Journalism Bias Quotes

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Everything is in the way the material is composed.
Joseph O'Connor (Star of the Sea)
In dictatorships the media is controlled by the State. In democracies the media is controlled by wealthy individuals with political affiliations. Objective media and journalists simply do not exist in the mainstream.
Robert Black
Because drugs have become so profitable, major medical journals rarely publish studies on nondrug treatments of mental health problems.31 Practitioners who explore treatments are typically marginalized as “alternative.” Studies of nondrug treatments are rarely funded unless they involve so-called manualized protocols, where patients and therapists go through narrowly prescribed sequences that allow little fine-tuning to individual patients’ needs. Mainstream medicine is firmly committed to a better life through chemistry, and the fact that we can actually change our own physiology and inner equilibrium by means other than drugs is rarely considered.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Journalism classes teach us that one must extract oneself from the story in order to report without bias, but often we need to be in the story in order to understand, to connect, to help the audience identify or else it has no heart; it could be a robot telling the story, for all anyone cares.
Cecelia Ahern (One Hundred Names)
Many journalists now are no more than channelers and echoers of what George Orwell called the 'official truth'. They simply cipher and transmit lies. It really grieves me that so many of my fellow journalists can be so manipulated that they become really what the French describe as 'functionaires', functionaries, not journalists. Many journalists become very defensive when you suggest to them that they are anything but impartial and objective. The problem with those words 'impartiality' and 'objectivity' is that they have lost their dictionary meaning. They've been taken over... [they] now mean the establishment point of view... Journalists don't sit down and think, 'I'm now going to speak for the establishment.' Of course not. But they internalise a whole set of assumptions, and one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity.
John Pilger
The pen had been mightier than the sword but then the tongue took over.
Amit Abraham
Keep a journal of disappointments, failures, and self-destructive actions. It’s important to write this down because these are the kinds of things your self-serving bias will want to forget or minimize.
Richard O'Connor (Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions,Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior)
The IYI subscribes to The New Yorker, a journal designed so philistines can learn to fake a conversation about evolution, neurosomething, cognitive biases, and quantum mechanics.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Skin in the Game: The Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life)
The problem with the media - is that if you talk to it, it will use things against you. And that if you don't talk to it, it will use things against you
lauren klarfeld
The index is supposed to keep the world free from cultural and genetic bias, but aren’t there underlying factors that we can’t escape? For instance, who decided that the first number of one’s genetic index would be Caucasoid?—From the gleaning journal of H.S. Curie
Neal Shusterman
Equal time is not necessary when dealing with evil. Nazis do not merit equal or fair treatment.
Robert Fisk
Say what you wish about media in the Arab world, but say it knowing that no media channel in the world is absolutely free.
Aysha Taryam
Today a story is not told it's sold.
Amit Abraham
One whose testimony made a major impact more than a decade ago is Ben Barres, formerly Barbara Barres, a biologist at Stanford University. In 2006, he wrote in the journal Nature about the bias he had experienced as a woman in the sciences, from losing fellowships to less qualified male candidates to being told a boyfriend must have helped her with her math. He was told that he was smarter than his sister by a man who confused his former, female self for that sister. (“A Short History of Silence”)
Rebecca Solnit (The Mother of All Questions)
we’re pretty lousy at guessing how something will make us feel, thanks to a phenomenon known as impact bias: “the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of future feeling states.”28 In essence, we chronically underestimate our ability to adapt.
Ryder Carroll (The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future)
Fears that once helped keep our ancestors alive, today help keep journalists employed. It isn’t the journalists’ fault and we shouldn’t expect them to change. It isn’t driven by “media logic” among the producers as much as by “attention logic” in the heads of consumers.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
In the specific case of the use of the term “false memory” to describe errors in details in laboratory tasks (e.g., in word-learning tasks), the media and public are set up all too easily to interpret such research as relevant to “false memories” of abuse because the term is used in the public domain to refer to contested memories of abuse. Because the term “false memory” is inextricably tied in the public to a social movement that questions the veracity of memories for childhood sexual abuse, the use of the term in scientific research that evaluates memory errors for details (not whole events) must be evaluated in this light." From: What's in a Name for Memory Errors? Implications and Ethical Issues Arising From the Use of the Term “False Memory” for Errors in Memory for Details, Journal: Ethics & Behavior 14(3) pages 201-233, 2004
Jennifer J. Freyd
I expected, as I approached the corporate world, to enter a brisk, logical, nonsense-free zone, almost like the military - or a disciplined, up-to-date military anyway - in its focus on concrete results. How else would companies survive fierce competition? But what I encountered was a culture riven with assumptions unrelated to those that underlie the fact- and logic-based worlds of, say science and journalism - a culture addicted to untested habits, paralyzed by conformity, and shot through with magical thinking.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream)
I'm a professional journalist. Making up lies to fit the facts - it's what we do.
Andrew Klavan (Werewolf Cop)
One journalist complemented another that his article on a dispute, "had made both sides see themselves as they are.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism)
The government researchers, aware of the information in the professional journals, decided to reverse the process (of healing from hysteric dissociation). They decided to use selective trauma on healthy children to create personalities capable of committing acts desired for national security and defense.” p. 53 – 54 ― Secret Weapons: How Two Sisters Were Brainwashed To Kill For Their Country: Dale Griffiths, Cheryl & Lynn Hersha, Ted Schwartz Wikipedia has a long history of issues with inaccuracy and bias over dissociative disorders, abuse and ritual abuse
Cheryl Hersha (Secret Weapons: How Two Sisters Were Brainwashed to Kill for Their Country)
Naturally, people — especially in America — live in the moment and, given the “crisis” orientation of cable news, think that [the 2000s are] the worst period the country has ever gone through. Not really.
