KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Stine: Having bias is a good thing, why are we scared of it?

Mar 21, 2024, 10:29 AM

bias...

(Graphic courtesy of iStock)

(Graphic courtesy of iStock)

Recently, I have been on the receiving end of quite a few comments that follow a similar structure: “You are biased.” It got me thinking about how we have been conditioned to believe that having a bias or a set of biases is somehow wrong or incorrect. Biases, in fact, are a good thing.

For tens of thousands of years, human beings have relied on biases for our very survival. Obviously, early humans had a bias against straying too far from a consistent source of water, or a bias against kicking a water buffalo for laughs.

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Contemporarily, we use biases all the time. For example, I have a bias against eating a pint of ice cream after dinner because I am trying to maintain my girlish figure.

For some reason, we have been told that having a bias, particularly in media, is somehow a point of concern or contention. But my argument is as follows: If you can identify the bias, does it really matter? If I know that when I watch Rachel Maddow or Tucker Carlson or Bill Maher or Jon Stewart, I will be experiencing news through a particular bias or filter.

But does it really mean that content is any less valuable? Not really.

Americans have taken on the habit of being the “thought police.” We constantly try to identify who the “thought criminal” is, and then aggressively gesture at the slightest hint of hypocrisy anytime we are presented with what we perceive to be “a bias.” Why? I hear biased opinions all day that I don’t like, and to be totally transparent, I don’t care. I don’t care if someone loves Trump or hates Ted Cruz. I don’t care if someone worships the ground Gov. Jay Inslee walks on or they can quote Gov. Gavin Newsom’s most recent MSNBC appearance verbatim.

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I don’t need someone to like a political figure in the same way that I don’t need someone to enjoy kale salad over Cold Stone Creamery. What I do need is discussion and conversation to build a new kind of understanding around an issue and fortunately, that starts with people who have strong biases and people who are willing to share those biases openly.

Listen to Jack and Spike weekdays from noon-3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here

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Stine: Having bias is a good thing, why are we scared of it?