Discussion Question Week 7
A cause and effect essay can be defined as a paper that explores what consequences an action or aspect can have on people, life, and the environment in which it occurs. In the case of video games, a cause and effect essay would discuss what video games do to society and how it changes the people who play them. It is often argued that the presence of sex and violence in video games has the effect of desensitizing children to these things, making them less afraid or naïve about them. The concern is that violent and sexual video games are not appropriate for children to play, as it can fundamentally alter their development and give them unhealthy attitudes about sexuality and violence. Detractors state that it can cause children to become violent themselves or show them how to be sexually active, as the game teaches them how to do that in a virtual environment.
Response #1 04/02/2011 08:31 AM , by: Rachel
Rachel, you make an interesting point in how to address video games, in that they market themselves toward a niche market that focuses on the sex and violence. Perhaps if they had more well-rounded games that appealed to a bigger audience, there would not be the stigma of video games being violent. Luckily, I think games like Rock Band and Cooking Mama are starting to appeal to soft gamers who do not want to blow things up.
Response #2 04/03/2011 11:54 AM , by: Kendra
Kendra, your car analogies do certainly explain cause and effect, in that the part does something that contributes to the overall function of the car. However, I am interested to hear about your thoughts on video games and how that relates to a cause and effect situation, as that is not part of your response at all. It can be easy to write a cause and effect essay – you should try one on car maintenance.
News Story – Cracking on Airliners
CNN.com – This story, while on the front page of both of the other sites, was hidden away in the sidebar, as there were other stories that had taken higher priority. CNN felt that long-lost plane wreckage of a 1999 plane crash was more important, as well as rumors of bonuses given to Gulf oil spill bosses. In this story, a Southwest jet took off on Friday, only to land 20 minutes later in Arizona because a hole opened up on the top of the jet in midflight. This is providing a manhunt for airplanes with miniscule cracks in them, which cannot be seen by routine inspections.
CNN’s coverage of the story included a long article which included straightforward stating of the facts, interviews with people involved, such as the passengers, flight crew, and Southwest officials, not to mention Boeing and government agencies related to airplane safety. There is a distinct lack of bias or commentary, merely ordering the facts as they are, citing their sources comprehensively and not resorting to conjecture to make for a juicier news story. Every source is quoted comprehensively, and no extra prose is given, making it feel like an infodump. It does not make for as interesting a read as the other two websites, but it feels more authentic and genuine. I believe the information on this website before I would on the other two. There are no external links within the story to anything else, although there is a video of the news story provided by CNN.
MSNBC.com – This was the top story on MSNBC.com, though it did not have a picture, and it was overshadowed a bit by the large picture of the Country Music Awards in the Entertainment section right next to it. That can make a reader almost miss it, thinking the CMAs were the top breaking story on the website. This article talked about how there are more cracks found in planes than just the one that was discussed on CNN.com. This article felt more sensationalist – subheadings such as “Tense moments” helped to underscore the fact that the Arizona flight was a terrifying experience. This tends to play with the emotions of the reader a bit more than the cold, hard facts of CNN, but there is still plenty of information relayed. However, this information is not quoted as much as CNN’s; it tends to read more like paraphrasing; whereas CNN felt like an infodump, this felt like Cliff’s Notes, giving us the pertinent information while disseminating it for someone who isn’t as academic as others. Instead of identifying people or agencies, they describe providers of information in generic terms, such as “a spokeswoman,” for example. The facts seem more generalized and less genuine. At the same time, they also seem to want to assuage reader’s fears that this is a widespread claim, saying that the crack incidents are exclusive to Southwest. There is a single link to the previous story, which is the precursor to this one showcasing the actual Southwest act of grounding the jets after the Arizona incident.
FoxNews.com – This one is very close in spirit to the MSNBC.com article; it tackles the same subject (the fact that more cracks have been found on airliners), as well as having a similar mix of conjecture, narrative license and pure fact. There is a lot more commentary in this article than the rest; the writer definitely draws conclusions based on the facts given, such as “This means flight cancellations will likely continue until the planes are back in the air.” While this may or may not be true, it is conjecture on the author’s part, and is not directly attributable to any reputable source. It feels like the opinion of the writer, and that is not incredibly appealing to those who are looking for the truth of the story. Some of the language seems designed to scare people a bit more than the other two websites – stating that bulletins would “strongly suggest extensive checks” of the fuselage, even though it doesn’t strictly say that. That is the writer’s opinion of what should happen as a result of the bulletin’s findings, but no one said that. At the same time, there is still plenty of accurate information here, and there are arguably more quotes here than in the MSNBC article. To that extent, the FoxNews article takes the effort to maintain the exact words of the speakers. However, there are still not enough quotes and direct citations of information to place it above the CNN article in terms of trustworthiness.