Ivan Eland
When it comes to news reporting, the center has been dragged so far left that a neutral posture is now viewed as right wing. Liberal or anti-Trump views—those are considered good, truth-telling journalism. At least that’s what the afflicted seem to believe. But raise questions about fairness or consider alternate viewpoints—that simply proves you’re the one who’s biased. Maybe even (gasp!) conservative. (Although you’re not.)
Sharyl Attkisson (Slanted: How the News Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism)
The two most trusted medical journals in the United States had published incorrect, manufacturer-biased reports about major drugs. The FDA knew that both articles had misrepresented the data but did not correct the misleading information.
John Abramson (Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It)
It is fascinating to discover that individuals who are asked to assign a punishment to a criminal are influenced by factors that they are unaware of (like the presence of a flag in the room) or that they would consciously diavow (like the color of the criminal's skin). It is boring to find that individuals' proposed punishments are influenced by rational considerations such as the severity of the crime and the criminal's previous record. Interesting: we are more willing to help someonw if there is the smell of fresh bread in the air. Boring: we are more willing to help someone if he or she has been kind to us in the past. We sometimes forget that this bias in publication exists and take what is reported in scientific journals and the popular press as an accurate reflection of our best science of how the mind works. But this is like watching the nightly news and concluding that rape, robbery, and murder are part of any individual's everyday life - forgetting that the nightly news doesn't report the vast majority of cases where nothing of this sort happens at all.
Paul Bloom (Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil)
Proximity to and even intimacy with BIPOC does not erase white privilege, unconscious bias, or complicity in the system of white supremacy. Being in a relationship with a BIPOC or having a biracial or multiracial child does not absolve a person with white privilege from the practice of antiracism.
Layla F. Saad (Me and White Supremacy: A Guided Journal: The Official Companion to the New York Times Bestselling Book Me and White Supremacy)
In addition, the distortion of actual crime statistics vs. media coverage, shows that news outlets portray black Americans being depicted as suspects or criminals at a rate that exceeds actual arrest statistics for those same crimes by a whopping 24 percentage points- a disparity which reveals a horrific implicit bias in reporting.
Alice Minium
It was the era of fake news and reporters being labeled by those in power as enemies of the people. Newspapers were folding right and left and some said the industry was in a death spiral. Meanwhile, there was a rise in biased and unchecked reporting and media sites, the line increasingly blurring between impartial and agenda-based journalism.
Michael Connelly (Fair Warning (Jack McEvoy, #3; Harry Bosch Universe, #33))
Through his unconventional ways that defied predictions and operated outside the controlling narratives, Trump exposed bias, flaws, and weaknesses in the news media, causing its members to lose their collective mind and shed all pretense of objectivity. The media at large became committed to a political agenda to undermine and ultimately remove Trump from office. Which only served to prove his point about their bias.
Sharyl Attkisson (Slanted: How the News Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism)
A good journalist must be neutral,” were the first word she heard from her professor at Georgetown. “No journalist is, nor will be, nor really should be neutral,” were the first word spoken to her by editor-in-chief of the Des Moines Registrant. “We’re all biased one way or the other and that’s fine. It’s like in the court of law, two points of view clashing so the truth can emerge. Being objective is not the same as being neutral.
Krzysztof Pacyński (A perfect Patricide: Part 1)
We propose that use of the term “false memory” to describe errors in memory for details directly contributes to removing the social context of abuse from research on memory for trauma. As the term “false memories” has increasingly been used to describe errors in details, the scientific weight of the term has increased. In turn, we see that the term “false memories” is treated as a construct supported by scientific fact, whereas other terms associated with questions about the veracity of abuse memories have been treated as suspect. For example, “recovered memories” often appears in quotations, whereas “false memories” does not (Campbell, 2003).The quotation marks suggest that one term is questioned, whereas the other is accepted as fact. Accepting “false memories” of abuse as fact reflects the subtle assimilation of the term into the cognitive literature, where the term is used increasingly to describe intrusions of semantically related words into lists of related words. The term, rooted in the controversy over the accuracy of abuse memories recalled during psychotherapy (Schacter, 1999), implies generalization of errors in details to memory for abuse—experienced largely by women and children (Campbell, 2003)." from: What's in a Name for Memory Errors? Implications and Ethical Issues Arising From the Use of the Term “False Memory” for Errors in Memory for Details, Journal: Ethics & Behavior
Jennifer J. Freyd
Tis true, that We are here a mix'd People--of different Countries Dialects, and Denominations. But how ridiculous it is, to carry any Nationality Prejudice, or Bias about Us in these Respects. We ought to leave them all behind Us in the Ocean and consider ourselves as one Great family--pursue one General Interest and banish all Selfishness, Bigotry--Narrow Spiritedness, and Atachments, whether it arises from Motives of Religion, Custom--or Habit--for these are Great follies, and very wide of the Christian Temper.
