Fictional Bias

By MacConnell, Michael | Review - Institute of Public Affairs, December 2009 | Go to article overview

Fictional Bias


MacConnell, Michael, Review - Institute of Public Affairs


Even in popular fiction, political bias is a threat to plurality of views, writes Michael MacConnell.

There is a very real and very pervasive left-wing bias amongst the majority of authors busily churning out product to stock the shelves of your local bookstore. This phenomenon is most readily visible within the non-fiction political sections, with the scathing critiques of John Howard and George W. Bush only outnumbered by the Barack Obama hagiographies.

The leftward slant of popular fiction authors is less obvious. The significance is in the influence that novelists possess when compared with those producing films in Hollywood. Michael Moore can craft a movie that carefully and deceitfully mocks guns, pharmaceutical companies, or capitalism itself. How well made they are ultimately means little, as the bulk of people shuffling in and out of cinemas are not looking for a preachy, twohour polemic. Even if they were, the experience of sitting for two hours in an uncomfortable seat, their bladders slowly constricting as the person behind them repeatedly kicks their seat does not allow for a long-lasting, psychological impression. Regular novel readers, however, are making a conscious investment of considerable time; deeply focussed on the novelist's work. Therefore, the chances of making a profound intellectual impact on the reader are greatly increased.

The more rabid social and political commentators of the right often claim that this bias is the result of a conscious design; a plot by those on the left to subvert the minds of readers. The less grounded of the social and political commentators on the left claim that there is no bias, or that if there is one, it is primarily conservative in nature. The moderates on both sides tend to agree that a liberal/left bias exists, but that it has been brought about by altogether more benign circumstances. In order to find out who was closest to the truth, I decided to speak with a group of writers, representing a diverse variety of political beliefs. Surprisingly, I found for the most part a consensus.

Novelists, like any artist, tend to be creative, expressive people. Many of them only come to writing later in life, after other artistic media have fallen short of their expectations. Others, like popular Australian author Karen R. Brooks, wrote successfully from a young age, and combined it with a variety of other artistic achievements. Brooks, who describes herself as a contrarian, has been at various times a law student, checkout operator, army officer, drama teacher, radio host, motion-picture actor, academic, columnist, playwright and novelist, now divides her time mainly between lecturing on cultural and media studies, writing a regular column for the Courier Mail and crafting exotic and alluring fantasy worlds through her novels.

Brooks acknowledges that novelists tend toward the left of politics but argues strongly against the notion that the bias has resulted in an abandonment of conservative themes within popular fiction:

As far as one goes back, in terms of fictional works, from the IUiad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid, right through to the biggest-selling titles on the shelves today, little has changed in terms of how the hero is represented, the trials he endures at the hands of his enemies and the outcomes he strives for.

Brooks received little attention within the Australian media for her use of popular television programs and movies in her lectures, which led to a lengthy stint as radio host at SeaFM and guest appearances on the ABC's Einstein Factor.

Great works of fiction tend to be a response to social upheaval and disenchantment. They are a reaction to inequality or injustice. The people who tend to be attuned to those things often tend to be attracted to progressive politics than conservative. There's no grand left wing conspiracy, it's just people using the medium of fiction to write about the issues that concern them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Fictional Bias
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.