When writing anything it is always important to keep an objective distance from the subject. Bias can come from first impressions. Bias oftentimes causes one to judge something unfairly. For example, imagine a person going to see “The Hunger Games.” While driving there he notices that he is running on empty and has to fill up the tank with gas. He is now running late to the theater. Once he gets there, he buys popcorn and a drink. The popcorn is too buttery and it makes him sick. Now he missed the first ten minutes of the movie. To top it all off, some kids in the theater are making a racket. As he leaves the theater, he remembers “The Hunger Games” unfavorably. Did he not like it because of the movie or because of his actual experience watching the movie? It is hard to divorce the two sometimes.
Another example of bias is young peoples’ tendency to base their own political beliefs off of the political beliefs of their parents. If one’s parents lean Democrat, he or she would probably write a more positive review on President Obama, while the opposite is true for a person whose parents are Republicans. It is not as if the media helps either. Fox News and MSNBC do their best to put the most partisan news anchors on air to yell at and berate those who do not agree with them. As a liberal- leaning person I always have to watch myself in reading and writing. Most people, including me, see everything through a certain lens. It is impossible for most people to totally distance themselves from the experiences and opinions that they have.
The important thing people can do is to try not to be blinded from seeing other points of view. All views should always be given a fair assessment. Then, if one still disagrees with the opinion in question, at least an intelligent argument against the view can be formulated. But, maybe if people were more open-minded, they would change their views when they realize they are wrong. There is nothing wrong with doing this; it is actually healthy. Most people who held the same views their whole life have probably not looked at the issues from another perspective.
It is fine to report from one side of the fence, but only if the other side of the fence was given a fair intellectual evaluation. It is difficult to do this, but, without doing this, one is likely to never have an accurate view of the world. The world is a diverse place with diverse ideas. We must be able to gauge everyone’s opinions and ideas, no matter how ridiculous. Why use time to look at ridiculous ideas? Because then one will truly know why they are ridiculous and not just because that’s the way it seems at face value. The 9/11 conspiracy theories seem ridiculous (they are to me), but should at least be given a look before being dismissed. Once this is done, they can be properly debunked instead of just going by first impressions. Objectivity is difficult but it must be strived for by all Americans.
Jack Barnett is a third-year student majoring in history and political science. He can be reached at JB723722@wcupa.edu.