Charles Woodmason (The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution: The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant)
In the past few years, more and more passionate debates about the nature of SFF and YA have bubbled to the surface. Conversations about race, imperialism, gender, sexuality, romance, bias, originality, feminism and cultural appropriation are getting louder and louder and, consequently, harder to ignore. Similarly, this current tension about negative reviews is just another fissure in the same bedrock: the consequence of built-up pressure beneath. Literary authors feud with each other, and famously; yet genre authors do not, because we fear being cast as turncoats. For decades, literary writers have also worked publicly as literary reviewers; yet SFF and YA authors fear to do the same, lest it be seen as backstabbing when they dislike a book. (Small wonder, then, that so few SFF and YA titles are reviewed by mainstream journals.) Just as a culture of sexual repression leads to feelings of guilt and outbursts of sexual moralising by those most afflicted, so have we, by denying and decrying all criticism that doesn’t suit our purposes, turned those selfsame critical impulses towards censorship. Blog post: Criticism in SFF and YA
Foz Meadows
Later on in Culture and Society, Williams scores a few points by reprinting some absolutist sentences that, taken on their own, represent exaggerations or generalisations. It was a strength and weakness of Orwell’s polemical journalism that he would begin an essay with a bold and bald statement designed to arrest attention—a tactic that, as Williams rightly notices, he borrowed in part from GK Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw. No regular writer can re-read his own output of ephemera without encountering a few wince-making moments of this kind; Williams admits to ‘isolating’ them but has some fun all the same. The flat sentence ‘a humanitarian is always a hypocrite’ may contain a particle of truth—does in fact contain such a particle—but will not quite do on its own. Other passages of Orwell’s, on the failure of the Western socialist movement, read more convincingly now than they did when Williams was mocking them, but are somewhat sweeping for all that. And there are the famous outbursts of ill-temper against cranks and vegetarians and homosexuals, which do indeed disfigure the prose and (even though we still admire Pope and Swift for the heroic unfairness of their invective) probably deserve rebuke. However, Williams betrays his hidden bias even when addressing these relatively easy targets. He upbraids Orwell for the repeated use of the diminutive word ‘little’ as an insult (‘The typical Socialist ... a prim little man,’ ‘the typical little bowlerhatted sneak,’ etc.). Now, it is probable that we all overuse the term ‘little’ and its analogues. Williams does at one point—rather ‘loftily’ perhaps—reproach his New Left colleagues for being too ready to dismiss Orwell as ‘petit-bourgeois.’ But what about (I draw the example at random) Orwell’s disgust at the behaviour of the English crowd in the First World War, when ‘wretched little German bakers and hairdressers had their shops sacked by the mob’?
Christopher Hitchens
Even the editors of main journals themselves recognise that peer review may not be the best system ever devised by mankind. Here is what Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet, has to say on the matter: “The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.
Malcolm Kendrick (Doctoring Data: How to sort out medical advice from medical nonsense)
Chapter 20 we will explore in far greater depth how to avoid brainwashing and how to distinguish reality from fiction. Here I would like to offer two simple rules of thumb. First, if you want reliable information, pay good money for it. If you get your news for free, you might well be the product. Suppose a shady billionaire offered you the following deal: “I will pay you $30 a month, and in exchange you will allow me to brainwash you for an hour every day, installing in your mind whichever political and commercial biases I want.” Would you take the deal? Few sane people would. So the shady billionaire offers a slightly different deal: “You will allow me to brainwash you for one hour every day, and in exchange, I will not charge you anything for this service.” Now the deal suddenly sounds tempting to hundreds of millions of people. Don’t follow their example. The second rule of thumb is that if some issue seems exceptionally important to you, make the effort to read the relevant scientific literature. And by scientific literature I mean peer-reviewed articles, books published by well-known academic publishers, and the writings of professors from reputable institutions. Science obviously has its limitations, and it has gotten many things wrong in the past. Nevertheless, the scientific community has been our most reliable source of knowledge for centuries. If you think the scientific community is wrong about something, that’s certainly possible, but at least know the scientific theories you are rejecting, and provide some empirical evidence to support your claim. Scientists, for their part, need to be far more engaged with current public debates. Scientists should not be afraid of making their voices heard when the debate wanders into their field of expertise, be it medicine or history. Of course, it is extremely important to go on doing academic research and to publish the results in scientific journals that only a few experts read. But it is equally important to communicate the latest scientific theories to the general public through popular science books, and even through the skillful use of art and fiction. Does that mean scientists should start writing science fiction? That is actually not such a bad idea. Art plays a key role in shaping people’s views of the world, and in the twenty-first century science fiction is arguably the most important genre of all, for it shapes how most people understand things such as AI, bioengineering, and climate change. We certainly need good science, but from a political perspective, a good science-fiction movie is worth far more than an article in Science or Nature.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Our memories are unreliable. We often trick ourselves into believing things about our experiences that are biased and inaccurate. Studies suggest that our recollection of how we felt can greatly differ from the way an experience actually made us feel. We can remember wonderful events in a negative way, and negative events in a positive way. Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert likens our memories to painted portraits instead of photographs, where our mind artistically interprets memory. 20 It’s important to keep an accurate record of how things actually happened, because we often make decisions based on our past experiences. If we operate entirely on memory, we’re apt to repeat our mistakes by fooling ourselves into believing that something had an effect it actually did not. Good or bad, big or small, jot it down. Over the days, months, and years, they will form a pretty accurate roadmap of your life. Understanding how we got to where we are today will allow us to make more informed decisions as we plot our course forward.
Ryder Carroll (The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future)
Example: a famous-to-economists finding in behavioral economics concerns pricing, and the fact that people have a provable bias towards the middle of three prices. It was first demonstrated with an experiment in beer pricing: when there were two beers, a third of people chose the cheaper; adding an even cheaper beer made the share of that beer go up, because it was now in the middle of three prices; adding an even more expensive beer at the top, and dropping the cheapest beer, made the share of the new beer in the middle (which had previously been the most expensive) go up from two-thirds to 90 percent. Having a price above and a price below makes the price in the middle seem more appealing. This experiment has been repeated with other consumer goods, such as ovens, and is now a much-used strategy in the corporate world. Basically, if you have two prices for something, and want to make more people pay the higher price, you add a third, even higher price; that makes the formerly highest price more attractive. Watch out for this strategy. (The research paper about beer pricing, written by a trio of economists at Duke University in 1982, was published in the Journal of Consumer Research. It’s called “Adding Asymetrically Dominated Alternatives: Violations of Regularity and the Simularity Hypothesis”—which must surely be the least engaging title ever given to an article about beer.)
