Scarry’s Law, formulated over a decade ago by this newspaper and named after Richard Scarry, a children’s illustrator, states that politicians mess at their peril with groups that feature in children’s books—farmers, fishermen, train drivers and suchlike.
In professional cycling, the more dangerous surface to race on is not the slippery one, or a rough / cobbled one, but an unpredictable one. The cyclists can slow down, and/or change the angle of approach if they know about the slippery conditions, or broken road surface. Crashes happen when they go into a corner full gas not knowing about the bad road surface condition ahead.
Moving from pro-cycling to media (and people), the problems caused by bias are just the same. It’s easier to deal with a person who you know is strongly, and consistently biased one way or the other1 – irrespective of whether that bias is in alignment with, or against, your own biases views. It’s the unpredictable ones who are harder to read (and deal with). As interesting as people are to write about, in this post, I’ll stick to media.
Karthik wrote about what he considers The Economist’s *shit* coverage of Indian politics, tinted by their bias against Narendra Modi. Yet, he continues to read the newspaper2 for their non-Indian-politics coverage. However, in view of his recent discovery of the Murray Gell-mann Amnesia effect, Karthik ponders whether he can trust The Economist’s viewpoint on other topics anymore. Read his full post here.
My take on this issue is different. It relies on known and unknown biases. Having been a paid subscriber of The Economist for about 8 years now, I have come to identify their bias as ‘Economically Conservative, Socially Liberal‘34.