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Is there such a thing as a fair and unbiased press?

Updated on May 16, 2016

Would you consider a news item fair and balanced even though you disagreed with it?

Is there such a thing as a fair and balanced press? Liberals will tell you that NPR is fair and unbiased and conservatives will tell you that Fox News is fair and unbalanced. Liberals will tell you that Fox is fake and conservatives will tell you that NPR has a liberal agenda. Would you consider a news item fair and balanced even though you disagreed with it? Most people would answer, "No." People believe what they agree with to be true. In a way it makes sense; nobody wants to feel that what they believe in is false. Nobody wants to admit that they are wrong.

I believe that the only way to get a balanced understanding of an issue is to read the same story from a variety of newspapers, both liberal and conservative. Think about the story from different points of view. Consider how a liberal or conservative would consider the issue. Forget the name calling. Not all liberals and not all conservatives are stupid. Not all liberals and not all conservatives are smart. Neither are always right or always wrong.


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Let's look at an issue from both the liberal and conservative points of view. Single-payer healthcare is a contentious issue. Liberals will argue that healthcare is a right and that nobody should die because they can't afford it. Certainly nobody should die because they can't afford healthcare and I believe that very few or any would actually wish for someone's demise because he or she couldn't afford it. Conservatives argue that tax dollars should not be used to pay for healthcare and that the government should not be in charge of it.

Most of us were raised in an era where health insurance is a benefit from our employer. The rise of employer paid health insurance is a result of World War II.

"When the War Labor Board declared that fringe benefits, such as sick leave and health insurance, did not count as wages for the purpose of wage controls, employers responded with significantly increased offers of fringe benefits, especially health care coverage, to attract workers." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_insurance_in_the_United_States#The_rise_of_employer-sponsored_coverage

For better or worse, this is a model that we have become accustomed to.

We can summarize both sides of this issue to one basic question - What is the role of government? I believe the liberals believe that government should protect its citizens and provide them with the basic necessities of life. I believe that conservatives believe that goverment should provide safety and security and then not to interfere. I don't see either side as foolish or heartless. Both see the issue from different philosophies. Argue the issue not the political party.

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The Internet has provided us with many sources of information. One can live their political point of view and only read sites that agree with that point of view. I call this the "iPod effect". I will create my news playlist with only liberal news sources or with only conservative news sources. This will reinforce that I am right because everything I read proves that I am right. It is also dangerous; it makes it easy to disseminate misinformation. Misinformation works best when it has a readily available audience that is eager to read it and believe it.

Is there such a thing as a fair and balanced press? No! That can be a good thing because if we really want to understand an issue, it forces us to read different points of view. Unfortunately, it is also a bad thing. It makes it easy for us to just read the point of view that we agree with.

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