- Factual contradictions otherwise incapable of being resolved about which tentative conclusions may be drawn based on the author’s perceived bias. In the an item on Bloody Sunday, 1905, the two versions said this:
- On Jan. 22nd 1905, 150,000 people gathered … they were a sullen mob. The Tsar was not at home, and the Chief of Police ordered his soldiers to drive the rioters back with their swords: 96 of the protestors were killed and 300 wounded
- On Jan. 22nd 1905, 150,000 people gathered … they were dignified and well organised. The Czar was not at home, and the Chief of Police panicked and ordered his soldiers to drive fire on the crowd: 4,000 of the protestors were killed and 333 wounded
Under normal circumstances the children are to assume that the evidential status of each version is equal: they quickly cotton on that there is no question of one version being ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’. They will pick up ‘a sullen mob’ and ‘dignified and well organised’. From the obvious anti-demonstrator bias of the first version I should expect the users to say: ‘This author likes the Czar so he is giving us a very small figure of the casualties from his policemen’s action; the other author is against the Czar, so he has given a very big figure to make it look as bad as possible. We need to do more work on this to work out where the truth is.’ As their first homework of the year for my IB class in Bombay, I set them to Google how many people were killed. They were dumbfounded by the result, producing a dozen or more variations, as well as many other contradictions, which set us up well for the rest of the year. Historians hooked.
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