Why is it that we (and by “we” I mean the journalists – not regular citizens) insist on even attempting to have “unbiased” or “balanced” journalism? Whom are we kidding with this? As I learned in my Intra-Lingual Skills class, we all have schema. I know it sounds like some terminal disease, but at http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=schema, it is defined as follows: an internal representation of the world; an organization of concepts and actions that can be revised by new information about the world. Got that? In other words, that means that our personal experiences influence additional information we take in, but also allows us to understand more things. Hmmm…I think an example is in order, don’t you?

If I say the word “grade,” each person will come up with a different primary definition for that, depending on their* schema. A teacher would likely come up with the definition of that in regards to what mark a student got on an assignment. An engineer might be thinking of the gradient of a slope of a surface. A truck driver might think of how steep the upcoming hill is. Or…well, you get the idea.   It will quickly become clear to you that I enjoy scenarios…immensely. Not kidding, this never gets old with me.

So, you can’t tell me that a reporter, born in 1985, who has been brought up in an atheistic house, with one parent, and no siblings would have the same schema as one, born in 1950, who has been brought up in a two-parent, multi-sibling, religious home. Well…I guess you could tell me that, but I wouldn’t believe you.

My dad was telling me the other day**that when he was growing up, the newspapers in his city were something to the effect of, choice A: The Republican Gazette and choice B: The Democratic Daily. This is how it had been since the beginning of our country (except the names of newspapers sometimes were more inspired, like The Boston News-Letter, for instance). The newspapers had a distinct point of view and wrote from it. There was none of this trying to swindle readers into believing they were neutral about every issue.

Journalists should go back to telling the readers their perspective, and then write the story. CNSnews.com does this and they rock. They tell you, straight up, they were founded in an “effort to provide an alternative news source that would cover stories that are subject to the bias of omission and report on other news subject to bias by commission,” [read: MSM} and “…CNSNews.com is able to provide its services and information to the public at no cost, thanks to the generous support of our thousands of donors and their tax-deductible contributions. However, unlike NPR or PBS, CNSNews.com does not accept any federal tax money for its operations,” [read: not State run…so they won’t go bankrupt]. They are reporting the news, using facts, mind you, and they are up front about who they are. What a novel idea.

*I’m going to use “their” instead of his or her. I believe this is has been used in our language long enough to be considered appropriate new usage (and don’t start quoting me AP style, here…work with me). I am all for it, and therefore, if more people use it, then the dictionaries and grammar books will be forced to add it as acceptable grammar adaptations for our language.  Feel the power.

**Just for full disclosure: in Holli-speak, “the other day” can mean any span of time that does not include yesterday. Seriously, this could have happened 3 years ago, and I will still write “the other day.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.