November 4, 2009

Politics, News, and Biases: What's the Big Deal?

I've been quite intrigued by the ongoing battle between the White House and Fox News. As I understand it, Fox is playing the role of the watchdog with the current administration and said administration doesn't much like being watched by that sort of dog. They would rather be watched by one of those nice dogs that doesn't make much noise and just sort of lays around all day. You know, one of those dogs that would just lay there and watch when someone breaks in your house and steals everything you own. Those kinds of dogs don't cause a stir or draw attention to what your doing. So, the administration comes back with attempts to discredit Fox's watchdogging by claiming that they are not really legitimate news organizations because they have a clearly Republican-conservative bias.

Now I'm no fan of Fox News. I wish Bill O'Reilly had a different last name. That guy makes me want to pull whats left of my hair right out. What interests me in this matter is the fact that the administration's accusation of bias carries any weight what so ever in the whole debate. So what is Fox News has a conservative bias. The current White House has a liberal bias. The NRA is biased, as are PETA, Hollywood, the ACLU, and the folks out at Focus on the Family. If there is one thing that postmodernism is supposed to have taught us, it is that everyone in the world is biased in one way or another, including news agencies. Since when does bias discredit a news agency. Every newspaper in America has an opinion page upon which they publish their views on certain issues. Yes, that's right, where they publish their biases.

In the field of theology, everyone knows that everyone is biased about everything. Conservatives and biased and so are liberals. Everybody thinks their view is the right one and they all know that they hold their view as a result of a complicated combination of circumstances, experiences, influences, mentors, antagonism, etc. The key is not trying to provide an unbiased view. The key is understanding your own bias and how it shapes what you think.

Christians ought to be honest about our biases. I'm biased. I am 100% pro-life and in favor of traditional marriage precisely because I think it is part of what it means to be a faithful Christ-follower. I do what I do and say what I say as a result of what I think it means to be biased toward Jesus. That doesn't mean I always get it right. It just means I'm being honest about what I think and why I think it.

The White House's attack on the credibility of Fox News falls to the charge that it is an elementary attempt to take the public attention off of what they are really up to. They are throwing mud at the watchdog hoping that it will back off or change its tune to be like that quiet dog in the corner that is really an accomplice to the thieves. The national debate will only be productive when all parties confess that they all have biases and get on to talk about the issues instead. By the way, the more liberal leaning media is not jumping on with the administration in this one because they don't want to come across as the quiet looter-accomplice dog on its bed in the corner.

No comments: