Building on the example of sports fans, this video illustrates how bias is a common and sometimes productive part of how we communicate. It also shows how bias can cause problems when it’s hidden or not detected. This video teaches:
- Why bias is a common and expected part of communicating
- Why high quality information needs to be unbiased
- What problems occur when bias is ignored
- What to look for - common signs of bias in media
You probably know someone who is a big sports fan. Win or lose, their team is the best and they love to let others know.
In sports, we expect people to be biased for their own team. Their goal isn’t fairness and it’s obvious.
They wear their bias on their sleeve, or even their face on occasion. And just like people root for sports teams, they also root for ideas, laws, products, research, politicians and more.
People often write articles, make videos and do interviews that are biased. They are designed to promote their team’s side of the story. And that’s fine. Bias can rally a team and win debates for the greater good.
The problem is that bias is often hidden. What might appear to be neutral, fair information can be biased.
For example, to understand the current state of climate change you can’t depend on one team’s biased perspective. You need information that is neutral, fair and unbiased.
The same is true for important decisions in science, education, government and more. Unbiased information is essential.
The problem is that it can be hard to see whether the goal of an article, for instance, is to be fair, or to root for their team. The best you can do is learn to detect bias.
Imagine reading an article and asking yourself: Who is the author and what is their motivation? Do they earn money or benefit by promoting one idea over another? If so, the article may be biased.
Does the author provide only one way to think about a subject? Do they ignore key information or perspectives that don’t fit their own? If so, they may be biased.
Are sources cited in the article? Who or what are they and what role do they play? If the sources are biased, there may be misinformation and the article itself may be biased.
Does the article use insulting language or buzzwords? Does it use examples that appeal to only one side of a story? If so, the article may be biased.
It’s important to note that bias isn’t always bad, and can be helpful. The key is learning to recognize the author’s bias and evaluating the information with that bias in mind. This way, you can choose the best sources for your needs.
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