D5 Class 5.1

Feb 23

Study the Opposition

Find 10 articles that take a different stance on the controversial issue you've been working on. Aim to gather articles from a variety of sources (newspapers, personal blogs, etc.) In some cases, you may find that there are several distinct kinds of opposition:

  • people who disagree with you on principle
  • people who agree on principle but disagree on method

If so, take note of that complication and consider gathering articles for both categories. You may decide to focus just on one group in your speech, but by gathering more sources now, you're prepping for either possibility, allowing you to make that big decision later on, once you know more.

Choose two articles from your collection, one that's completely wrongheaded and another that you're impressed by. Write a ¶ on each article, as follows:

  • A ¶ referencing the wrongheaded article to dismiss the logic of some members of the opposition. Note: quoting from the source will help you pin down your opponent's false logic or bad faith—or whatever other objection you're lodging.
  • A ¶ referencing the impressive article to acknowledge the strength of its argument, followed (possibly) by a refutation of some kind. You may decide to make this a 2-¶ sequence.

From these two responses, choose ONE to share with the class, under the appropriate heading below.

21 responses to “D5 Class 5.1

    • The article ‘Why Gun Control is Not the Answer, and What We Can Do to Stop Gun Violence’, by Clayton Perry is perhaps one of the most imbecilic pieces of writing I have encountered in trying to argue why gun control is ineffective. Perry writes, “Gun control advocates often cite the 11,000 gun murders in this country each year as justification for stricter gun laws”, the sheer ignorance at seeming to state that 11,000 gun murders are not enough for gun control reform to even be a discussion is extremely horrifying. Perry goes on to write about how cancer deaths are five times higher than that of gun-related deaths and even states, “ So why hasn’t anybody proposed legislation to control cancer?”. This is not only alarming in terms of where his morality lies in terms of people losing the 11,000 people that lost their lives to guns each year, but it would also make me question whether Perry is aware of how a crippling disease like cancer works. It does not go into a store, purchase firearms and ammunition, then have the ability to point at someone directly in the face and decide their fate. That is not quite how cancer works, Mr. Perry. Perhaps Perry would only advocate for gun reform if 55,000 people died each year. Maybe that is his limit. This irrational piece shows not only how divided America is on the arms issue but also how people are so willing to clutch at straws too so readily defend the second amendment.

    • The article “Black Lives Matter Doesn’t Really Care About Black Lives Lost Unless Group Can Blame Police” by Fox News’s Rob Smith claims that the Black Lives Matter movement does not care about black lives lost to anything but police brutality and abuse of power. Smith furthers his claim by stating that BLM only cares about black lives being lost when it helps further their agenda. “Yet we see no BLM rallies and marches for Black crime victims, including murder victims. Don’t those Black lives matter? Where are the posters demanding justice for these people? The truth is that the tragic loss of these Black lives can’t be used to further the radical BLM agenda, so the organizations ignores them,“ (Smith). In this claim Smith commits the strawman fallacy in which he misrepresents the Black Lives Matter argument that there needs to be severe repercussions for police brutality and systematic racism related abuse on black citizens by saying that the movement only cares to tackle those crimes and thus does not care about other crimes committed against black people or the general quality of living for black people in America. Smith’s argument hinges upon the intentional misunderstanding that the Black Lives Matter movement only cares to stop abuses of authority and does not actually care about Black Lives. It is illogical to assume that the BLM movement would put so much effort into stopping abuse of authority specifically against black people if they did not care about them in the first place. Smith fails to recognize that BLM prioritizing one relevant issue does not mean that it completely neglects another issue.

      https://www.foxnews.com/opinio.....-rob-smith

    • In the article “Tucker Carlson: Black Lives Matter is Working to Remake and Control the Country – and is Immune from Criticism,” Tucker Carlson of Fox News wrongly and offensively argues that Black Lives Matter is a toxic movement that has turned into its very own political party. Carlson begins by explaining that statistics have shown to have much more positive results when it comes to Black Lives Matter when compared to the presidential candidates. To support this, he includes statements from politicians on both sides showing their support for the movement. This is an outlandish conspiracy, contributing to even further division within the country. As the article continues, Carlson dramatically paints a pitiful picture trying to convey people making racist statements victims. In both of his examples, people are fired from their jobs for saying something related to the All Lives Matter movement. From the outside, this statement does not feel too far off. All lives do matter. But in the refusal to say the statement “Black Lives Matter,” specifically comes the dismissal of an entire history of oppression. To top it all off, Carlson spreads dangerous propaganda in defending police officers by inserting “black on black murder rates” into the article and calling members of the movement “thugs.” This clearly emphasizes his racist mentality. If reporters like Carlson continue to write articles with vicious claims against POC like this one, the division in our country will progress past the point of saving.

