Arguments Based On Emotion: Media

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The effectiveness of arguments based on emotion depends on the type of media they are presented in. If the argument is presented in a book or on television, it would make an impact internally. The person may express their (dis)content out loud and maybe share it with a few friends/family, but that would be the end of it. Arguments presented on the Internet, however, are easily accessible, can be viewed more than once, and often have a comments section. It is in the comments where viewers are able to share their immediate thoughts with essentially the whole world. Not only that, but others can instantly respond to their comments. This allows a dialogue to begin between those leaving comments. By presenting an argument on the Internet (especially one of a controversial topic), one is able to effectively get their message across. This is a high risk and high reward form of media. The reward is that many people can strongly support the argument. The risk is that others will be emboldened to completely shoot down the argument.

teacher suspended blog-889326448_v2.grid-5x2An example of this is a June 27, 2012 news story leaked about high school teacher, Natalie Monroe. Monroe publicly thrashed her students on her blog. People were not only upset that she did this, but they were also upset because she did not apologize. Instead Monroe argued that she was allowed to write whatever she wanted since she was only exercising her right to freedom of speech. Her story went viral on the Internet. One response was an online letter written by Chris Lehmann. His letter too received many responses. Although most of the comments supported his argument against Monroe, there were two comments who defended her. These comments didn’t seem to make a huge difference in the overall conversation.

The Internet facilitates arguments based on emotions for several reasons. First the Internet is able to create such an angry outburst is because people are able to exit and enter the conversation at any time they like. They also have all the time in the world to think about what they want to say and how they say it. The Internet also allows them to reach a greater audience. But if they saw the same argument on television or in a newspaper, their comment about it would be limited to whoever is in the room with them. Most likely, that person in the room will agree with whatever side the commenter takes and therefore does not leave much room for debate or discussion. But on the Internet, one is always able to find people who disagree and are passionate about their side of the argument to keep it going. Finally, the Internet provides anonymity to the person leaving the comment. Things one might not be brave to say in person are easily expressed on as an Internet comment or blog page. The identity is protected making people feel more at ease at expressing their opinions no matter how unpopular they are.

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