Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lean to the Left, Lean to the Right

Even though I'm a writer, I've learned a long long time ago that a reader should never take anything at face value. Just because you read it doesn't mean it is the whole truth.

I read an article today about mothers who can't say no to their children and the consequences. The article used the age-old stereotype of moms who work don't have time for their children, so they give in to their child's every whim. It was the only premise offered in the article -- mothers who work and are "too busy" for their kids. Yeah, the article had some truth to it, but it missed a whole lot of other issues -- mothers who are trying to make up for an absent father, mothers who give in to peer pressure and think saying yes all the time will mean their kids will fit in with the crowd, mothers who want to be their child's best friend rather than a parent. It wasn't an untrue article, but the author created a slant and the readers will only come away with part of the story.

Writers aren't experts (although sometimes we forget that). It's our job to find enough information to present mulitple sides of the story that allow the reader to learn something new and to make his or her own opinion. Even so, there will always be some sort of slant. The writer gets to pick out the information that interests her most, sometimes she gets to pick the pros and cons, the slant.

As readers, we have to remember that one article's slant isn't the whole truth. As writers, we have to remember to present multiple points of view so the reader can make an informed opinion.

1 comment:

Patti said...

look at you blog!
and i learned these lesson a long time ago. my dad was in the media back in the day. he was always telling us to question the motives behind a story.