“Biased ka lang e!”: notes on bias, objectivity, etc

In this post I explain what “bias” is, why it is more complex than being unfair or preferential, and why legislators need a quick lesson on Journalism 101.

I CRINGE EVERY TIME I hear people misuse the word bias.

I understand that not everyone has received the same training and education as I have, so when people unironically say things like, “biased ka lang e” or, “these are my unbiased opinions,” I just hush my judgment and silently concede that bias has become a common buzzword in everyday Pinoy conversations.

A problem ensues, however, when politicians bungle the word bias and weaponize it against the media. When legislators cry foul against biased reporting while invoking values like objectivity with blatant ignorance of how these concepts are applied in journalism, I cringe even harder in disgust.

Politicians yelling “biased!” against every story they deem displeasing is dangerous: it parrots the misconception that bias is nothing but the opposite of neutrality, and that neutrality is the supreme measure for what makes a valid report or opinion. These notions are patently wrong, and I think it’s high time that we unpack and re-calibrate our understanding of the word bias and all its implications.

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