Whether they support Obama or Romney, are freelance writers really able to write a political article without any political bias? Maybe it's possible during a minor election, but what about when it comes to the presidential race? Can writers truly keep their own political views out of their writing? The race between President and during the current 2012 presidential election has certainly made it difficult to do!
Freelance writers are still voters
Even when you're on the clock and writing for a client, freelance writers are still voters. As a longtime professional writer that recognizes the need to write objectively, I can honestly say it is not always easy to do. Even if you're not necessarily up on the latest politics of the day, the presidential election is something you take note of. Better health care, rising employment; over the course of the election year, the political issues have a way of creeping into everything. Whether you believe that Obama has had a positive impact on the country, or you're on the Romney bandwagon, your views don't go unnoticed.
Safe topics or political bias?
To some freelance writers, the choice between writing about safe topics and giving into political bias is obvious. Having chosen not to write about the elections this year, I found it easier to keep my tongue and my personal opinions in check. The only way I could really refrain from straying too far from objectivity was not to write about daily affairs.
Writing about "safe" topics to avoid political bias may seem like the coward's way out, but each writer must do what works best in their own individual case. Freelance writers who make their bread and butter from writing know better than to blatantly speak in a tone that is politically biased. Neither your clients nor their readers want to hear that you prefer Obama over Romney. They could care less about the writer's presidential choice, even if the article happens to be pertaining to the presidential campaign. If your assignment was to cover the presidential debates, that is what you are expected to report. Write about the actual comments and discussion between Obama and Romney, not about your personal or related political views. You might even have the task of reporting on the moderators and how they handle the task of keeping Obama and Romney on track. If that is the assignment, that is what the writer is supposed to stick to, regardless of personal opinions about moderators Candy Crowley or Bob Schieffer.
Obama and Romney editorials
Political views concerning Obama or Romney should be limited to editorials or commentaries. As writers, our job is to state the facts and nothing but the facts. Does that mean that a reader can read a piece of writing, and have no idea about the writer's political or social views? Not necessarily. In most cases, you can pretty much get a sense about a writer's politics, even when they write non-political articles.
In many ways, the 2012 election results are almost as highly anticipated as the preceding presidential election in 2008. That statement is saying a lot, considering Barack Obama was elected as the 44th president of the United States and the first African American to hold the office. But just like a sequel to a phenomenally popular movie (think "Twilight"), people all over the world are anxious about how the political saga will play out. As for this writer, I'll refrain from voicing any political bias about Obama or Romney and just wait until the movie is released!
If you like writing about US politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.