Monday, May 2, 2011

Two of everything?

This is based on a comment I made here.

A recent piece suggests choice of topic or issue is a major mechanism of media bias. A classic example is how homelessness was a major media topic in the Reagan-Bush years, and then dropped out of the mainstream media when Clinton became President. If one judged by media coverage, all one had to do to “deal with” homelessness was elect a Democratic President! There is a reason FoxNews has found such a (large) niche.

There seems to be a principle that any organisation in the policy/advocacy/education etc realm not of the right gets taken over by the left, as the left simply cannot be trusted to share. (Since dissent is evil, don’t you know?) The constant attack on the moral character, intelligence and motives of dissenters from Club Virtue’s orthodoxies -- such as Club Virtue’s habit of labeling anyone who disagrees with them on indigenous or migration policy as ‘racist’ -- and the tendency to recruit in their own image and likeness has a tendency to discourage, or even drive out, dissent. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt raising of the issue of political outlook imbalance within academic social psychology is just an example of a wider pattern. (It is also amusing to see people who would take evidence of a lack of women, non-whites, etc in other fields as evidence of bias trotting out the old-faithful 'lack of people of sufficient talent' justificatory responses.)

One solution to this problem of imbalance is simply to set up two of everything. (Though that leads to the obvious issue about the ‘none of the aboves’.) Still, to take a specific example, given the fairly dreadful state academic Oz history has fallen into, setting up ‘Centres of Archival Research’ to reconnect history to actual evidence and away from the Manning Clark ‘myths that make me feel superior’ approach probably is a good idea.

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