“This article is awful! The author is so biased!”
It’s a quote that should be familiar to anyone who’s ever read a comment thread on a major video game Web site. The accusation can apply to a review (which is, by definition, supposed to be biased in one direction or another), a news story (which, theoretically, should be free from any undue bias), or, really, any piece that the commenter doesn’t personally agree with. The implication, of course, is that the author is being unfairly swayed by some unseen factor (money, swag, advertising pressure, or even simple personal preference) and that therefore their reporting or opinion shouldn’t even be considered.
While throwing up an anonymous accusation of bias is easy, answering the charge isn’t always so clear-cut. When I put the question of biased coverage to members of the gaming press, the answers ran the gamut.