Are the terms “contextual” or “analytical” or “explanatory” or “interpretive” news just euphemisms for biased news?

There is a difference between opinion that is shaped by evidence, even evidence inconvenient for the perspective the author would like to take—and opinion so set in stone that no accumulation of evidence can dislodge it. There is a difference between exploring a subject and preaching about it. In everyday life, we all know we cannot entirely escape our initial standpoint whether in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity, or height and weight. We see the world from our own vantage. At the same time, we also have experienced the honest effort to put our background to the side to try to see a situation from someone else's position. Someone may ask what to do regarding a dilemma or choice before them. We listen—that is the first task, and respond, "Well, if I were in your shoes ... ," trying to imagine what would be the other person's—not our own—best interest. Can we ever do this fully? No. Can we take an honest stab at it? Certainly.

Much of the world's economic, political, military, diplomatic, social, and cultural currents are not easy to present simply. This does not mean that journalists should be confined to just presenting official reports and speeches and quoting leaders from the top parties and calling it a day. This practice, as critics began to say with growing insistence in the 1960s and 1970s, is itself a bias—a bias toward the established, the official, and the conventional. The reporter can and to some extent must think through, analyze, frame, and interpret—regardless of his or her own wishes about what the evidence should mean. The reporter's first question is what does the evidence actually mean?

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