writing that uses support for claims and arguments is
Present Developing an Opinion Statement to help students write a main claim for their argument. In this minilesson, students follow a simple formula to develop a claim of truth, value, or policy.
Apt anecdotes allow students to add interest and emotive impact to their writing. Give students practice Using Anecdotes in Formal Writing, and encourage them to add appropriate anecdotes to connect to readers.
Admittedly, the unbiased and unedited coverage of trials can be very dry and dull for the audience but the essence of reality is necessary to the true representation of the courtroom trial. To keep TV viewers satisfied and returning for more is a priority for broadcasters. Court TV has been accused, authors Marjorie Cohn and David Dow note, of using close-up shots and choosing angles in the O.J. Simpson case that are not flattering in order to create a negative impression, which sells better to the public (33). TV cameras in court trials should be held to the intent of providing the public with an unbiased viewpoint, so that the public trial of the defendant does not become a trial by the public of the accused.
The media is in tune with the public’s desire for information and entertainment because broadcasters are for-profit entities. To meet public demand for entertainment and information, “real” courtroom dramas, and legal analysis shows have joined the line-up of fictional, legal programming. Court TV was created in 1990 by Steven Brill . . . . After the 1997 buyout of Brill, investigative reports, detective shows and legal dramas, such as Perry Mason, replaced the nightly, educationally designed, legal commentary, while the daytime gavel-to-gavel coverage of trials remained the same. A perceived downside with the changes in Court TV’s broadcasting schedule is that they are now no different from the average entertainment broadcasting station. In Allison Romano’s interview with CEO Henry Schleiff, he openly admits that the bottom line, profit, is the driving force behind the Court TV changes toward entertainment (33).
Claims about value generally lead to essays that e valu ate. Anytime a writer places value on someone or something as “the best” or “superior”, that writer is making a claim about value. While writers should always anticipate how to respond to the opposing viewpoint, it is particularly crucial to do so when dealing with a claim about value. For example, people who are blind have a unique culture of blindness, and many believe that living a visionless life is better than living a seeing-life. But to properly address this topic and claim, one must anticipate and respond to the opposing viewpoint, that seeing-life has significant benefits. Another example is that of Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). One could argue that UFC is a dehumanizing sport. The anticipated opposing viewpoint could be that UFC fighters undergo extensive training and skill-based martial arts, thus making it a viable athletic competition.
S imilar to the claims about fact or definition, claims about cause and effect need to be opinionated or debatable. It is obvious, for example, that smoking causes lung cancer, but one could debate whether or not secondhand smoke causes lung cancer. A few recent examples of debatable cause-and-effect topics could be about the new train that has been built, traveling from Beijing to Tibet. Many feel that this train will threaten the Tibetan culture and ancient way of life. Other more typical controversial cause-and-effect topics range from the effect television has on teens to the effect testing has on the quality of education.
There are three major elements to persuasive writing and argumentation: claims, evidence, and warrants. Each is explained below.
I think that most of the claims listed above could be argued well with specific evidence from Thoreau’s essay, but I would be a little suspicious of one of the claims and downright skeptical about another one. To me, Thoreau seems disturbed by the emphasis on technological “improvements” in his day, such as the telegraph and railroad, but does he really believe that technology is the “primary cause of distress”? Right now, I really don’t know, so I would wait to see how well the writer could support this interpretation before I would make up my mind. I approach the last claim with more skepticism, the claim that “Thoreau demonstrated his misanthropy (hatred of human beings) in his essay and saw no choice but to abandon civilization.” Right now, I don’t see Thoreau as a misanthrope, but I would be open to reading this writer’s interpretation, examining carefully the way the writer argues this claim.
1. Choosing a Subject
Suppose your instructor asks you to write an essay about a holiday experience. Within this general subject area, you choose a subject that holds your interest and about which you can readily get information: you were in downtown Chico on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day and witnessed some unusual behavior–a melee broke out, resulting in injuries to bystanders and property damage to nearby cars. You wish to write about this.
- Choosing a subject.
- Limiting your subject.
- Crafting a thesis statement.
- Identifying supporting arguments.
- Revising your thesis.
- Writing strong topic sentences that support the thesis.