One word I have tried like the dickens to avoid using on critics of things I write and say is “bias.”
Why is that? Because we all have it!
I am biased. You are biased. The folks next door have bias. So does the dude down the street. Or the lady in church. They’re all biased.
So when I hear someone accuse someone else of being “biased,” well … I cringe just a little. The term “bias” falls into that category of epithets one shouldn’t use unless you can claim purity. Where it regards that word, I cannot make such a claim.
I have engaged in countless discussions with readers of commentary I have written over this issue. They call to bitch at me for something that appears under my name in a newspaper column. “Oh, you’re just biased,” they tell me, often in a loud voice. “And you’re not biased?” I might answer. “Not on this,” comes the response. To which I just plain laugh.
To accuse someone of bias is to ignore one’s own weakness … which is that everyone has bias. Indeed, the only people who accuse anyone else of being biased always — without fail — happen to be on the opposite side of the issue under discussion.
So if you want to accuse me of bias, spare yourself the breath. You can say I’m wrong, or that I am mistaken, or that I don’t have my facts straight.
As for bias … forget about it. I won’t hear you.