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Audiences find a speaker more convincing if the speaker

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: Audiences find a speaker more convincing if the speaker  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2016, 08:33
mjana89 wrote:
Hello Mike,

could you please help me with above question?

Premise 1: Argue against your position before supporting it
Premise 2: shows you as fair minded and trustworthy
conclusion: to win votes use above technique

The OA given is A.

I am not comfortable with A, since we need to assume that medium used is only news media.
I choose C. C accepts character(premise 2) without position (premise 1). By whatever means if you establish character, you win votes. Hence i feel C weakens.

Could you please point what I missed here?

Dear mjana89,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

I don't know the source of this question, but I think it's a good question, and a tricky one.

Our job is to find a weakener, something that weakens the argument. I would say that, while (C) is a weakener in a way, it's not a strong weakener. By contrast, (A) is a powerful weakener.

First, let's look at (C):
(C) People decide which political candidate to vote for more on the basis of their opinions of the candidate's character than on the exact positions of the candidate.
The exact wording is crucial here. This is NOT saying that the exact positions are NOT influential in how people choose. Instead, it's saying that the candidate's character is most important, and the exact opinions are less important than character but not necessarily unimportant. If I deeply admire the character of Candidate X, but then Candidate X starts espousing opinions with which I completely disagree, according to this answer choice, those opinions are NOT going to have zero effect on me: in fact, with enough individual opinions on which I and Candidate X disagree, I might vote against Candidate X despite his admirable character. This choice leaves open this possibility, so it's still somewhat important for Candidate X to be persuasive. This choice, we might say, lessens the impact of the argument, reduces the urgency of the point being made, but doesn't obliterate the argument.

Now, let's look at (A):
(A) Political candidates typically have no control over which excerpts from their speeches will be reported by the news media.

First of all, I am not sure that I understand the distinction you are drawing between the "news media" and "media" in general. This is not a distinction that occurs in the argument itself. In my mind, "news media" means any reporting about current events on TV, on the radio, on internet news sites, or in printed newspapers and news journals. Insofar as one can glean facts about current events from, say, Wikipedia or Facebook, we could have to include those sites as "news media." Even humorous shows, such as Stephen Colbert's late night program, would be considered "new media" insofar as he discusses, analyzes, and lampoons current events. By definition, any form of media in which the opinions & words & actions of currently campaigning politicians were presented and/or discussed would have to be "news media." The kind of media that would not be "news media" at all would be, for example, the cooking channel, or an all-music radio station, or a website about the history of bowling---places in which absolutely no mention of current events would be made.

I think (A) is a brilliant and subtle OA. Suppose I am the candidate. Suppose my position is that I want to lower taxes for the middle class, and I want people to associate me with that position. Suppose I follow the advice in this argument, and begin a speech with two minutes about how raising taxes on the middle class might be beneficial for the country before I go on to explain why I think lowering these taxes is a better idea. Well, then it's certainly possible--in fact, given the proclivities of the media, somewhat predictable--that the next day there would be headlines screaming: "Mike Says Taxing the Middle Class a Good Idea!" Thus, the few people who heard my whole speech or took the time to read the transcript of the whole speech would understand my real position, but I don't think it's a wild assumption to say that many many more people know just the screaming headlines than know all the facts. Thus, I would be strongly associated with a position that is not mine, and this could be devastating to my election hopes. Thus, (A) is a powerful weakener and is the best answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep


Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

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Re: Audiences find a speaker more convincing if the speaker  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2018, 06:53
rockubabe wrote:
Audiences find a speaker more convincing if the speaker begins a speech by arguing briefly against his or her position before providing reasons for accepting it. The reason this technique is so effective is that it makes the speaker appear fair-minded and trustworthy. Therefore, candidates for national political office who wish to be successful in winning votes should use this argumentative technique in their speeches.

Which one of the following, if true, most seriously limits the effectiveness of adopting the argument's recommendation?

(A) Political candidates typically have no control over which excerpts from their speeches will be reported by the news media.
(B) Many people do not find arguments made by politicians convincing, since the arguments are often one-sided or oversimplify the issues.
(C) People decide which political candidate to vote for more on the basis of their opinions of the candidate's character than on the exact positions of the candidate.
(D) People regard a political candidate more favorably if they think that the candidate respects an opponent's position even while disagreeing with it.
(E) Political candidates have to address audiences of many different sizes and at many different locations in the course of a political campaign.


When I read option A I did not even intend to look at other options. A - the best.

Prethinking: we have to find an option that shows us that the recommendation is not effective.

B. It may be true. In general. But it does not say anything about the effectiveness.
C. Sure. It is a nice one. This option says that nothing that politician says matters. So the effectiveness of recommendation = Zero.
D. It strengthens. So the reccomendation is effective. > 0.
E. It may be true. In general. But it does not say anything about the effectiveness.

A. This option says us that effectiveness of recommendation may be negative. Because news media can take the first part of candidat's speach and dismiss the second one.
GMAT Club Bot
Re: Audiences find a speaker more convincing if the speaker &nbs [#permalink] 07 Mar 2018, 06:53

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