      https://www.foxnews.com/opinio.....-criticism

      https://www.stanforddaily.com/.....ainst-blm/

    • The article “Climate Change is Just Another Political Controversy” by Don Haskell dangerously diminishes the pressing severity of the fight against climate change. It is important to note that the author has no background knowledge or education in any scientific field at all, he is a retired attorney and former commissioner, giving no ethos to his, especially concerning since this is an opinion article. The first words of his article are “the climate change debate isn’t really about a change in the worlds climate… the earth has undergone millions of years of hot and cold weather cycles”. This claim is absurd in comparison to the hundreds if not thousands of articles from much more credible sources. To begin an opinion piece which such an off-base and unsupported claim proves the author has more interest in expressing a salacious opinion than making sure it is correct one. Haskell argues in his article that the “federal government spent $37.7 billion in 2014 alone” on the climate change debate. Besides the fact this piece of data has no given source and is not cited, that the U.S. government spent $647.79 billion in military spending (marcotrends.net) and $3 trillion in health care spending (healthaffairs.org) in the same year. He states that “money can warp the opinions of climatologists who are funded primarily on government money” but this accusation then can be directed to any individual in any field that receives money from the government. His final jab at climate change is that “31,487 American scientists of all branches of science, including 9,029 with Ph.D.s, signed …petition to the United States government”. What do scientists in all fields have to do with a claim that is very specific to a certain ecologic study? Why is 31,487 supposed to be an impressive number when according to fas.org, there were 6.9 million scientists in the U.S. in 2016, 4 years before the writing of this article? Haskell’s baseless and frankly ridiculous argument is dangerous and uninformed writing.

    • Tucker Carlson talks about the riots that broke out in some states during Black Lives Matter Protest. In this segment from Fox News, Carlson says that liberals are coming out in support of the riots in order to gain control of the government. He believes, “The most privilege in our society are using the most desperate in our society to seize power from everyone else”. Carlson preaches that the “defund the police” movement’s end goal is to “eliminate all law enforcement for good”. Carlson even points out the removal of a texas ranger from the terminal at left field mimicking the liberals by saying, “A texas ranger is a cop and cops must be removed even when they are made of bronze”. Tucker Carlson is fearmongering. He is deliberately telling his viewers that the police are under attack and so is their way of living. He doesn’t even bother to discuss what defunding the police means. Instead, he exaggerates what the term would look like and paints a picture of crime in which he could not be more wrong.

    • In “Only Certain Black Lives Matter’ by Deborah Van Dyke, Dyke writes a letter to an editor opposing the BLM movement. The BLM movement is a movement intended to stop police brutality. Instead of refuting these statements however, Dyke spends her time discrediting the entire movement for not doing more black people. Dyke begins her letter by stating that “only certain black lives matter” to the BLM movement, and those lives are the one they can profit off of. She proceeds to discredit the movement for not doing anything to curb black on black crime rates and claims that more black people are killed by black people than by police officers. The issue with these statements is that BLM never claimed to be the hail mary for black people. The purpose of the movement is to bring attention to and hopefully change the discriminatory practices of police officers and the United States Justice system.

    • In the article “Why is it so offensive to say ‘all lives matter?”, Karen Stollznow writes that once the Black Lives Matter slogan was formed, there were some people that understood this phrase as “confrontational and divisive”. Stollznow writes that the Black Lives Matter movement excludes other races and that it would benefit everyone if we promote all lives are equal due to the fact that we are all “human beings”. However, I completely disagree with Stollznow because promoting all lives matter instead of Black lives matter diminishes the racism that occurs in the US. ALM ignores the inequality that has been occurring in America for many years.

      https://theconversation.com/wh.....ter-153188

    • The article “US gun laws: Why it won’t follow New Zealand’s lead” is a good article that argues against gun control. This article, argues that the political system is why America cannot pass a stricter gun control law. The NRA, which is a very powerful association, is always trying to stop the passing of gun control laws using its power and money.

      The article also argues that the constitutional law claimed that people have the right to possess guns. That is not a strong argument. What we believe in the past is not necessarily what we should believe in the future. Even the constitution has some flaws that need to be fixed.

