told off yesterday for expressing the opinion that Channel 2, our Australian Broadcasting Commission channell, tends to be left wing. Apparently even saying that displays an unacceptable degree of bias on my part. I have been branded "right wing" and this is "unacceptable".
I like to think that my politics are - well, practical. There are things I would love to see happen but I know they will never happen because of economics or because society does not work in the way that would be needed. I know that is not always considered "acceptable " either.
As an example, I think it is unrealistic to demand that all buildings be made "accessible". It simply is not going to happen because there are competing demands in accessibility. A wheelchair ramp is not the only thing which is needed to make a building accessible. The expense of putting in a ramp in an old building may not be justifiable, especially when there is a finite amount of money available and it is unlikely to be used - but you should try to build new buildings so that they are accessible to all.
There are people who strongly disagree with this point of view. They say anyone should be able to enter any building at any time if they need to do so. In an ideal world yes they would be able to do this - but we do not live in an ideal world. I like to think I am being realistic but I know that there are people who think I am letting the side down when I state another point of view.
But, the question of bias is different. I was told that "words are counted" that the ABC "has to account for every word" and "if there is bias it would be in the other direction". Nonsense. The ABC has been fortunate. It is a largely independent body. Many of those at senior levels are drawn from one side of politics and they employ like minded people.That is understandable but it does influence what they say and do and how the programming is set up. One former presenter of the 7:30 Report made no secret at all of his left wing politics. It influenced the entire programme.
I have no doubt that there are other people from the other side of politics in other television stations, indeed in the ABC itself. I can think of one or two very obvious examples of political bias in commercial television but I just do not watch enough television to know of them all.
Bias happens. It is why I find it important to say to myself, "What's really being said here? Where's the evidence? What was that question designed to do?"
I know that nothing I can say or do will change the views of the person who disagreed with me.
But, I asked them a question, had they heard the story about a lion being on the loose in Essex in England? Oh yes. That was a dreadful thing. If we did not have circuses this sort of thing would not happen.
Oh, it came from a circus did it?
Well of course. Where else would it come from? A zoo would not have allowed it to escape. Someone allowed it to escape but "you know what circus people are like and none of them will say anything".
I see. Well, no lion has been caught. I very much doubt there is a lion on the loose. The reason I doubt it is that any responsible individual would have reported the loss of such a valuable and potentially dangerous animal.
I know my bias is showing.