Although we might strongly favor one side of an argument, our audience should not be able to discern our bias. Facts have convinced us to hold our beliefs, so we should trust that effectively writing the facts will sway others, too. To help, we have compiled six steps that will limit or hide our bias. When it’s so tempting to blast the obvious ignorance and elitism of the other side, we deliver our most effective work by becoming the objective observer.
Write down how you feel
Before we can correct our biases, we must recognize them. Often they arise as we conduct research, so it helps to record how new information affects us. By acknowledging our opinions and what alters them, we can be more aware.
Collect information from many news sources
To avoid absorbing only one journalist’s or publication’s side of an issue, seek articles from across the political spectrum, and consider the reasoning behind different political stances. Watch Fox and CNN. Read the National Review and The New York Times. Try to understand.
Consult social media
If we struggle to rationalize a particular stance, social media offers us a chance to hear from many people who hold that opinion. Drawing from their rationale to balance our writing can ensure we create a piece more interesting to a wider audience.
Sometimes, we insert opinions accidentally, because we include words and phrases that subtly emphasize our point of view—like in fact and it must be remembered that. Text-editing and word processing tools like WordRake flag a lot of these needless words and phrases and suggests removing them.
Show the piece to someone who disagrees
Opponents are our best editors because they have reason to find the weaknesses in what we have written. Seeking the advice of a trusted friend or colleague who disagrees with us can ensure we aren’t being too gracious to our own views. And it might bring them closer to the center.
Reject should and ought
Even if our readers agree with us, they do not want us to tell them what to do or how to feel. Words like should and ought indicate that we think we know a better path for our audience, a sign of opinionated—and, frankly, annoying—writing.
Ironically, if we stick to facts and avoid opinion—if we consider a range of viewpoints—we deliver our most effective and convincing message.