John Lanchester (How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say-And What It Really Means)
Another example of educational hype is in some ways the second coming of the growth mindset concept: ‘grit’. This is the idea, promoted by the psychologist Angela Duckworth, that the ability to stick to a task you’re passionate about, and not give up even when life puts obstacles in your path, is key to life success, and far more important than innate talent. The appetite for her message was immense: at the time of this writing, her TED talk on the subject has received 25.5 million views (19.5m on the TED website and a further 6m on YouTube; Angela Lee Duckworth, ‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance’, presented at TED Talks Education, April 2013), and her subsequent book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, became a New York Times bestseller and continues to sell steadily. Like mindset, grit has become part of the philosophy of many schools, including KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) schools, the biggest charter school group in the US, which teaches almost 90,000 students. To her credit, Duckworth has been concerned about how overhyped her results have become. She told an NPR interviewer in 2015 that ‘the enthusiasm is getting ahead of the science’ (Anya Kamenetz, ‘A Key Researcher Says “Grit” Isn’t Ready For High-Stakes Measures’, NPR, 13 May 2015). A wise statement, given that the meta-analytic evidence for the impact of grit (or interventions trying to teach it) is extremely weak. See Credé et al., ‘Much Ado about Grit: A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of the Grit Literature’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 113, no. 3 (Sept. 2017): pp. 492–511. And Marcus Credé, ‘What Shall We Do About Grit? A Critical Review of What We Know and What We Don’t Know’, Educational Researcher 47, no. 9 (Dec. 2018): pp. 606–11.
Stuart Ritchie (Science Fictions: The Epidemic of Fraud, Bias, Negligence and Hype in Science)
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers,” as a famously clever screenwriter/director/journalist named Ben Hecht once wrote, “is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.” The same is true of research and science. Trying to tell what’s true by looking at the latest articles published in a journal—and particularly in nutrition—is another fool’s game. The best idea is to attend little to the latest research and focus instead on the long-term trends, the accumulation of studies (one hopes, interpreted without bias), even if the long-term trends rarely, if ever, appear in the news.
Gary Taubes (The Case for Keto: The Truth About Low-Carb, High-Fat Eating)
In 1942, Merton set out four scientific values, now known as the ‘Mertonian Norms’. None of them have snappy names, but all of them are good aspirations for scientists. First, universalism: scientific knowledge is scientific knowledge, no matter who comes up with it – so long as their methods for finding that knowledge are sound. The race, sex, age, gender, sexuality, income, social background, nationality, popularity, or any other status of a scientist should have no bearing on how their factual claims are assessed. You also can’t judge someone’s research based on what a pleasant or unpleasant person they are – which should come as a relief for some of my more disagreeable colleagues. Second, and relatedly, disinterestedness: scientists aren’t in it for the money, for political or ideological reasons, or to enhance their own ego or reputation (or the reputation of their university, country, or anything else). They’re in it to advance our understanding of the universe by discovering things and making things – full stop.20 As Charles Darwin once wrote, a scientist ‘ought to have no wishes, no affections, – a mere heart of stone.’ The next two norms remind us of the social nature of science. The third is communality: scientists should share knowledge with each other. This principle underlies the whole idea of publishing your results in a journal for others to see – we’re all in this together; we have to know the details of other scientists’ work so that we can assess and build on it. Lastly, there’s organised scepticism: nothing is sacred, and a scientific claim should never be accepted at face value. We should suspend judgement on any given finding until we’ve properly checked all the data and methodology. The most obvious embodiment of the norm of organised scepticism is peer review itself. 20. Robert K. Merton, ‘The Normative Structure of Science’ (1942), The Sociology of Science: Empirical and Theoretical Investigations (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1973): pp. 267–278.
Stuart Ritchie (Science Fictions: The Epidemic of Fraud, Bias, Negligence and Hype in Science)
People watch cable news as a form of entertainment, and they don’t want to learn anything that contradicts what they already believe. What they want is information that confirms their preexisting biases, falsely presented through the structure of traditional broadcasting. It had to look like objective journalism, but only if the volume was muted. Moreover, the bias expressed cannot be subtle or unpredictable; partisan audiences want to know what they’re getting before they actually get it. Unless cataclysmic events are actively breaking, the purpose of cable news is emotional reassurance.
Chuck Klosterman (The Nineties: A Book)
We must listen across at least as many years into our future as those journals lay hidden in our past. We will not try to predict the discoveries yet to be made within those pages. We say only that they must be made. How can we turn our backs on our most important inheritance?
Frank Herbert (God Emperor of Dune (Dune, #4))
Journalism always takes a side, whether the journalist chooses to admit it or not. (Interview in Brasilwire)
Carlos Latuff
Pronin had them fill in the blank spaces: Emily Pronin et al., “You Don’t Know Me, But I Know You: The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81, no. 4 (2001): 639–56, APA PsychNET. I quoted part of Pronin’s conclusion. But the whole paragraph is worth considering: The conviction that we know others better than they know us—and that we may have insights about them they lack (but not vice versa)—leads us to talk when we would do well to listen and to be less patient than we ought to be when others express the conviction that they are the ones who are being misunderstood or judged unfairly. The same convictions can make us reluctant to take advice from others who cannot know our private thoughts, feelings, interpretations of events, or motives, but all too willing to give advice to others based on our views of their past behavior, without adequate attention to their thoughts, feelings, interpretations, and motives. Indeed, the biases documented here may create a barrier to the type of exchanges of information, and especially to the type of careful and respectful listening, that can go a long way to attenuating the feelings of frustration and resentment that accompany interpersonal and intergroup conflict.
