Bias, Propaganda & Media

[Image description: a pile of newspapers]

I avoid tabloids, I find them boring and most often inaccurate about political issues. When I choose to read the news, which I often do in spite of how much it upsets me, I choose to read news that focuses on more serious matters. To be clear, if you read tabloids, I have no issue with that, everyone is different and I have just personally chosen not to.

I prefer my sources to be as unbiased as possible, something that almost never happens due to human nature. That goes for bias in favour of my side just as much as against it. The echo chamber is less stressful, but I prefer a more rounded view.

Right now, I imagine if you are one of the people who followed me on twitter during the 2014 independence referendum, you might be putting on your angry comment hat, ready to inform me of BBC bias and why The National is the only good news source out there. Save your breath, because eighteen-year-old me might have joined you. I know all your arguments off by heart.

I don’t believe there is such a thing as a properly neutral news source. News is written by humans, and all humans have bias, no matter how unconscious, and no matter how much they try and fight it. That’s the nature of humanity, and fair enough. So, I believe it is important to seek out news from various sources to counter this, both ones you agree with and ones you do not.

I mean within reason, of course. I don’t advocate going online to seek out far-right propaganda sites or other extremist material. I mean the moderate ‘other side’, not the extremes. I don’t limit my reading exclusively to articles written by verified pro-independence, pro-EU individuals.

Most of the material out there is propaganda, for one side or the other. Such is the way of life, the internet and democracy. Which is why I don’t like to limit my reading to only that which confirms my own beliefs. If ‘my side’ does something wrong, I want to be aware. I don’t want to be the kind of person who believes those I agree with are infallible.

This is especially the case following recent events. Everyone in Scotland has seen the mountain of conspiracy theories put out there by everyone. I will not comment on the situation that started this. It is not my place; this endless discussion is harming abuse survivors and I do not feel comfortable participating in it myself.

Especially about issues such as this, however, I urge people, do not just accept what your friends say. Think critically about everything, it is the only way democracy can remain healthy.

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