    • https://www.theatlantic.com/po.....ff/481131/

      The article “American Sheriff”, published by The Atlantic, talks about Milwaukee Sheriff David Clark’s take on mass-incarceration and the criminal justice system. As an African-American pro-Trump supporter, he stands for conservatives values in the south and appeals to the people of Milwaukee by taking a pro-mass-incarceration stance. According to the article, “he believes that rehabilitation is ‘not something for the criminal-justice system to do’”, but rather believes that the APS (American Prison System) should be dolling harsh sentences to keep criminals off the streets and deter crime. He even argues (with some backwards logic) that mothers of children who turn to drugs on the streets are happy to know that their sons are kept somewhere safe when locked up. This manipulation is dependent on an ethos approach to his audience, who will in turn further support the notion that our criminal justice system needs to take a tougher approach as opposed to reforming individuals.

    • In her article “In Defense of Cancel Culture,” Shamira Ibrahim claims that cancel culture “a way for marginalized communities to publicly assert their value systems through pop culture,” and is therefore justified. However, this rather simple depiction of cancel culture fails to acknowledge the fact that it drowns out any opinions, effectively narrowing societal correctness and potentially drowning out the marginalized communities themselves. On top of this, cancel culture is simply ineffective when it comes to putting powerful institutions/celebrities in check, and does not bring about societal change when the people whose minds are supposed to change are instead in fear that they will be targeted.
      https://www.vice.com/en/articl.....ely-online

    • In the NYT’s article, “To Lower Drug Prices, Innovate, Don’t Regulate”, written by Paul Howard, he provides readers with alternative solutions on how to lower the costs of prescription drugs, instead of the solution of government regulation. He argues that “bureaucratic price manipulation would only hurt the sickest patients”. In this article, Howard isn’t arguing against the idea of lower prescription costs, but on how to do it. He argues for more competition in the market by modernizing the drug development process so more drugs are out there in the market, and he wants Congress to retool the entitlement programs for pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Howard presents a strong argument in that he provides reasonable solutions that would usually work in other sectors of the market, but not when it comes prescription drugs.

      This argument is an argument I would agree with typically because I do think the government shouldn’t be so controlling over the economy, however, when it comes to drug prices, I do think the government needs to step in. Over the past couple of years, we haven’t seen drug prices get cheaper, but have instead spiked just for the means of profit. The government was created to protect the people and when the people are being exploited, it is the government’s job to step in and stop this. Typical capitalistic behavior when it comes to prescription drug prices have not worked because Big Pharma has been so successful in lobbying against any form of progress to lower drug prices.

    • In the article “Tucker Carlson: The great Texas climate catastrophe is heading your way,” Tucker carlson argues that the reason for Texas’s blackouts are caused by freezing renewable energy sources in the form of wind turbines. Don’t get me wrong, Carlson does a very good job explaining his view to narrow-minded readers. Just like we’ve been learning about in Rhetoric, each paragraph should take on a different, yet precise, argument. This article takes on the entire role of a paragraph: narrow focus yet split up into several paragraphs. The narrow focus is that wind turbines are bad. They freeze, kill birds, make noise, and take away from Texas’ natural resources: fossil fuels. “How would you like a massive power plant in your backyard humming and buzzing and chopping up birds?” Each paragraph takes about a different downside of wind turbines while never broadening the focus to any of the other causes for the blackout: an increase in demand. Not only does this article praise fossil fuels for their “reliance” in the cold, but it fails to note that a mere 13% of Texas’ electricity is from renewables. A quick search for a fact checking article reveals that the fossil fuel sources failed too. This was because cold weather made pipes, wells, and valves freeze (Reuters). In addition to the narrow minded focus, the sentences are purposely left short, and simple “It means failures like the ones we’re seeing now in Texas. That’s not a talking point, that is true. It’s science. So of course, they’re denying it.” Purposely being very vague and using words like “it” and “that” allow the reader to fill in his/her own thoughts. This is also used to disguise the lack of leverage by using nondescript, filler words. This is simmer to the campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” There are so many aspects to making a place “great” that its lack of description is insanely effective. People input their own meaning into the slogan and thereby make it a personal definition which only deepens the connection one has. By only taking about one narrow topic, leaving out contradictory pieces of evidence, and writing to the reader’s emotion, Carlson is able to argue a false point.

      https://www.reuters.com/articl.....SKBN2AJ2EI
      https://www.foxnews.com/opinio.....atastrophe

    • In Joey Franklin’s OPINION article “Cancel Cultures Hidden Benefits,” he introduces an interesting argument as to why Cancel Culture may have some upside to it after all. Franklin presents the reader with evidence that backs both sides, although throughout the article. Franklin is precise in his message, and as the reader, you can see that although he does not agree with some of the extreme measures of Cancel Culture, like people losing their jobs, he does “think that getting called out on saying something offensive is a good way to get educated and be a better person.” While this statement may be true, more often than not, this so-called “constructive criticism” is replaced by people with personal attacks, which defeats the purpose of trying to help the person when you end up damaging them. All in all, it would be in the best interest of society to not have Cancel Culture; publicly shaming someone is not going to solve any problems whatsoever.

