Have you ever noticed how supposedly impartial news articles are utterly biased? I don’t read newspapers, haven’t done for years. They are generally filled with hateful opinion pieces that contain very little actual news. I occasionally catch up on what’s going on in the outside world by glancing at the BBC, but even they have their fair share of agenda pushing claptrap.
You know the one that really gets to me? When they say ‘Government U-turn on issue X’. It’s sensationalism at its best. If you look at it from a sensible point of view, what they are saying is, the Government originally had idea X, they looked into it and decided that it was not feasible nor cost effective in reality and therefore no longer wish to pursue it. That is how I would expect the Government to act. To blindly push on with your ideas without regard to their usefulness nor effect on others is how dictatorships are born. However a headline of ‘Government acts in a reasonable manner on issue X’ won’t make sales.
This use of language to twist how an idea is presented is utterly relevant to writers. The way we tell the story directly reflects our opinion of it and is how we try to guide our readers opinion. If we were to write in an entirely impartial and unbiased manner the work would read as though it were written by a robot. I think it’s important to consider the meaning between the lines of your work and how it presents to others. This way you know who you are likely to attract as a reader (i.e. someone of like mind to you) and who you are likely to repel.
Let’s say you have a character of ‘loose virtue’ in your book, if you consistently refer to him/her with negative language or even if you use your other characters to place that negativity onto that character for you, then that is the opinion you are trying to push onto the reader. Consider:
“Aaron is a complete slut, the first thing he does in the morning is trim his man bush to look tidy for whichever female he’s going to boink in the evening”
“Aaron is a free spirit, he loves all kinds of women... frequently”
The difference is subtle but the resulting spin is markedly altered.
So be careful what language you use in your work, it speaks volumes about you the writer, and your characters position on certain subjects and will ultimately project onto the reader in one way or another.