Malcolm Gladwell (Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know)
There are multiple ways to implement CBT in your daily life outside of an in-depth subconscious reprogram. Recall that the purpose of CBT is to uproot beliefs that no longer serve you in a positive way. Therefore, to implement CBT daily, look for techniques that allow you to reflect on yourself and your experiences more objectively. Here are some examples: • Journaling. Writing things down not only ensures that memories are accurately recorded for future reflection, but also helps us to evaluate emotions that we experienced in certain situations. From there, we can look for patterns experienced in different areas of life and core wounds that may need to be addressed. • Meditation. Meditation is a wonderful tool that can be an aid to objectively reflect upon ourselves. It helps clear out biases and brings us back to the present. It is incredibly powerful and significantly improves our ability to find contradictory proof throughout the day. • Open Communication. Discuss what you felt throughout the day with your friends, partners, or family. By doing this, you have a sounding board to help you assess the validity of the stories you tell yourself. For example, if you interpreted a friend’s reaction in one way, your partner may be able to give you a new way to look at the situation. Talking through challenges with someone who can be open and unbiased often helps to remove the untrue stories we are telling ourselves. There are a variety of ways to implement certain aspects of CBT in our daily lives, but it is essential to step back and do a deep dive when you feel strongly triggered about something. Generally, the more meaning assigned to a situation and the more pain caused by it, the deeper the trigger and the more important it is to address. By following these steps, fundamental change can be seen in all areas of your life.
Thais Gibson (Attachment Theory: A Guide to Strengthening the Relationships in Your Life)
Base your understanding of the world on data, rather than journalism. Journalism is a highly non random sample of the worst things that have happened in any given period. It is an availability machine, in the sense of Tversky and Kahneman's availability heuristic; namely - our sense of risk, danger and prevalence is driven by anecdotes, images and narratives that are available in memory. A lot of good things are either things that "don't happen" (like a country at peace, or a city that has not been attacked by terrorists, which almost by definition are not news), or things that build up incrementally, a few percentage points a year, and then compound (like the decline of extreme poverty). We can be unaware, out to lunch about what's happening in the world if we base our view on the news. If instead we base our view on data, then not only do we see that many (although not all) things have gone better (not linearly, not without setbacks and reversals, but in general a lot better... and that paradoxically, as I've cheekily put it, progressives hate progress), but also that the best possible case for progress - that is, for striving for more progress in the future, for being a true progressive - is not to have some kind of foolish hope, but to look at the fact that progress has taken place in the past; and that means: why should it stop now?
Steven Pinker
The profession of journalism is an important one and considered by many to be a mandatory component of a free society. Will you get access to the brightest minds and greatest reporters for free? Perhaps, but if we hope to continue to see their best work, society needs to support them properly. Be a paid subscriber.
Christopher Manske (The Prepared Investor: How to Prevent the Next Crisis from Affecting Your Financial Independence)
Fifty per cent of the population have a vagina,’ she continues, ‘and yet there’s hardly any journal articles about this part of anatomy. Three years ago I found about four articles done decades ago.
Caroline Criado Pérez (Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men)
The Columbia Journalism Review analyzed the news outlets most frequently shared by supporters of Trump and Clinton. Fans of both candidates demonstrated a proclivity for outlets supporting their political biases, but the differences between the two camps were stark. On social media, Clinton supporters shared the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and New York Times the most. Trump supporters far and away preferred Breitbart, the Hill, and Fox News. Further down the list, Clinton supporters gravitated to a wide range of liberal outlets, most fairly well known. Trump’s camp, though, included a long list of lesser-known outlets, including the controversial Infowars, a media organization known for denying the occurrence of the Sandy Hook shootings and one I’d witnessed routinely regurgitating Russian propaganda.
Clint Watts (Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News)
The Sunk Cost Fallacy In psychology, one of the most well-known self-defeating behaviors is the “sunk cost fallacy.” It explains why people remain stuck in their circumstances even though they would rather be elsewhere. Some examples are staying in an unfulfilling relationship or keeping a safe but boring job even though you have the opportunity to get better employment. The status quo bias describes the human disposition to cling to what we are familiar with instead of reaching for the unknown. Similar to the Pareto Principle (discussed in chapter 17), the concept has its roots in economics and was founded by economists Richard Zeckhauser and William Samuelson. In 1988, they published a series of studies in the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty. The articles highlighted the fact that even though economics attempts to predict the choice a person will take when faced with more than one alternative, in the real world, most people choose to do nothing and carry on as normal.  A more general term for this tendency is ‘inertia.’ Loss Aversion Theory Why is it that we choose to stick with the same jobs, people, and ambitions? A number of reasons have been put forward to explain this behavior. One reason is based on the “loss aversion theory,” which stipulates that in general, people don’t like losing things, and this is true even if the thing they lose wasn’t of high value. Before moving onto something that is perceived as better, we want evidence to prove that it is going to enhance our lives before detaching ourselves from what is not serving us. Although making a change often leads to a more positive outcome, on a subconscious level, we assume that change will do us more harm than good. Even positive change, such as moving to a nicer home or getting married, requires a lot of thought. There is always a cost associated with change, and most of the time, we don’t want to pay the price.
Daniel Walter (The Power of Discipline: How to Use Self Control and Mental Toughness to Achieve Your Goals)
Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” wrote James Madison about the checks and balances in a democratic government, and that is how other institutions steer communities of biased and ambition-addled people toward disinterested truth. Examples include the adversarial system in law, peer review in science, editing and fact-checking in journalism, academic freedom in universities, and freedom of speech in the public sphere. Disagreement is necessary in deliberations among mortals. As the saying goes, the more we disagree, the more chance there is that at least one of us is right.
