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Critically Analyzing Information, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1457

Essay

A1. The article claims that immigration increases poverty in the United States and cite several statistics to support their argument. For e.g. the author mentions that children of illegal aliens and foreign-born children of legal immigrants are nearly twice to live in poverty (Ruark). But one cannot make conclusions on the basis of statistics alone. A better approach may be to look into comparative statistical data or investigate the reasons behind poverty of children of immigrants. It is possible that immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, face significant barriers in job market which contributes more to their lower incomes than the factors over which they have control. In fact, the article does mention that U.S. born children of legal immigrants are no more likely to be in poverty than those in native households (Ruark).

The author also claims that the U.S. economy is oversaturated with unskilled labor since the unemployment rate for high school dropouts reached 15 percent, compared to just 4.7 percent among those with a bachelor’s degree. The article further mentions that economists Andrew Sum and Ishwar Khatiwada found that the underutilization rate was inversely related to the academic qualifications, being the lowest for those with advanced degrees at just 7 percent while highest for high school dropouts at 35 percent (Ruark). It is unclear why author is sure that the high unemployment rate is a result of oversaturation of unskilled labor market and not other factors such as recession. It is surprising that the author ignored the fact that those with advanced academic qualifications have a higher probability of being employed which means that workers’ knowledge and skills may a bigger influence on their career prospects than their legal status.

A2. The purpose of the Super Bowl article is to get readers excited about the super bowl ads. The purpose is apparent right from the first sentence of the article when the author claims, “Gone are the days when Super Bowl commercials were merely filler between plays on the field.” (Huffington Post). Similarly, the article invites the readers to browse through the list of Super Bowl ads to determine the most and least impressive ads.

The tone of the language is informal and direct during the entire article. The author often addresses the readers in second-person. The author suggests the readers should not move while the ads are being broadcasted, “If you need to run to the restroom during the game or have to venture to the pantry for some more snacks, then you’re better off turning away from the television on a first down than during a commercial break.” (Huffington Post). It is very likely that different group of readers may perceive the author’s tone in different manner. Those who enjoy Super Bowl ads may find the author’s tone to be excited while those who are more interested in the game itself may find the tone arrogant and imposing.

The author has attempted to present his opinion as a fact and he often uses vague terms. When the author claimed, “Super Bowl viewers eagerly turned their attention toward the television at each stoppage…” it is not clear whether he was referring to every single viewer or those with specific characteristics. If it were me, I would replace ‘viewers’ with ‘fans of super bowl ads’ so that it doesn’t imply that everyone finds ads equally interesting. Similarly, when the author says, “Gone are the days when Super Bowl commercials were merely filler…”, the reader is not sure as to which time period the author is referring to in the past. This lack of information makes it difficult for the reader to decide whether ads were really boring during the time period the author had in mind. If it were me, I would be more specific as in ‘until two decade ago’ or ‘in 1980s’.

A3. Joe Smith claims that 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used by Americans every year. Joe Smith also claims that using only single paper towel each time will save 571 million and 230 thousands pounds of paper towels each year (Smith). While these two arguments come as fact, Joe doesn’t provide the sources of his claims or how he reached these figures. While Joe says that we can easily dry our hands with a single paper towel, he labels his opinion as a fact. In order to establish his credibility, he shows the demonstration several times in which he shakes his hands twelve times and then dries them off with a single sheet of paper towel. He also involves the audience in the room to increase his appeal to them.

A4. Nearly two dozen Pennsylvania residents, interviewed recently by Abby Goodnough of The Times, said they were opposed to President Obama’s health care reform law. Though almost all of them would benefit from it, they expressed fears about a loss of control over their health care that is nowhere in the law (The New York Times).

The survey is a verifiable fact. But it is the author’s opinion that almost all of them would benefit unless the survey collected information on respondents regarding their individual circumstances as well. If a significant proportion of the respondents are enjoying low premiums, the healthcare law may increase cost for them. Similarly, the author also assumes that all of them have invalid concerns regarding loss of control without indicating what those specific concerns are. The respondents might have different definition of loss of control from the author.

I don’t find the paragraph very convincing because it is full of personal opinions including the assumption that none of the respondents might have read the healthcare law draft carefully. The author also assumes that everyone has same definition of loss of control over healthcare. The author is also ambiguous because he doesn’t explain how almost all of the respondents would benefit and why he is so sure.

There are two reasons for this situation, which is repeated around the country. Business groups allied with Republicans have spent $235 million on television ads attacking the law with false accusations, with the vigorous aid of Mitt Romney and his campaign. Meanwhile, Democrats and the Obama campaign have been amazingly reluctant to speak up for the president’s biggest accomplishment and tell voters what’s in it (The New York Times).

The author has assumed that every single claim made in the ads was false and every ad received endorsement by Mitt Romney and his campaign. The writer also assumes that all supporters agree healthcare law has been Obama’s greatest accomplishment. One does feel a sense of urgency in the author’s tone. The author wants to persuade Democrats to talk more about healthcare law in ads and at public events. The $235 million figure may be fact and is verifiable but it is most likely the author’s opinion that all ads were endorsed by Mitt Romney and his campaign.

Even though I support healthcare law but the author has distorted many of his personal opinions as facts. I also think healthcare law is a huge accomplishment but others may have different opinions. The author has made lot of generalized assumptions that may or may not be true.

The White House has been halfhearted in its sales pitch almost from the beginning of Mr. Obama’s administration. Polls showed that many middle-class voters, comfortable with their own insurance, weren’t particularly interested in a new social program that extended coverage to 30 million uninsured people, many of them poor (The New York Times).

The author’s tone show his disappointment over what he considers a lack of enthusiasm by the White House in communicating the merits of healthcare law to the public. While it’s the author’s opinion, he presents it as a fact without giving examples that demonstrate failures by the White House. While the author does claim that the polls show middle-class’s lack of enthusiasm for health care law, it is not possible to verify the information because the polls have not been specifically mentioned upon whom the author based this claim.

I do not think the author speaks for all of Obama’s supporters that White House has done a poor job of advocating its objectives. In addition, the author has not convinced me that the lack of enthusiasm among many middle-class Americans is due to White House’s failure to reach them and not due to another reason. In addition, by claiming many middle-class Americans, the author doesn’t indicate what constitutes ‘many’ to him. Is it the majority of middle-class American or just few millions?

References

Huffington Post. Super Bowl Commercials 2012: Watch Ads Aired During Giants vs. Patriots Game (VIDEO). 5 February 2012. 17 August 2012 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/05/super-bowl-commercials-2012-watch-video-gallery_n_1255478.html?ref=sports>.

Ruark, Eric A. Immigration Is Increasing Poverty in the United States. 2012. 17 August 2012 <http://ic.galegroup.com.ezp1r.riosalado.edu/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=OVIC&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&mode=view&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&limiter=&currPage=&disableHighlighting=false&source>.

Smith, Joe. How to use a paper towel. March 2012. 177 August 2012 <http://www.ted.com/talks/joe_smith_how_to_use_a_paper_towel.html>.

The New York Times. Editorial. 3 July 2012. 17 August 2012 <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/opinion/too-quiet-again-on-health-care.html>.

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