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February 26, 2008


You should also include a second, separate rating for "reviewer bias positive - negative to the point of the article".

Thus, for a reasonable story that I am strongly biased against, I could then rate the story at 4 but also -5 for my own bias, rather than a mixed 2 or 3 (or 1?) rating on the story itself.

I have to say that ultimately to believe that some article that is well written and edited and crafted and we can have no opinion about its slant and that simultaneously we can be objective is a fallacy. We read those articles that help us to gather facts where we might not have access to them, to learn what an interpretation might be and we also read to just enjoy the writing. But to assume that we can ever just push back our chairs and be totally objective is asking us to stop functioning from the neck down which seems pointless to me.

I think that Tish is on the right track although we can quibble with some of the details.

I often read reviews that are based on whether the information in a simple news report, accurate though it may be, supports the reviewer's preconceived view (e.g., global warming is a crock, Bush is a disaster, nuclear power is our salvation, nothing good can be said about the war in Iraq). Those sorts of reviews weaken NewsTrust in that the quality and objectivity of the report aren't the principal considerations.

Analytical articles present a challenge because bias (the suppressing of some facts while emphasizing others) makes an article less valuable and poor journalism -- but each of us sees bias differently. While we can't check our ideology on entering NewsTrust, I believe we have an obligation to recognize our own bias and make an extra attempt to be objective in our reviews.

Opinion pieces by their nature present the writer's slant; however, what they present should be accurate and they should be well written and persuasive. I rarely find an opinion piece that changes my mind, although some have made me stop and reconsider. Those deserve a positive review. On the other hand, I sometimes encounter pieces that share my point of view but are nothing but sophistry. Those deserve a negative review.

Our individual reviews will never be completely objective. However, I believe that we betray the goal of NewsTrust when we don't even try.

One of the problems is that 'news' articles also are selective of facts - and even when a lot of apparently factual material is presented we have no way of checking their sources. I've seen a few articles presented where the 'facts' were blatantly and outrageously marginal, if not actually untrue. However, I suppose reviews can way downgrade such in the factual line.

*truth* is the fundermental premis*

ideology/opinion has no place other than influence..........

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