A spin on the no spin zone

 Uncategorized
Dec 112003
 
Authors: Marika Eve

There is no such thing as a “no spin zone.” I know this may come

as a shock to some who take the word of popular political

commentators as the 11 to 1,634 commandments, but everyone has some

sort of personal background or experience that has an influence

over how they see, experience, and for some obnoxiously attempt to

dictate the world.

This isn’t an attack on any one political party or wing. Not

recognizing your bias happens across the political spectrum.

Liberals can be just as guilty of quoting Michael Moore without

crosschecking facts as conservatives do Bill O’Reilly.

Believe it or not, I appreciate Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly

Factor.” I believe that Bill O’Reilly adds an important perspective

to many issues. I do have a problem with his insistence deeming his

show “The No Spin Zone.”

The key word to focus on is perspective. Everyone has bias. This

is not limited to a political realm. Believe it or not, everything

from the city you grew up in to the high school you attended to the

place you ate lunch gives you a bias. It gives you a perspective,

and what you could equate as a spin, that influences how you

interpret the world around you. For example, my roommate grew up in

Golden, where Coors is brewed. Can you take a stab at where her

allegiance lies when it comes time to get a cheap keg? Are there

any Broncos fans out there?

Although sports and drinking may seem like trivial aspects, this

is exactly how pervasive bias is. It is when we ignore these

biases, or worse deny them all together, that they become

hazardous. To assume a news organization, like any organization,

can be completely unbiased is unrealistic.

Biases are unavoidable. We need to take them into account.

Recognizing that there is no such thing as a “no spin zone” is a

start. We must also make the tough realization that we should

question stories that we agree with as much as those we do not.

It’s what a professor of mine refers to as the “home-team

advantage.” The way we innately hold opinions that disagree with

ours as suspect is a part of this. The way our culture demonizes

those who hold a dissenting opinion is another, but the scariest

part of home-team advantage is its ability to rally masses toward

one perspective as fact or fiction. This is unfortunately a popular

trend in media and society.

We all need to be critical consumers, hearing information

presented to us, whether we agree with it or not, with a critical

ear. This doesn’t mean you have to carry around an almanac or spend

hours of your day researching statistics to reinforce everyday

conversations. You should, however, take time to consider where and

from whom you are hearing information. It’s not that you shouldn’t

listen to those you disagree with either; quite the contrary. Fully

understanding another’s point of view not only enriches your

perspective, but may also complete your opinion and argument.

We should also seek out alternative forms of media. Have you

ever noticed how similar the 10 p.m. news looks from channel to

channel? You’ll hear the same stories from the same angle in the

same 10 minutes. Searching the Internet for alternative points once

a week for a half an hour can enrich your view three times what

reading the same newspaper or watching the same channel every day

for 10 minutes will.

It is all perspective. From the story a producer puts at the top

of a newscast telling you it is most important to the beer your

roommate chooses for your party and the way you are interpreting

this column, the one thing you can count on is that, consciously or

not, there is always a perspective and there is no such thing as a

no spin zone.

Marika is a senior majoring in technical journalism. She is the

news director for KCSU.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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