pt 40, S.1, Q. 14 , "some critics claim that the power.."

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flash21
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pt 40, S.1, Q. 14 , "some critics claim that the power.."

Postby flash21 » Wed May 06, 2015 10:25 am

Hello,

I'm waffling between B/C here, and I don't see what makes (C) a better answer choice (even after looking at manhattan forums).

So here is me articulating the debate going on in my head.


(B) Isn't the argument assuming implicitly that when a wide range of opinions are being given that they are all being given adequate time, since he is using this claim as the foundation to support his entire argument? If this were not true, and he was simply stating a wide range of opinions are given - but some are given 5 seconds of coverage while others get entire segments devoted to them, wouldn't this be a pretty crappy claim to base his claim on?

I guess ultimately what I'm saying is, is this: hes assuming that wide range of coverage is sufficient to say media is not imposing opinions on people regarding important issues of the day - but if they are covered in the media in a skewed manner, it makes this point weak.

(C) I can see how this is happening. if the truth of claim one (major issues the media purveyed a range of opinion narrower than found among consumers of media, and claim two (then it would be true that the meia imposes opinions on people regarding important issues).

However, since the sufficient condition (first claim) is NOT true, he assumes that the necessary condition is not true, ultimately being a reversal flaw (negate sufficient simply means nothing triggers for the condition).

I guess my issue here is I see two answer choices that seem right to me. Am I approaching (B) too much of an assumption question, rather than what the flaw is DIRECTLY in that argument. I feel at the least, (B) is an assumption being made here - but perhaps not the flaw of the argument ultimately?

If you've read this far through my ramblings - thank you!

Would appreciate some help understanding.

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: pt 40, S.1, Q. 14 , "some critics claim that the power.."

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Wed May 06, 2015 1:47 pm

Heya flash21!

So, the problem is not that you're approaching it too much like an assumption question - the same issues would apply there. (Fundamentally, flaw questions *are* assumption questions, all that changes is the syntax of the answer choices.)

First, let's break out the argument cleanly:

    PREMISE:
    conditional: if media's range narrower than consumers --> media power too great
    fact: media's range isn't narrower than consumers

    CONCLUSION:
    That shows that media's power isn't too great

In the paraphrased words of Tina Turner - what's time got to do with it?

In REAL LIFE, I'd agree with you - I'd want to know more than just the range of opinions before I absolved the media of manipulations/bias/etc. But this is not real life. There's nothing in the argument that sets up time/balance as a precondition for making conclusions about the media's power. In fact, I don't know anything about how time/balance fits into this at all.

As a result, the author doesn't necessarily need to assume that the exposure is balanced to get to his conclusion. All he *needs* to assume is that the range of opinion is sufficient to conclude that the media's power isn't too great. If he's assumed that, then he might believe that the time/balance is simply not relevant.

I can't accuse the author of making the assumption that the exposure is balanced. If I did, his response might be "No, I don't care whether they give the same exposure to everyone - all that matters is that they have the right range of opinion, and they do."

In essence, you are making assumptions about the relevance of the idea of time/balance. We don't know that those matter at all.

Now, what's tempting about this answer choice? I think it's because we've gotten trained to look for the alternative ideas that could potentially screw the argument up. But we have to be more certain that they *would* screw the argument up. What if the answer choice looked like this:

"The argument takes for granted that the media is not so imbalanced in the amount of time given to each viewpoint as to create a situation where the media thereby has too much power to impose opinions on people, despite maintaining a broad range of opinion."

What would you think then? What's the difference between this and the original (B)?

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flash21
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Re: pt 40, S.1, Q. 14 , "some critics claim that the power.."

Postby flash21 » Thu May 07, 2015 10:32 am

Original (B)

• The argument takes for granted that the media gives at least as much exposure as they should to a wide range of opinion on the important issues of the day

Christine’s

• "The argument takes for granted that the media is not so imbalanced in the amount of time given to each viewpoint as to create a situation where the media thereby has too much power to impose opinions on people, despite maintaining a broad range of opinion."

The original (B) and your hypothetical answer are essentially the exact same answer up until the point of “as to create a situation” – and this latter half of your answer is what makes this hypothetical answer better than the original. The original (B) only addresses the issue of amount of exposure to the wide range of opinions being explored. Your hypothetical does more – it addresses the main concern of the argument, which is the imposition of opinions on the public by the media. Your answer says this lack of equality in exposure therefore makes the imposition of opinions on the public a reality- and by discounting it, we would have the correct answer.

I think a very common issue of mine is to add my own assumptions in when filling in the blanks of an answer choice, which is something I’ll try to be way more conscious of. It’s a bit annoying though because I feel like sometimes it necessary to answer questions and sometimes it screws me over. Is there anyway where I can strictly differentiate when I should be filling in assumptions, or is this simply always a red flag?




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