Independence Day

The Ranter declares independence from the Left/Right duopoly.

Independence Day, July 4th, 2020, marks the birth of Independent Perceptions at independentrantsandraves.blog. This is a non-partisan website devoted to politics, history, and economics. In describing and analyzing the world, Independent Perceptions refuses to accept that the world must be reduced to only two filters: Left and Right. There are often more than two options to address any public policy problem, so a “bi-partisan” approach differs from a non-partisan approach. Even a bi-partisan approach purposefully omits facts that are relevant to viable policy options. To improve public discourse, we must find a way to let more facts be submitted to the world.

This is a personal blog, not a news organization. Current events are only a small part of the scope. However, the failings of many news organizations instigated this blog. When checking facts of news stories for myself, there were too many examples of fundamental errors in what I was reading and viewing. Sometimes, the error was blatant, but more often it was due to selective presentation of the facts. When an agency or research institute releases a report, I can not trust news sources to summarize the report’s scope and findings accurately.

One example was the Mueller Report on Russian interference in the 2016 US election. The Department of Justice released a pdf copy of the Mueller Report on the web. I read it myself before consuming mass media coverage and without a preface by Alan Derschowitz, the Washington Post editorial board, or anyone to put it in a Left/Right framework for me. The media silence (both Left and Right) on some subjects was staggering, especially when the report included Russian quotes like “The main idea is to…” The topic was Russian interference and there seemed to be a bi-partisan willingness to exclude the expressed Russian intent as quoted in the report from public discussion of the report’s findings.

The coverage of the Mueller Report and other distortions are unethical, even if Democratic and Republican leaders prefer the omissions. That is the difference between bi-partisan “balance” and non-partisan assessment. According to the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics, “never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information.” Yet fact checkers of news networks find bias through omission.

For example, according to mediabiasfactcheck.com, CNN misleads audiences through selective omission of facts to favor the political left.

Overall, we rate CNN left biased based on editorial positions that consistently favors the left, while straight news reporting falls left-center through bias by omission. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to several failed fact checks by TV hosts. However, news reporting on the website tends to be properly sourced with minimal failed fact checks.

Mediabiasfactcheck.com is even more critical of Fox News.

Overall, we rate Fox News strongly Right-Biased due to editorial positions and story selection that favors the right. We also rate them Mixed factually and borderline Questionable based on poor sourcing and the spreading of conspiracy theories that later must be retracted after being widely shared. Further, Fox News would be rated a Questionable source based on numerous failed fact checks by hosts and pundits, however, straight news reporting is generally reliable, therefore we rate them Mixed for factual reporting.

Independent Perceptions recognizes the subjectivity of a list of facts. The movie the Wizard of Oz has been described as – a juvenile defying local authorities escapes to a new town, kills the first woman she encounters, then lures three men to help her hunt down and kill the first victim’s sister. The elements of this description are basically true, but mislead the reader into believing the movie is a film noir crime story instead of a fantastical adventure of a child in a mythical land. By selecting which facts are relevant, some bias is unavoidable.

Independent Perceptions attempts to frame issues and select facts beyond the partisan duopoly. Non-partisan means approaching problems by (1) trying to identify the various issues that individual people face related to the topic, (2) consider how those issues are addressed at the present time if at all, (3) frame the advantages and disadvantages of alternative solutions within a logical structure, and (4) reach some sort of conclusion or implications. Some readers may recognize IRAC: Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion.

In honor of July 4th, you can find the Declaration of Independence on the Archives website. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Repeat – let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

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