Steven Pinker (Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters)
TASSC also ran ads in commercial and campus newspapers across the country, and developed potential congressional testimony on “public health priorities.”70 They also created a “Sound Science in Journalism Award,” first granted to New York Times reporter Gina Kolata, “who responsibly detailed … how science has been distorted and manipulated to fuel litigation” on silicone breast implants.71 (Kolata has subsequently been heavily criticized by scientists, environmentalists, and her journalism colleagues for a persistent proindustry, protechnology bias, and an overt skepticism about environmental causes of cancer.)
Naomi Oreskes (Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming)
Sociologist Barry Glassner (1999) has documented many of the biases introduced by “If it bleeds, it leads” news reporting, and by the strategic efforts of special interest groups to control the agenda of public fear of crime, disease, and other hazards. Is an increase of approximately 700 incidents in 50 states over 7 years an “epidemic” of road rage? Is it conceivable that there is (or ever was) a crisis in children’s day care stemming from predatory satanic cults? In 1994, a research team funded by the U.S. government spent 4 years and $750,000 to reach the conclusion that the myth of satanic conspiracies in day care centers was totally unfounded; not a single verified instance was found (Goodman, Qin, Bottoms, & Shaver, 1994; Nathan & Snedeker, 1995). Are automatic-weapon-toting high school students really the first priority in youth safety? (In 1999, approximately 2,000 school-aged children were identified as murder victims; only 26 of those died in school settings, 14 of them in one tragic incident at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.) The anthropologist Mary Douglas (Douglas & Wildavsky, 1982) pointed out that every culture has a store of exaggerated horrors, many of them promoted by special interest factions or to defend cultural ideologies. For example, impure water had been a hazard in 14th-century Europe, but only after Jews were accused of poisoning wells did the citizenry become preoccupied with it as a major problem. But the original news reports are not always ill-motivated. We all tend to code and mention characteristics that are unusual (that occur infrequently). [...] The result is that the frequencies of these distinctive characteristics, among the class of people considered, tend to be overestimated.
Reid Hastie (Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making)
The Scythe Commandments 1) Thou shalt kill. 2) Thou shalt kill with no bias, bigotry, or malice aforethought. 3) Thou shalt grant an annum of immunity to the beloved of those who accept your coming, and to anyone else you deem worthy. 4) Thou shalt kill the beloved of those who resist. 5) Thou shalt serve humanity for the full span of thy days, and thy family shall have immunity as recompense for as long as you live. 6) Thou shalt lead an exemplary life in word and deed, and keep a journal of each and every day. 7) Thou shalt kill no scythe beyond thyself. 8) Thou shalt claim no earthly possessions, save thy robes, ring, and journal. 9) Thou shalt have neither spouse nor spawn. 10) Thou shalt be beholden to no laws beyond these.
Neal Shusterman (Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1))
The index is supposed to keep the world free from cultural and genetic bias, but aren’t there underlying factors that we can’t escape? For instance, who decided that the first number of one’s genetic index would be Caucasoid? —From the gleaning journal of H.S. Curie
Neal Shusterman (Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1))
The university view of the media says that the New York Times is entirely objective, not wildly biased. Ditto for the Los Angeles Times. So too for CNN. In fact, the only non-objective news sources are Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Drudge Report. There is no liberal bias in the media.
Ben Shapiro (Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth)
Our memories are unreliable. We often trick ourselves into believing things about our experiences that are biased and inaccurate
Ryder Carroll (The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future)
Republicans accept as a well-documented fact of life that an overwhelming majority of the media is slanted against them.4 They take critical media coverage for granted. The Obama administration does not. So much so that harsh criticism by a news outlet is viewed as intolerable dissent. Moreover, this broadside from the president of the United States was not buttressed by facts. Pew Research Center found that from September 8 through October 16 of the 2008 campaign—the heat of the election cycle—40 percent of Fox News stories on then-Senator Obama were negative as were 40 percent of the network’s stories on Senator John McCain, Obama’s Republican opponent. You can’t get more fair and balanced than that. If you wanted to see bias against a candidate, CNN and MSNBC were better examples. Pew found that 61 percent of CNN’s stories on John McCain were negative, compared to only 39 percent of their Obama stories. The disparity was even greater at MSNBC where a mere 14 percent of Obama stories were negative, compared to a whopping 73 percent of McCain stories (and only 10 percent of MSNBC’s coverage of McCain was rated as positive). Overall, according to an October 2007 study of media coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign by the Project for Excellence in Journalism (funded by Pew) in collaboration with Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and Public Policy, the press gave much more favorable coverage to Democratic candidates, noting, for example, that 46.7 percent of stories about Barack Obama had a positive tone, while only 12.4 percent of stories about John McCain did.5 Obama should have been counting his blessings, not complaining about the one news television outlet that wouldn’t fall in line. He had received, by some measures, the most laudatory press coverage of any senatorial or presidential candidate in recent history.6
Kirsten Powers (The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech)
Politicians are like this because they respond rationally to the incentives democracy creates.

 If voters were well-informed, dispassionate policy-wonks, then political campaigns would resemble peer-reviewed economics journals. But few voters or potential voters are like that. As I’ll document at greater length in future blog posts here, most voters are poorly informed, passionate, biased, overconfident, and tribalistic. Most non-voters are not dispassionate truth-seekers; rather, they just don’t care much at all.
Jason Brennan
Today conservatism has arrived in that dark place. Even as American journalism lurches palpably to the right, the best-selling right-wing media critics go from shrill to shriller, from charges of “bias” to Coulteresque accusations of outright “left-wing indoctrination.” The backlash worldview is less true than ever, and yet conservatives rely on it more and more. It has migrated from the periphery to the very center of the backlash worldview. It is the assertion on which all else rests.
