I’ve been paying closer attention to the Congressional races in Illinois this year, probably because one of the candidates is a cousin to me. I’m not sure I want to say which one because this isn’t a political column and, oh yeah, I’m completely biased.
As a pseudo-journalist, I can talk all day about bias. But at the end of the day, it’s not about bias. It’s about fairness. That creates an interesting juxtaposition for me because bias doesn’t make you wrong.
Reporters are allowed to have opinions, and every story placement, every headline, every lead sentence and whether a story is even done at all reflect somebody’s bias. The news staff has to decide what it believes is best – what is fair.
But, in this case, I don’t have any intention of being fair. My candidate is über-qualified and the other guy is not. If I wanted to be fair, I would have to give both sides about the same amount of ink and let them try to convince the reader; the reporter is just the conduit.
Personally, I think some reporters, in an effort to be fair, don’t always ask the tough questions that would be fair to ask. They become tape recorders and not reporters.
But I digress.
This election process has been an eye-opener for me. I’m not quite an outsider, yet not quite an insider. I live too far away from the campaign to play a big role, but I’m close enough to see some of the underhanded shenanigans coming from the other side. It’s all the other side, you know.
I wanted to get a little closer to the action, so I attended a recent debate and secured press credentials so I could go backstage and sit in on the press conferences. And the one thing I learned more than anything is that I didn’t belong there.
During the press conference portion, I didn’t ask any questions of the two major-party candidates. I just observed. When my guy came out, I thought of some questions I could ask – questions I already knew the answer to and knew he could hit out of the ballpark. But that wouldn’t be fair.
I sat in on the opposition’s conference, but again, I just observed. I wanted to ask a few pointed questions. But I didn’t. It would not be fair for me to hijack the press conference.
That’s why I haven’t mentioned my cousin’s name here. It’s a fairness issue. Yeah, I think he’s the best candidate, and my bias doesn’t make me wrong. I think my guy is immensely qualified and I think the other guy isn’t qualified at all.
If you remove the ideology differences, there’s no comparison between the two. One has more experience, more education and more clout and credibility. The other one has a lot of money.
But an endorsement from me doesn’t carry any weight in this race. I don’t live in the district and I have an obvious bias. But that doesn’t mean my guy isn’t the right guy for the job. You can see my quandary. A solid endorsement can be invalidated by bias. Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but in my business, I trade on my integrity.
So, if you’re a voter with integrity, here’s what you can do: Take a good look at all the candidates. Go to their websites. Look beyond the rhetoric, the talking points and the third-party attack ads. Look for substance. Look for proven qualities. Look for leadership. Look for credibility.
Don’t look at just one guy and go, “That’s my guy.” Look at all the men and women running and make an informed decision. That’s fair.
©Copyright 2012 by David Porter who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. All rights reserved, voted, promoted and wrapped in fairness.