usual approach to life. Do unexpected challenges make you curious? Angry? Adventurous? Miffed? It may be a pattern that can help you to see your response to having your bias challenged. It may even be how one of the ways that you respond to life events.
And then try one of Get Reel’s 10 C’s for Conscious Living:
C -CONSCIOUSLY watch the news and other programs. Are there any underlying political messages in the show? Or are they doing a great job of telling it like it is. If they are doing a good job, tell them so. E-mail or write and let them know. They work hard and they deserve it!
“Ask Dr. Nancy” to speak for your group or organization.