1. The topic of violence in the media is an issue, as presented by the articles and their opposing viewpoints. This is evidenced by the fact that there is no clear cut determination of whether or not violence in real life is tied to media violence. If it were a problem, the debate would involve how to solve violence in the media, and which solution is best. As the discussion is about the role of media in real life violence, this is what makes it an issue. At the same time, the idea of violence itself is considered a problem implicit in the argument.
2. Both authors and debaters present the issues in an effective manner. Donnerstein relates the idea that seeing fake violence repeatedly in the media makes it okay in the minds of some, and desensitizes them to the idea of violence. This would then make them less reticent to hurt people. At the same time, Torr effectively argues that the media should not be held accountable for the actions of individuals, and as such should not be blamed. Just seeing an action on television is not equal to wanting to imitate it, as other examples are used of innocuous characters who are not emulated (Cardcaptors, etc.).
3. Both authors use various types of information in order to make their points. In order to figure out whether they were real or credible, I would investigate the authors of these sources in order to determine whether or not they were actual authorities in the subject. I would also see what kind of publishing and review process those types of articles go through, to make sure that fact checking is utilized. Authors of books, for example, would be more credible than some people’s biased, correlation-based opinions. The APA’s Commission on Violence and Youth is a very reputable organization, lending Torr’s argument some validity.
4. Two steps that can effectively create a resolution to the issue of the media’s role in violence are examining my evidence and examining my argument. When examining my evidence, I would look at the various bits of evidence collected for each side in order to determine which has more credible facts to rely on. Next, I would examine the arguments in order to find logical holes – gaps in reasoning that would make one argument less valid than the other. Which one was revealed to have the more narrow perspective would be an unfavorable argument, leaving the other victorious.
5. When analyzing the issue, it is important to figure out the intricacies and various attributes to each argument – what is involved, what they require, etc. When weighing the issue, it is vital to figure out what would be changed or decided with each argument, or what would result from the resolution of this debate. When considering the disadvantages, you must determine what the worst outcome would be given the validity of each argument. All of these things can help us look at the issue of media violence more critically, and make sure each argument is presented in as full detail as possible.
6. When refining solutions to this problem, there are three things we can do. First, we can look at the application of each solution. For example, how would we stop media violence from occurring? How would we determine what media-based violence was prevented, if any? After that we would see how difficult it was to implement it. (Would it be easier to just ignore the problem?) Finally, we would see who had to be persuaded in order to get the solution implemented (Who would you have to convince in order to do it themselves?) Media violence would have many parties who needed convincing, from parents to media executives.
7. Donnerstein’s argument has included several errors that affect truth and validity. For one, he all but admits that the media is but one of many problems that affect violence, diminishing his argument and making it seem less valid – after all, there are many other causes of violence, so this seems like a drop in the bucket. Furthermore, he relies too much on anecdotal information about his own television experiences to inform his arguments, using fewer statistics and experts as a result. Finally, he makes too many spurious arguments regarding his own bias on the issue, saying “I know” and “I realize” instead of using expert opinions.
8. As I evaluated both sides of my topic, I first read through the arguments in order to get their primary points. After that, I decided to analyze each argument in order to test its validity. Then, I checked the credibility of the sources used for their information, to find out if I could trust their sources. Then I set their arguments through my own ethical filter, using the strength of their own arguments to determine whether or not I agreed with one or the other. Eventually, I came to the decision that, despite the strength of both arguments, the role of media in violence is too small compared to the many others to make a real difference if it were changed.
9. If I were to make my own argument against the role of media in violence, I would take very similar steps to Torr. I would make sure to use every credible source I could find denoting both the small role of the media in violence compared to other reasons for violence, and the unfeasibility of taking action against it. I would determine what the negative consequences would be for censoring television further (and what it would mean for free speech in particular). I would suggest that the solution to violence is to work on the people, and not the media.
10. If I want to learn to speak and write better, I will use the following approaches to apply the aforementioned techniques. First, I would make sure to think critically with every speech or writing piece I would work on. I must make sure that I am thoroughly examining my argument and using strong sources before presenting it. Secondly, I would make sure to use appropriate techniques for persuasion, framing my arguments in a context that my audience would find appealing. Finally, I would make sure to approach my speech from the opposing viewpoints; how would the refute my claims, and how valid are their concerns?