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Friday, January 18, 2013

Arguing and the Sandy Hook conspiracy


I title this post arguing, but it is not a bad thing.  My students are currently learning the art of argument in preparation for their AP exam in the spring.  Arguing is an art, isn't it?  Let's not fight about that question, it is an art.

Photo Source:  Sodahead.com
A student told me today that she now wins arguments with her parents now that she knows how to argue the "right" way.  Sorry parents!

So many people today try to win arguements, but they refuse to listen to an opinion other than their own.  That is not really arguing, it's yelling your ideas at someone.   (Are you listening Congress and Senate?)  Effective arguers have a claim and can back up their claim with reasonable and valid facts.  However, just because a fact was read on the Internet, does not mean it is valid.  Sources must be considered.

This week, I have heard several arguments about a Sandy Hook conspiracy video that came to light.  I even argued with a classmate in my rhetoric class, an educated woman, who believed the conspiracy.  She didn't believe any of the reasonable facts that we presented to her.  Again, many people would rather create a conflict than have a true agument. 

When students spoke about the video, I asked them to consider the following:

1.  Who made the video?  A reliable news or documentary source or some 40 year old guy who lives in his mom's basement?  (Nothing wrong with being 40, I am an inch or two past 40, but I don't live in my mom's basement).

2.  Consider the technology that is available today.  Could some of the images have been changed via Photoshop?  Do you happen to know if they are original images or have they been doctored?  Can viewers find out?

3.  Are any of the facts presented in the video valid?  Can they be traced to a valid source or, again, are theysimply a fantasy of the basement dweller?

4.  Could any of the news video presented be re-edited by the basement dweller? 

5.  What is the motivation of the conspiracy theorist?

Anyone who believes this conspiracy is true should research methods unreliable media sources (and people) use to blatantly manipulate the public. There are many techniques that exist today for that purpose.  If this conspiracy theory had any truth to it, the mainstream media would break the story.  For now, don't trust what you read on the Internet unless you can validate the source.

Link to Sandy Hook Conspiracy article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/sandy-hook-conspiracy-theory-video-debunked_n_2487427.html

That's all for today from this six foot tall supermodel. 

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