Thomas Frank (What's the Matter With Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America) February 11, 2015 · From Love Thy Neighbor" On journalism and news purists as well as why I pursued print instead of TV journalism/news at the No. 1 journalism school in the country: news reporters are willing to take risks "so that people can base their lives on a foundation of truth not lies. That's why I do it -- to be the one responsible voice in the crowd." Page 105' "Love Thy Neighbor
Diane Moore
A political reporter’s job is to challenge an elected official, make them explain policy decisions, hold them accountable for mistakes, and explore what it is, exactly, they want to do for the future. None of that is bias. It’s journalism. And both sides complain regularly about it.
Jim Heath (Front Row Seat at the Circus: One Journalist's Journey Through Two Presidential Elections)
But today, journalism schools teach a mantra that scientists will say is completely false: “there is no such thing as objectivity”—a phrase frequently repeated by some of the profession’s leading figures, and contained in many newspaper reporters’ guidelines. This conceit may be true when reporting on politics or interviewing the witnesses to a crime, but it is decidedly not true when it comes to reporting on events or issues that have large inputs of objective knowledge from science, even when those issues or events are political. For such stories, we have developed a unique, reproducible, peer-reviewed method of scientific research whose very purpose is to create the objective knowledge reporters seem to think cannot be had. The process of science is designed to cull out reliable knowledge—no matter who does the investigating or reports on the outcome—from our gender identities, our political identities, our religious identities, our sexual identities, our cultural identities, and so on, trimming away all those subjective forms of bias reporters think we can never escape until we are left with knowledge that is provisionally objective in the stories we tell about reality. While it may not be possible to attain total objectivity, approaching it is what science is all about, and the reliable knowledge it produces is responsible for every advance in the modern world.
Shawn Lawrence Otto (The War on Science: Who's Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It)
As a journalist, in blindly, parroting these police reports, I am also leaving out a significant amount of social context- the context, and begging question all social institutions ought to consider, of whether it is actually advantageous to anyone to persecute nonviolent offenders with a medieval vigilance that feeds the very problems it hopes to fight, and to waste both police resources and valuable news time lending importance to something that is so obviously only “News” in the way that it highlights a particularly ugly facet of our criminal justice system, and by doing so, we lend it a power which is ethically not its due.
Alice Minium
This style of reporting parrots and gives greater legitimacy to the frankly disturbing level of vigilance police seem to exercise in their war on poor nonviolent offenders, a vigilance which all too clearly paints a scantly unflattering portrait of the priorities of police, and the prevalence of white supremacist attitudes across all institutional levels.
Alice Minium
I don’t think anyone deserves to rot in jail the rest of their lives for stealing a pack of cigarettes. The court systems will be no kinder to these people than police have been, and both are avid practitioners of a convenient morality that consigns millions of black Americans to poverty with its selective policies, then persecutes those same black Americans at a disproportionate rate (almost a rate of 1:5) for the same (often nonviolent) crimes, openly regards black Americans with brutality (often killing people in cold blood for no reason other than that they ‘look like’ the grainy photos of 'suspects' I report), and then condemns millions of black Americans, each year, to lives in prison- too often for nothing more than the crime of stealing a pack of cigarettes.
Alice Minium
Popular media uses the depersonalized ‘Unidentified Black Suspect’ as little more than a plot device in its parable of implicit racism- while ignoring the fact that these are people, not plot devices, and that black lives are not ours to own, and the story of black culture is not one white people get to define and rewrite according to what generates clicks and viewership.
Alice Minium
desire for personal fame is the same instinct that leads some reporters to embellish their reporting or embellish their role in their reporting. To them, it is more important to be celebrated than believed. Reporters who grasp for fame have forgotten that journalism has nothing to do with being popular. If you report the facts with courage and without bias, you’re more likely to be unpopular.
Scott Pelley (Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter's Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times)
Journalism is not supposed to generate a profit but inform the public in the least biased manner possible about important matters and I fear until the former is again true the latter never shall be.
C.A.A. Savastano
Selective reporting of crimes such as the Appalachian Law School attack isn’t just poor journalism, it could actually endanger people’s lives. By turning a defensive gun use story into one where students merely “overpowered a gunman,” the media gives potential victims the wrong impression of what works when confronted by violence.
John R. Lott Jr. (The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You'Ve Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong)
Gone are the days when media reported now they are reported.
Amit Abraham
A common feature of epidemiological data is that they are almost certain to be biased, of doubtful quality, or incomplete (and sometimes all three),” explained the epidemiologist John Bailar in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1980. “Problems do not disappear even if one has flawless data, since the statistical associations in almost any nontrivial set of observations are subject to many interpretations. This ambiguity exists because of the difficulty of sorting out causes, effects, concomitant variables, and random fluctuations when the causes are multiple or diffuse, the exposure levels low, irregular, or hard to measure, and the relevant biologic mechanisms poorly understood. Even when the data are generally accepted as accurate, there is much room for individual judgment, and the considered conclusions of the investigators on these matters determine what they will label ‘cause’…
Gary Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease)
We’re all programmed with a negativity bias.
