Opposing Viewpoints Essay Example


Television has been a dominant force in American culture for over half a century. It is the primary source of entertainment and information for most Americans. It shapes our beliefs and values, and influences our behavior.

Television can be a powerful tool for promoting critical thinking and intelligent debate. But it can also be used to manipulate public opinion and advance special interests. The way television is used depends on the motives of those who control it.

The power of television comes from its ability to reach large audiences with messages that are carefully crafted to appeal to emotion and logic. Television advertising is designed to sell products or ideas, and political campaigns use television to win votes.

To be an effective critical thinker, it is important to be aware of the ways that television can be used to influence your thoughts and emotions. When you watch television, pay attention to the way the programs are structured, the language that is used, and the images that are shown. Try to identify any hidden agendas or ulterior motives.

By becoming a more critical viewer, you can avoid being manipulated by television and use it as a tool for learning and thoughtful discussion.

They both use different types of rhetoric to persuade their audience, but who does it more effectively?

Steven Johnson’s article “Watching TV Makes You Smarter” appeared in the May 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. In it, he argues that television makes you smarter by increasing your capacity for multitasking, critical thinking, and empathy. He cites examples from popular culture such as The Simpsons and Lost to support his claim.

Dana Stevens’s article “Thinking Outside the Idiot Box” appeared in the October 2006 issue of Slate. In it, she critiques Johnson’s article and argues that television does not make you smarter. She says that Johnson’s argument is based on a false dichotomy between active and passive forms of entertainment.

The two authors have opposing viewpoints on the subject. Both of these writers utilize distinct ethos, pathos, and logos examples to back up their viewpoint and create a compelling argument. In my view, Dana Stevens did a better job employing ethos, pathos, and logos to support her position overall.

Stevens uses ethos in the beginning of her essay when she talks about how television is “an inescapable part of modern life.” This immediately gives her some credibility because it’s something that we can all relate to. We’ve all been there, flipping through channels and trying to find something to watch. It’s a relatable experience that we can all understand.

She also talks about how “rhetoric is the art of persuasion,” which is something that we can all understand as well. We’re constantly being bombarded with messages from companies trying to sell us something, or politicians trying to get our vote. It’s important to be able to see through the rhetoric and think critically about what we’re being told.

“From the perspective of someone who watches a lot of television (but still less than the average American), the medium appears neither like a brain-liquefying toxin nor a healthful tonic” (Stevens, 2012, p. 298). Steven’s goal in this essay is to persuade his readers with these words. Credibility and trustworthiness are terms that ethos relates to. It’s generally conveyed through tone and the writer’s track record.

In her essay, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Defense of Television,” Jennifer Stevens uses different types of rhetoric to explore the different ways people can watch television. She first starts with a definition of what rhetoric is and how it is used in our everyday lives. Rhetoric is “the art of persuasion” (Stevens, 2012, p. 296). It is the way that we communicate with others to try to get them to see our point of view. There are three main ways to use rhetoric: ethos, pathos, and logos.

Ethos has to do with credibility and trustworthiness. It is usually conveyed through the tone, and the writer’s reputation. In her essay, Jennifer Stevens uses a light-hearted and sarcastic tone to show that she is not taking the issue of television too seriously. She also cites different studies throughout her essay to show that she has done her research on the topic. By using ethos, Stevens is able to establish herself as a credible source on the topic of television.

Pathos has to do with emotion. It is the way that writers can connect with their audience on an emotional level. In her essay, Jennifer Stevens uses pathos by talking about her personal experience with television. She talks about how she grew up watching a lot of TV and how it has affected her life in both positive and negative ways. By sharing her own story, Stevens is able to connect with her audience on an emotional level and make her argument more relatable.

Logos has to do with logic and reasoning. It is the way that writers can use evidence and facts to support their claims. In her essay, Jennifer Stevens uses logos by citing different studies throughout her argument. She talks about how television can be both good and bad for people, depending on how it is used. By using logic and reasoning, Stevens is able to make a strong argument for why television is not necessarily a bad thing.

Stevens’s use of rhetoric is effective in making her case for why television is not necessarily a bad thing. She uses ethos, pathos, and logos to appeal to her audience and show them that there are both good and bad aspects to television. Overall, Stevens’s essay is a well-reasoned and persuasive argument for why television can be both good and bad, depending on how it is used.

In “Thinking Outside the Idiot Box,” Dana Stevens effectively utilizes ethos when attempting to persuade her audience. Stevens begins by informing her readers that she holds a Ph.D in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Because the author has had to go through years of schooling and gain experience writing, having a Ph.D in comparative literature gives her validity because she has already worked in the industry with a PhD after obtaining a job there.

She also has a lot of experience with analyzing and writing about television. Another way that Stevens uses ethos is by admitting that she herself watches a lot of TV. She says, “I’m not some kind of killjoy Luddite who’s never watched an episode of “Breaking Bad” or “Mad Men.” By her admitting that she watches television shows that are popular, it lets the audience know that she is just like them and she is not looking down on them for watching TV.

Stevens then goes on to state how people use rhetoric when they talk about television. People tend to either completely love television or they completely hate it. There is no in between when it comes to people’s opinions on television. People who love TV will use rhetoric such as, “TV is the best thing since sliced bread,” or “I would be lost without my TV.” People who hate TV will use rhetoric such as, “TV is the root of all evil,” or “TV is turning our kids into zombies.” These are both examples of extreme rhetoric that does not help people to have a critical thinking conversation about television.


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