Are you a soldier or a scout?

Unconscious bias infects our every thought and decision. It is a given, and most of the time we learn to live with our own (and with others’) biases. However, as media content producers we should learn a few best practices to minimize the effect of our personal biases if we want to rise above petty partisanship and minimize the reproach of our readers/listeners/viewers. As the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics says, “Seek the Truth and Report it.”

The YouTube video below by Julia Galef explains how we approach new information from different perspectives when we’re acting as a soldier or a scout. The “soldier” is seeking to win the battle, while the “scout” is simply trying to understand the context and the facts on the ground.

This concept also applies to the role of media consumer. When you’re consuming new information try to step outside of your team/group identity before you rush to judgement. Try to adopt a scout mindset, especially when confronted with information that counters your existing values and opinions. If we can all take a small step in that direction we’ll find that truth is much more likely to begin to chip away at our unconscious biases.

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