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2006 Argument essay Understanding and responding to the AP Argument Essay.

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1 2006 Argument essay Understanding and responding to the AP Argument Essay

2 Le Prompt From talk radio to television shows, from popular magazines to Web blogs, ordinary citizens, political figures, and entertainers express their opinions on a wide range of topics. Are these opinions worthwhile? Does the expression of such opinions foster democratic values? Write an essay in which you take a position on the values of such public statements of opinion, supporting your view with appropriate evidence.

3 What constitute a strong response? Essays earning a score of 8 respond to the prompt effectively, taking a position on the values of public statements of opinion and developing the position with appropriate and convincing evidence. The prose demonstrates an ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing but is not necessarily flawless.

4 What constitute a strong response? Response might consider the roles of media and of citizens Response focuses on prompt: Are public expressions of opinion worthwhile? Knowledge and understanding of current events Awareness of increasing density of public communication

5 What constitute a strong response? Understanding that reader’s position might differ from own, accommodating differing beliefs Carefully explained logic Specific evidence from various realms of public media and discourse Developed evidence with details, not relying on readers to fill in the gaps. Positions are consciously chosen, carefully considered, and emerged from own experience, observation and reading

6 What constitute a weak response? Inability to articulate reasonableness of position Failure to illustrate/prove with clear explanation and evidence/examples Repetition, rather than development, of ideas Circular reasoning (begging the question): “Public expression is good because it is good for citizens to voice their ideas.”

7 What constitute a weak response? Expressed with certainty own point of view, dismissing opposing points of view as ludicrous Substituting (simpler) task by taking position on a public issue, such as gay marriage or immigration reform.

8 What comes to mind? Bono speaks on Africa Rush Limbaugh/Michael Moore--extreme positions Wallen’s reaction to Baldwin and PETA Public expression of opinion Friend easily swayed by emotional arguments, not logic Television and radio provide opportunity to enter public discourse Colbert Report--humor might detract from meaningful discussion

9 My position: Public expression of opinion, despite dangers, contributes to democratic values of our nation. SupportingOpposed Entertainers inspire action: Bono speaks on Africa, Live 8 Television and radio provide opportunity to enter public discourse: Meet the Press, Rush Limbaugh, etc. Only when citizens participate in democracy does a democracy truly represent and govern its people: court ruling removes “under God” from pledge, but citizens aware involved in discourse determine reality of its removal Wallen’s reaction to Baldwin and PETA Friend easily swayed by emotional arguments, not logic-- Rush Limbaugh/Michael Moore--extreme positions Colbert Report--humor might detract from meaningful discussion

10 A Rogerian Arrangement My friend Brian Wallen, a social studies teacher, reacts the same way every time he reads of another celebrity voicing public opinion. Whether it be the constitution-backed barking of NRA-advocate Charlton Heston or the animal- friendly tirades of PETA promoter Alec Baldwin, Wallen always says, “I’ll watch your movies, but I don’t care about your politics.” He raises a common concern of American society: that the public voicing of opinion, right or wrong, contributes nothing to the democracy we place in the hands of our politicians each time we vote. Begin by establishing the issue.

11 A Rogerian Arrangement Mr. Wallen might have a point; perhaps the public expression of opinion, through television and radio, by celebrities or newsmen, could be detrimental to society. With seventy channels to choose from on the 300 million televisions in this country, people are inundated by voices of political pundits, who wield great power. Take, for example, Rush Limbaugh, whose army of fans appear to unquestioningly support his politics. When he voices his opinion on stem cell research--going as far as to attack Parkinson’s sufferer and stem-cell supporter Michael J. Fox--his listeners potentially fall in line and, potentially, overlook the weakness of his ad hominem argument against a process that could save millions of lives. Continue by presenting the opposition’s point of view. Continued

12 A Rogerian Arrangement I have seen seemingly intelligent people, habitual watchers of the evening news and readers of national newspapers, suckered by the faulty logic of film maker Michael Moore. My friend Elizabeth, so impressed by Moore’s Farenheit 911, could not be convinced that her president was anything short of an amoral crook on par with executives of Enron. Indeed, the voicing of public opinion, in this case Michael Moore’s, swayed her point of view.

13 A Rogerian Arrangement Her response, even if overzealous or misguided, is exactly why the public expression of opinion is beneficial to this nation’s democracy. The public expression of opinion we face at every change of our television channels inspires response, inspires support for well-intended causes. This outcome is exactly what U2 front man Bono had in mind when he used his celebrity status to organize Live 8, a world-wide concert intended to do no more than inspire people to participate in a specific democratic act. Transition into your own point of view by addressing flaws of opposing position Continued

14 Rogerian arrangement The event allowed Bono to inform people of his opinion that eight powerful nations should forgive the financial debts of African nations; the outcome was millions of people signing petitions and writing letters to congressmen demanding this requirement. Ultimately, the world is changed because the voicing of public opinion inspired a moral act of democracy.

15 A Rogerian Arrangement It is true, then, that the expression of opinion benefits democracy. What better place for this to occur than on television and radio? These devices engage Americans in discourse, allowing them to become more informed and more involved in public discourse. Television shows like “Meet the Press” present to viewers with opinions of various political pundits, thus engaging them in public discourse, yet they also take the phone calls and e-mails of viewers. In doing so, they directly involve them in the discourse. Continue developing your position. Continued

16 A Rogerian Arrangement Rather than closing people off from the government of their nation, they open doors, giving people the opportunity to speak to their countrymen. It is not a closed discussion, such as might be found in communist China, but an open forum, whereby the people determine how they will be governed by speaking publicly, unafraid.

17 A Rogerian Arrangement Where do you go from there? What other arguments do you make? How do you prove that participation in democracy is beneficial?

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