View single post by PvtClewell
 Posted: Mon Dec 3rd, 2007 02:44 pm
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Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420

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Journalists write the first draft of history (thus, making them historians?)

I would argue that the historians who follow distill the facts and offer interpretations (as opposed to lessons). Some interpretations are more valid than others and this is where bias comes in.

Bias is everywhere. Journalists are supposed to be objective, but pure objectivity is impossible. As a journalist, I might cover a basketball game saying the Blue team's defense stopped the Red team's offense (because that's how I saw it), and then the next day get an angry letter from a fan saying, 'What, are you crazy? The Red team lost because it's offense was pathetic and the Blue team had nothing to do with it.' It all comes down to point of view (which might be a better term than 'bias' in this discussion). Who's right, me or the fan?

Ten years later, a historian might review the game (perhaps using the story I wrote as a primary source) and interpret the Red team's loss because of faulty strategy or a key injury, or the Blue team won because of superior coaching. Is the historian biased?

This is an interesting thread, but given that we all come with bias or points of view, to what purpose?

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