14. Your present assignment is to deeply analyze and critique one of Pollak’s criticisms of Keenan.
Did Keenan make it seem as though Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals?
Your present assignment is to deeply analyze and critique one of Pollak’s criticisms of Keenan. You should not do anything that is not part of this one specific task. Do not make any comments that are not strictly necessary in order to accomplish a deep critique of this one specific criticism. I strongly suggest that you read the whole of this prompt, follow all the links given here, and do a proper job of researching and analyzing this issue before you come to any conclusions, and complete a logical analysis before you start writing. This assignment has turned out to be amazingly difficult for some students. In fact, I have been shocked at how badly some students have done at this assignment.
The required length for this assignment is "as long as it needs to be to do what I want you to do at the end of this page." This might turn out to be two pages, a page and a half, or maybe even just one page. The bottom line is, if you’ve answered all the important questions, your paper is long enough.
In a previous assignment, you paraphrased Nancy Keenan’s NARAL press release. In my model answer to that assignment, I also paraphrased that press release, so at this point you should have a pretty good idea of what that press release says and doesn’t say.
In that press release, Keenan writes:
"Rep. Paul Ryan’s extreme anti-choice record shows just how serious a threat Mitt Romney’s presidency would be for women," Keenan said. "He has cast 59 votes on reproductive rights while in Congress and not one has been pro-choice. Rep. Ryan has also repeatedly voted to defund family-planning programs and supported the "Let Women Die Bill," which would allow hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency, lifesaving abortion care, even if she could die without it. It comes as no surprise that Romney would choose a like-minded running mate who is just as out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities as he is. The Romney-Ryan ticket is dangerous to women’s health." Rep. Ryan’s anti-choice record includes: Repeatedly voting to deny women in the military, who defend our freedom overseas, the right to use their own, private funds for abortion care at military hospitals. Repeatedly voting to defund Planned Parenthood, which would deny millions of women access to comprehensive reproductive-health care and preventive services. Cosponsoring and repeatedly voting for the Federal Abortion Ban, a law that criminalizes some abortion services, endangers women’s health, and carries a two-year prison sentence for doctors. Voting for an appropriations bill that defunded Planned Parenthood, eliminated the Title X family-planning program, and reinstated the D.C. abortion ban."
In his response to Keenan’s press release, Joel Pollak says.
"Keenan makes it seem as though Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger. He did not."
Your task is to evaluate Pollak’s claim against Keenan. What does independent research tell us about the veracity of Keenan’s claim about Ryan? What does logical analysis tell us about the cogency of Pollak’s reasoning against this claim? Is Pollak correct when he apparantly implies that Keenan’s statement as a lie? What does your analysis of this small dispute say about Pollak’s diligence, intelligence and integrity? Do you think that Pollak has done the kind of careful research one should do before one accuses another person of lying? If we assume that Pollak is completely honest here, and is saying exactly what he actually thinks, what does his claim here about Keenan say about his ability to think logically? Finally, if we don’t assume he is completely honest, what does his behavior in this one small matter say about his personal integrity?
Things You Might Want To Think About
Here are some questions you should probably think about before you come to an overall decision. You can pick and choose which issues you investigate based on what you think you need to understand in order to answer the questions at the end of this page. Remember, though, that you are required to come to a correct conclusion about this issue, so skipping questions that might help you actually understand this issue is not a good idea.
What Pollak Says About Keenan
What exactly is Pollak saying about Keenan? Take the sentence I quote above and put it into your own words exactly, making sure you portray him as only saying what he is actually saying.
Does Pollak Make it Look Like Keenan is Lying Here?
Is he implying that what he says Keenan says is a lie, or is he merely asserting that what he says she says is wrong, or that she made a mistake? To figure this out, I want you to read Pollak’s article over again carefully, and think about what he says exactly, and his overall attitude to Keenan’s press release. Does he explicitly describe this particular claim a lie? Does he lump this claim in with other claims that he explicitly describes as lies? Does he refer to all of Keenan’s statements as "lies," or to Keenan herself as a "liar?" On the other had, does he do anything to distinguish what he says she says from other things she says that he says are lies? Read Pollak’s article, and figure out, as best you can, the impression that Pollak generally conveys about this thing Pollak says Keenan says.
Did Keenan Ever Say That Ryan Had Voted To Ban Abortion At All Hospitals?
Re-read Keenan’s press release and see if she ever says any set of words that means "Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger." If you find such words, quote them exactly and then explain how they mean that "Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger."
How Would You Want Your Words To Be Judged By Others?
