Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fair Use Must Include Addressing Bias

I had planned to do some blogging tonight, but did not find myself inspired, so I thought maybe tonight would be (yet another) night with no entry.

Then I read this post, from Joel's So You Want to Teach:
If nothing else, this is a thought-provoking video. Perhaps a bit off-topic, in fact, I’m not even posting this to raise a political conversation. However, I would be interested in hearing from some of the social studies teachers out there. What kinds of things have you done to help your students overcome the ignorance of facts that these twelve interviewees demonstrate?

I worked hard to control my temper in my response:

Yes, as an English teacher I push kids to look at both sides of issues and consider the source of the information they view as fact.

My question for you is if you did the same before posting this video, which was funded by the RNC (not an unbiased source).

I had trouble controlling my knee-jerk reaction to this post–I was offended by the implication in the video (not addressed in your post) that Obama voters, in general, are ignorant.

Instead of writing a plain-old angry response, I did a little research online. The sample wasn’t of an appropriate size to truly address the question, the data is clearly biased (not addressing McCain voters with any of the same questions), and does not, necessarily address issues for voters at the polls (http://www.howobamagotelected.com/). The people voting weren’t voting for Nancy Pelosi or Barney Frank, and the questions themselves were clearly biased.

Though the Wikipedia entry on John Ziegler is also clearly biased, it raises some important questions about his work, which seems biased even before getting facts on the matter.

I’m sorry to rant. My hope is that your question wasn’t meant to be as biased as I read it to be.

Thoughts and responses? I don't think I'm alone on this, but I welcome respectful dissention.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reading. I hope I didn't ruffle your feathers too much. As I said in my follow-up comment, I wasn't specifically focusing on bashing the people in the interviews. It was more about the general lack of knowledge that they displayed.

    Disregarding the political stance of the interviewees and the bias of the interviewer, I noticed they were ill-informed about the specific issues that were really crucial to the campaign, and yet they seemed to be pretty well-informed about superfluous issues (Sarah Palin's daughter, SNL's portrayal of Palin, etc.).

    Is it an issue of information overload, or is an issue of people who didn't do their due diligence in researching their votes? Perhaps some of both...