Week 28–Freedom of the Press or Propaganda?

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George Orwell wrote a book called 1984, about a dystopian future where freedom of thought is suppressed under a totalitarian regime. Right now the book is a best seller. People think Donald Trump is a fulfillment of this book? Are they right? Or is it the opposite?

George Orwell also was quoted as saying, “The people will believe what the media tells them to believe.” Consider that quote as you think critically about the information we are studying this week.

Below, are three videos. The first two are about how President Trump has decided not to go to the White House Correspondents Dinner. This is a party that celebrates the media and the press. Well, you know he doesn’t seem to get along with the media so well. I still laugh when I remember him telling CNN, “No sir! You are fake news!” LOL after they published a false and defamatory story about him that was picked up from an online forum. But he used the word, “fake news” because CNN and many other media outlets have begun a campaign to censor the internet and independent journalists because “fake news” could incite violence. So what is happening right now is (as your President would say) HUUUUUUGE!!!! LOL 😀

The third video I saw years ago. It still makes me mad. It is about corporate censorship, because of the threat of lawsuits and pulled advertising money. You can’t expose the powerful, can you?

Check them out:

What do you think? Do we have freedom of the press? Why or why not? Is media biased or bought? Is that okay? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

This Week’s Assignment:

  • Watch all three videos
  • What do you think? Is the mainstream news exercising their rights to criticize the government or are they biased, disseminating propaganda?
  • If the government isn’t censoring or controlling the media narrative, who is? Are there any organizations that may influence the content of mainstream news?
  • For full credit, leave a comment of your own thoughts, and leave two replies to other people’s comments.

Continue working on:

Here are some popular memes that you can think about. Do you agree with them? Why or why not? (scroll down for more class info)

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Apologetics Oral Presentation Standards:

Your Oral Presentations will be due the day we come back from Easter Break (April 21). You will be graded according to the following standards. You will have a 3-5 minute time limit, you may use note-cards (not papers), and you may use a visual aide such as a poster board or power point.

In Clear Language:

  • Present ideas and arguments in a logical order
  • Support ideas though logical reasoning, appealing to our emotions and ethical and religious beliefs, sharing personal stories, historical facts, or analogies.
  • Defend your position using precise and relevant evidence (facts, expert opinion, quotations, Scriptures, common sense, etc.)
  • Anticipate that people may not agree with you, and address their concerns and counterarguments.

(Speaking Application 2.5) Deliver persuasive arguments (including evaluation and analysis of problems and solutions and causes and effects):

a. Structure ideas and arguments in a coherent, logical fashion.

b. Use rhetorical devices to support assertions (e.g., by appeal to logic through reasoning; by appeal to emotion or ethical belief; by use of personal anecdote, case study, or analogy).

c. Clarify and defend positions with precise and relevant evidence, including facts, expert opinions, quotations, expressions of commonly accepted beliefs, and logical reasoning.

d. Anticipate and address the listener’s concerns and counterarguments.

(from the English Language Arts Content Standards for California, Dept. of Ed.)

Argumentative Essay on Censorship:

Please follow the following directions for your argumentative essay.

I want you to begin drafting an argumentative essay on censorship, from a Biblical point of view. It is a complex subject, so you will have a lot to consider. Look up the laws for “Freedom of Speech,” to see what is protected and illegal. You must use 4-6 Scriptures that back up your thesis.

What is an argumentative essay?

The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.

Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.

The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.

  • A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.

In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important (exigence) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.

  • Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.

  • Body paragraphs that include evidential support.

Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis (warrant).

However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.

  • Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).

The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.

  • A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.

It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.

A complete argument

Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.

The five-paragraph essay

A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.

Longer argumentative essays

Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.

(Purdue, OWL)

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7 thoughts on “Week 28–Freedom of the Press or Propaganda?

  1. I believe we have freedom of the press,but it depends on WHICH press. For example, if you have a blog or YouTube channel (somewhere you can express your opinion) the government isn’t going to force you to remove it from the internet or change your opinion. However, if you’re going to be sharing something on national television or writing an article American citizens are sure to read, the government will monitor what you say. If what you write and say does not make them look good or they disagree with it, they will either change or remove it. So even though the First Amendment says we have freedom of press, we don’t have TOTAL freedom of the press.

    Also, I think the media gets bribed into a lot of the things they promote or discuss, and they become bias to that. Honestly, a lot of people I know dislike Trump because he demeans women, is racist, sexist, and so many other things! But all that garbage is stuff the media is promoting. They don’t highlight the good things he’s doing, just the stuff he’s done in the past.

    (I hope this all makes sense lol)

    1. I don’t think the government will take something down if it makes them look bad. For example, the press is constantly saying negative things about Trump and other important people in the government and they don’t take those articles or claims down. However if it is actual malice, where people will knowingly and recklessly publish false information, then that is when they will take it down and also arrest the person who made the claim.

    2. I agree with what you said about people not having total freedom of press, because it’s true. With youtube videos and what not, they can talk about whatever they want because it’s not official news. And again, just like you said, when it gets put on national tv it HAS to be altered to fit the governments needs.

  2. I believe we do have freedom of the press because we see media corporations voicing what they believe all the time and we also get to voice our opinions through blogs, twitter, Facebook, etc. However many of the sources are controlled by big companies that decide they want to voice their biased opinion very loudly and clearly. These big companies control other smaller companies thus having their opinions voiced even more. So these media publications, I believe, are biased and can and eventually will be bought.
    I do not think this is okay because we deserve to have the truth, not just people’s opinion shoved down our throat. On the other hand, there is some truth in their claims but it is mixed in with a lot of lies making it harder find the truth. The silver lining throughout all of this is the fact that we even get to have our opinions heard because not every country has the opportunity to. Also we can make an effort to find media claims from websites and/or sources we trust and only look to them for news and current events.

  3. Of course we, by law, have the freedom of press, but the problem is that it has to be altered in some way that works best for the government. That video with the milk really intrigued me, because the manager did everything in his power to keep the employees from stating the truth on tv, so that he could still sell the product for his own gain. They did not care at all about people’s health.

    Media is definitely biased, because any source of news has to be altered. The media cannot state the truth without it pleasing the government because they want to control what people see and believe. It’s not pure news, it’s corrupted news. And it’s obviously not okay to feed people lies, because, just like with the milk, studies showed that it could be harmful, but the manager and the government were too caught up in making improvement, and making money.

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