Suppose you have written a newspaper article criticizing a goverment policy or criticizing a politician. Suppose that everything you say in that article is exactly and completely true. Suppose also that someone says that you are dishonest because he says you make it seem as though some clearly untrue thing is true. Remembering that you did not say the untrue things, and that you did not say anything that implies or even suggests that the untrue thing is true, how would you like others to judge your honesty in this case? Would some random person alleging, without any evidence, that you make it seem as though some untrue thing is true be enough to prove you were dishonest, even though everything you actually said was completely true and accurate?
Did Pollak Give Evidence That Keenan Made It Seem As Though Ryan Had Voted To Ban Abortion At All Hospitals?
Re-read Pollak’s article and see if he does more than simply accuse Keenan of making it seem as though Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger. If he gives evidence, in the form of a quotation, from Keenan’s press release that, in addition to simply saying what she said about Ryan, Keenan also created this other, erroneous impression, you should write out this evidence and explain how it supports Pollak’s claim. If, however, Pollak merely quotes Keenan’s actual words, and then merely says that she makes it seem as though Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger, then you should say that Pollak simply makes an unsupported claim here.
Did Keenan Actually Make It Seem As Though Ryan Had Voted To Ban Abortion At All Hospitals?
This is the crucial issue here. Pollak doesn’t say that Keenan said Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals (because she didn’t), rather he says that she makes it seem as though Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger. My question here is, does this claim make any sense? As I see it, there are two possibilities here.
Keenan did make it seem as though Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger. (If this is the case, there will be something Keenan actually said that creates the impression that Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger.)
Keenan did not make it seem as though Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger. (If this is the case, Keenan only says the things that she actually says and there is nothing in her article that creates this impression.)
Your task is to figure out which of these possibilities is correct. To my mind, the key issue is not "what does Joel Pollak say" but is in fact "what does Nancy Keenan do?" The first question you should ask is, if a reasonably conscientious person read Nancy Keenan’s article with reasonable care, would that reasonably careful reader come away with the impression that Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger, even though Keenan actually did not say this? (If your answer to this question is "no," you don’t need to answer the next question.) If, however, your answer is "yes," you should then ask yourself, did Nancy Keenan do anything in her paper that would trick a reasonably careful reader into thinking that she had said that Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger? (Joel Pollak saying she did this is not the same as her actually doing this. This exercise asks you to think about whether or not Pollak is correct. you can’t settle this question merely by looking at what Pollak says.)
Did Pollak Make It Seem As Though Keenan Said Something She Actually Did Not Say?
When you read Pollak’s criticism of Keenan, did you find yourself wanting to think that Keenan was a rerrible person? Did you find yourself tending to believe that Keenan had said false things about Ryan? Was this impression borne out by a careful examination of Keenan’s actual words and the available evidence? After thinking everything through, do you think that a naive reader, one who read Pollak but did not read Keenan, would come away with a true understanding of what Keenan actually did say in her press release? Did Pollak create a false impression of Keenan? Was this impression only mildly incorrect, or was it completely false and unfair? Was it Pollak rather than Keenan who "made it seem as though" something false was true?
Here’s what I want you to do:
Figure out for yourself whether or not Keenan plays some sort of rhetorical trick to create a false impression that Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger.
If you think that Keenan did pull such a trick, quote the words in her press release where she does this, and explain how this rhetorical trick worked. Merely quoting a set of words where she says something plainly different will not cut it. Nor will quoting or repeating Pollak’s accusation. You have to actually quote some actual words from Keenan’s article that actually create this impression. If you can’t give text from Keenan’s article that actually makes it seem as though Ryan had voted to ban abortion at all hospitals, even if the mother’s life was in mortal danger, you should not say that she has done so.
If you decide that Keenan did not make anything seem as though anything, and that Pollak simply misinterpreted her words or jumped to an unsupported conclusion, say so, and explain your reasoning as clearly and completely as possible.
I should mention that this is more of a thinking exercise than a writing exercise. Your paper here may turn out to be considerably shorter than your previous papers. This will be okay as long as your logic is good, and all of your reasoning is clearly explained. (A paper supporting Keenan might turn out to be considerably shorter than a paper supporting Pollak, since a paper supporting Pollak will have to document and explain the evidence supporting his accusation against Keenan, and explain how this evidence supports the accusation, whereas a paper supporting Keenan would only have to assert that no such evidence exists, and explain how this lack of evidence undermines his accusation. Thus whether you write a shorter or a longer paper will probably depend on which side you decide is right, after you have thought through the issue from both sides.)
Remember that I am not asking you to preserve any previously expressed or privately held opinions. You can change your mind about anything at any time. If you previously thought that the evidence supported one side, but now see that the evidence supports the other side, you are supposed to go with what you see the evidence saying right now. Your most important cognitive faculty is your ability to change your mind. If you think you have to stick with some previously expressed thesis, you are not exercising free will, and you are not thinking for yourself.