OLD Media Moves

In praise of bias in tech reporting

July 19, 2008

Matt Asay of CNET writes Saturday that he prefers his business and technology reporters disclose their bias when they write.

Matt AsayAsay writes, “It’s the commentary that makes ‘news’ interesting, and that commentary is always heavily flavored by bias.

“Bias isn’t the problem. Lack of disclosure of the bias is the problem.

“This is what makes Walt Mossberg’s Personal Technology column for the Wall Street Journal so great. Anyone that reads it regularly knows that Mossberg is heavily biased. He doesn’t try to hide it. In fact, unique among technology writers, he actually discloses his bias:

I am not an objective news reporter, and am not responsible for business coverage of technology companies. I am a subjective opinion columnist, a reviewer of consumer technology products and a commentator on technology issues.

“Bravo! Now, this would be even better if he spelled out that he generally prefers Apple to Microsoft, etc., but at least he’s making a start. The point is that regular readers know where he stands on issues, and it is precisely when we see his opinion on a product diverge from that bias that the article becomes newsworthy, rather than just confirmatory of the established order of things.”

Read more here.

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