|Home||Evaluation for this activity looks at the time that a student has taken to evaluate the article. If an article is read too quickly, many of the article's weaknesses will be overlooked. Although the elements will be different depending on which article is read, here is a brief summary to evaluate the Patriot Act article that is included here:|
This article is written by Kate O'Beirne, who is the Washington editor for the National Review.
This doesn't tell you much, except that the National Review is typically a right-leaning publication
and it is good to know the slant of the publication. It is easy to do a Google search for her name
and learn more. A Google search reveals that she is also a panelist on the CNN show "The Capital Gang"
and that she was trained and practiced as a lawyer.
There are no citations in this article, and it would be best if there were. She quotes Congressional voting records which are readily available. Also included are quotes from members of Congress, but they may be taken out of context and since there is no citation, it would be difficult to track down the original.
This article certainly shows only one perspective: that the Patriot Act is a good law. Not only is this author for the Patriot Act, she criticizes those who are against is as being wrong. She does not give any voice or credit to those who think differently as she does. She includes a quote that says that there is no problem with the Patriot Act itself, the real problem is fear about the Patriot Act. It is implied that this fear is irrational.
There is quite a bit of emotional language used in the article. The subtitle of the article is: "This is a law that defends America, and, yes, preserves civil liberties, dammit." She is trying to get her point across, and feels that using this attention-grabbing language is the way to do it. She also uses terms like "hostile media," hysterical, partisan attacks," and "hysterical critics" throughout the article.
There is some use of logical fallacies here. She argues for the Patriot Act, that it has prevented terrorist attacks since September 11, but she doesn't tell you exactly how. Also, rather than giving a sound argument defending her perspective on the Patriot Act, she simply criticizes those who think differently, saying that they can't even get the facts straight. She quotes that 91 percent of the public's civil liberties has not been affected by the Patriot Act. Others would argue that the 9% who have been affected is significant enough, or if even a handful of people where affected it would be too much. There are many perspectives that are not considered in this article, that are given no voice and criticized.