Ryder Carroll (The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future)
Claude Steele, this time joined by Geoffrey Cohen, offers important insights. To investigate how a teacher might gain the trust of a student when giving feedback across racial lines, they created a scenario in which Black and White Stanford University students were asked to write essays about a favorite teacher. The students were told that the essays would be considered for publication in a journal about teaching and that they would receive feedback from a reviewer who they were led to believe was White. A Polaroid snapshot was taken of each student and attached to the essay as it was turned in, signaling to the students that the reviewer would be able to identify the race of the essay writer. Several days later the students returned to receive the reviewer’s comments, with the opportunity to “revise and resubmit” the essay. What was varied in the experiment was how the feedback was delivered. When the feedback was given in a constructive but critical manner, Black students were more suspicious than white students that the feedback was racially biased, and consequently, the Black students were less likely than the White students to rewrite the essay for further consideration. The same was true when the critical feedback was buffered by an opening statement praising the essay, such as “There were many good things about your essay.” However, when the feedback was introduced by a statement that conveyed a high standard (reminding the writer that the essay had to be of publishable quality) and high expectations (assuring the student of the reviewer’s belief that with effort and attention to the feedback, the standard could be met), the Black students not only responded positively by revising the essays and resubmitting them, but they did so at a higher rate than the White students in the study.66
Beverly Daniel Tatum (Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?)
The proliferation of news outlets and the democratization of information through the internet gives Americans the power to be more informed than ever, but it also makes it easier for us to feast on a diet of information that echoes and never challenges our biases and our beliefs. This deepens our divisions and makes them more difficult to overcome.
Jonathan Karl (Front Row at the Trump Show)
These changes have been steadily eroding the barrier between scholarship and activism. It used to be considered a failure of teaching or scholarship to work from a particular ideological standpoint. The teacher or scholar was expected to set aside her own biases and beliefs in order to approach her subject as objectively as possible. Academics were incentivized to do so by knowing that other scholars could—and would—point out evidence of bias or motivated reasoning and counter it with evidence and argument. Teachers could consider their attempts at objectivity successful if their students did not know what their political or ideological positions were. This is not how Social Justice scholarship works or is applied to education. Teaching is now supposed to be a political act, and only one type of politics is acceptable—identity politics, as defined by Social Justice and Theory. In subjects ranging from gender studies to English literature, it is now perfectly acceptable to state a theoretical or ideological position and then use that lens to examine the material, without making any attempt to falsify one’s interpretation by including disconfirming evidence or alternative explanations. Now, scholars can openly declare themselves to be activists and teach activism in courses that require students to accept the ideological basis of Social Justice as true and produce work that supports it.38 One particularly infamous 2016 paper in Géneros: Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies even favorably likened women’s studies to HIV and Ebola, advocating that it spread its version of feminism like an immune-suppressing virus, using students-turned-activists as carriers.39
Helen Pluckrose (Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody)
[...] The problems I’ve discussed are not limited to psychiatry, although they reach their most florid form there. Similar conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. (Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption, Jan 15 2009)
Marcia Angell
In a story on the U.S.-brokered security pact between the government of Sudan and southern rebel groups, the New York Times referred to the war in Sudan as "a pet cause of many American religious conservatives." It is hard to imagine the Times describing the plight of Soviet Jewry as a "pet cause" of American Jews, or opposition to apartheid as a "pet cause" of African-Americans.
Paul Marshall (Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion)
When you read an account in a journal you take a huge amount on trust. You have to take on trust that they did the things they said they did. And while we do always have to trust people to a degree, we don’t trust them as much as we used to. Statistics used to be seen as analysing data, the combination of numbers. I’ve come to see that as the least important part. The difficult bit is how you design a study, collect the data, avoid bias and provide an honest representation of what you found.
Douglas Altman
It's the great flax of journalism: The more something happens, the less newsworthy it is. We have follow the same trajectory as the stock market---sustained and unstoppable growth.
Nathan Hill (The Nix)
I woke up an hour later, and my phone was exploding. I had hundreds of new Twitter followers and a stream of text messages. The texts came from second cousins and high school friends in Texas, from at least two senators, one sitting cabinet secretary, and a former Wall Street Journal colleague in Hong Kong. My first thought was that I must’ve inserted a terrible mistake in our story. My career was over. Then I saw @RealDonaldTrump’s tweet: “Third rate reporters Amy Chozick and Maggie Haberman of the failing @nytimes are totally in the Hillary circle of bias. Think about Bill!
Amy Chozick (Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling)
When I first started to use a decision journal, it was clear to me that I had optimism bias. This means I was focusing on the possible positive outcomes while not anticipating and preparing for potential negative ones.
Sam Kyle (The Decision Checklist: A Practical Guide to Avoiding Problems)
Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you implement your decision journal. Get beyond the obvious. Often your first thoughts aren’t your own, but are the thinking of someone else. So try to get beyond the brief and obvious insights. Handwrite in your journal. Technology is great, but writing things down in your own handwriting will keep you honest and help prevent hindsight bias. It’s easy to look at a document on your computer screen and say, “I didn’t see it that way.” It’s a lot harder to look at your own handwriting and say the same thing. Be specific and concrete. Avoid vague language. If you’re stuck in the fog of abstractions, you’re not ready to make a decision, and it will be easy to change definitions to fit any new information. Write down the probabilities as you see them. Review your journal often. I review mine quarterly. This is an important part of the process. It helps you to realize where you made mistakes, how you made them, what types of decisions you’re bad at, etc. If you share your journal with a coach, they can review it and help you identify areas for improvement. Remember it’s not just about outcomes. Maybe you made the right decision (which, in our sense, means used a good process) and still had a bad outcome. That’s called a bad break. On the other hand, maybe you discovered that you had a good outcome for the wrong reasons (i.e., despite a bad process), and a decision journal will stop you from being overly confident in using that process in the future.
Sam Kyle (The Decision Checklist: A Practical Guide to Avoiding Problems)
Keeping a decision journal prevents something called hindsight bias, which is when we tend to look back on our decision-making process, and we skew it in a way that makes us look more favorable.
Sam Kyle (The Decision Checklist: A Practical Guide to Avoiding Problems)