Credibility Of The CLAIM Summary

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Credibility 4 R aymond James Merrill was the brother of an acquaintance of one of your authors. In his mid-fifties, Merrill still cut a striking figure—tall and lean, with chiseled features, a bushy mustache, and a mane of blond hair. But he had been in a funk. He had broken up with his girlfriend, and he did not want to be alone. Then a website that featured “Latin singles” led him to Regina Rachid, an attractive woman with a seductive smile who lived in San Jose dos Campos, a city in southern Brazil, and suddenly Merrill was in love. Desperately so, it seems. He believed everything Rachid told him and was credulous enough to make three trips to Brazil to be with her, to give her thousands of dollars in cash, and to buy her a $20,000…show more content…
108 CHAPTER 4: CREDIBILITY Just what this answer means will be explained in the section that follows. After that, we’ll turn our attention to the second question we asked earlier, about the credibility of sources. ASSESSING THE CONTENT OF THE CLAIM So, some claims stand up on their own; they tend to be acceptable regardless of from whom we hear them. But when they fail on their own, as we’ve said, it’s because they come into conflict either with our own observations or with what we call our “background knowledge.” We’ll discuss each of these in turn. Does the Claim Conflict with Our Personal Observations? Our own observations provide our most reliable source of information about the world. It is therefore only reasonable to be suspicious of any claim that comes into conflict with what we’ve observed. Imagine that Moore has just come from the home of Mr. Marquis, a mutual friend of his and Parker’s, and has seen his new red Mini Cooper automobile. He meets Parker, who tells him, “I heard that Marquis has bought a new Mini Cooper, a bright blue one.” Moore does not need critical thinking training to reject Parker’s claim about the color of the car, because of the obvious conflict with his earlier…show more content…
Since 2001, when the Federal Communications Commission loosened the regulations regarding ownership of newspapers, radio stations, and television stations, the concentration of media in fewer and fewer hands has been accelerating. From thousands of independent media outlets in the mid-twentieth century, media ownership dropped to only fifty companies by 1983. By late 2004, approximately 90 percent of all media companies in the United States were controlled by just five companies: Time Warner (Warner Bros., Time, Inc., HBO, CNN, etc.), Disney (ABC, ESPN, Miramax Films, etc.), News Corp. (Fox Television, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, etc.), General Electric (NBC, Universal Studios, A & E Television, etc.), and Viacom (Paramount Pictures, MTV, Comedy Central, etc.). The subsidiaries listed in parentheses are only a tiny portion of these companies’ holdings. No matter what you see on television, the great likelihood is that one or more of these companies had a hand in producing it or getting it onto your screen. The fewer hands that control the media, the easier it is for the news we get to be “managed”—either by the owners themselves or by their commercial advertisers or even, as we’ll next see, by the
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