    • In The Guardian’s article, the author tackles a subject of climate misinformation across the widely used social media platform, Facebook. Facebook is available to anyone who signs up through an email and sets up a password, allowing easy access to a wide range of news and information. Although Facebook tries to “[use] factcheckers and [ban] false advertising”, this process was not efficient enough for the misinformation that spread all across the platform. Facebook continuously allows a profound number of users to spread their thoughts on climate denial. These injurious ads are paid through conservative groups and since Facebook is making a profit off of these ads, they turn a blind eye to the climate misinformation surfacing throughout its site.
      The fact that such a high-profile platform like Facebook can easily stop misinformation from spreading, yet chooses not to frustrates me. Yes, Facebook would be losing money by putting an end to these ads, but it would be advantageous to people who don’t have a particular stance on climate change. Spreading misinformation will lead to and has led to people believing that climate change is a hoax and not taking the appropriate measures needed to alleviate it. In order for the effects of climate change to be reversed, action has to be taken now, so false information about climate change is very detrimental to humanity.

    • In BBC’s publication “Black Lives Matter: From social media post to global movement”, the author does an impressive job of explaining the George Floyd situation and how that took the Black Lives Matter to “areas it had not reached”. Maqbool further argues that white people need how important of a role they play in this. I also agree with Maqbool when he mentions the number of people that are becoming more educated on this movement. From my personal experience, I began to realize the situation at hand and wanted to make a change by joining some protests and spreading awareness online.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53273381

    • In an article in Fox News, Tucker Carlson effectively discusses the fact that “immigration is not always good for our economy”. He first starts by explaining the opposition’s claims, which say that all immigrants are good and support our economy, and he even quotes multiple high-reaching officials of the opposite party to further prove his point. Once he’s presented this information, he then tells his own opinion- that the immigration system in America is “designed for the benefit of foreigners”, not to “help America”. The facts and statistics that he presents are very fascinating, and would most definitely captivate a reader if they found this article. Furthermore, Carlson uses an incredibly effective tactic in saying that the loss that America has received from them is “not their fault”, but is “our fault”, placing the blame on Americans instead, and making more people inclined to listen to him instead of outright deny his claims because he represents an opposing view. However, Carlson fails to sympathize with the countries that these immigrants come from, as he only looks at the negative impact that America receives, not the majorly positive impact that immigration has on the native countries. These countries would be in deep water if they didn’t get the remittances from immigrants in the Americas, and America definitely has a lot to give.

    • In the article “The American Prison System: It’s Just Business”, published by the Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law, author L.B. Write argues that the American Prison System (APS) is facilitating aspects of the US economy by charging inmates for phone calls and minor violations. He also states that the US is benefiting from the low-wage prison work that inmates are contributing, such as making license plates and fighting fires. According to the article, each inmate makes the US $6,000-$14,000 for a whopping $74 billion made each year through mass incarceration. While I disagree with the article that people are not merely dollar signs to profit off of, it’s interesting to see why the US political system and criminal justice system are so slow to change; because it makes us richer.

      https://news.law.fordham.edu/j.....-business/

  1. In the article “Mark Zuckerberg Stands for Voice and Free Expression” Facebook reflects upon the founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and his take on free expression through media. He argues Facebook “fight(s) to uphold as wide a definition of freedom of expression as possible” through screening through fake and spam accounts. After reading about Zuckerburg’s speech as it was said at Georgetown University, I found it interesting to learn more about the power of Facebook and the true implication of a platform that serves the people as a way to exercise their freedoms of speech.

    However, with this being said, it is evident that Zuckerburg wants to paint Facebook as simply a tool for expression when in reality it is evident it is so much more. With the monetizing of ads, Facebook quickly turned into a for-profit giant business. This affects the incentive of the main purpose of the platform. Persuasion and false narratives lead to the polarization of a nation.

    https://about.fb.com/news/2019.....xpression/

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