Wente - Critical Analysis

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Margaret Wente takes a controversial position in her article Polar bears don’t need us to save them by providing an optimistic outlook for the fate of the polar bear population. Wente attempts to convince her audience that scientists are merely “making a political point, not a scientific one” (par.7) when they claim that the polar bear population is declining and will be “dead by a certain date” (par.7). She emphasizes that the best way to help the polar bears is to stop harassing them, and for scientists to shift their focus back to conducting core research. Although, Wente makes an effective appeal to her audience’s emotions, her overall argument is compromised by poorly evidenced claims, and a weak appeal to authority. The effect of global warming on the polar bear population and lack of substantial measures to stop the extinction of this species has resulted in public outcry in recent years. However, Wente argues that the public is being deceived by scientists who have become fixated on manipulating the plight of the polar bears to obtain “more media face-time” (par.11) instead of conducting “actual polar bear research” (par.11). Wente references researchers Zac Unger and Kelsey Eliasson to assert that, contrary to popular belief, the polar-bear population is not declining and in fact much bigger than it were 40 years ago. The most effective technique employed in Wente’s persuasive strategy is her appeal to emotion. Wente understands that her audience is particularly sensitive about the state of the polar bears so she opens with a dramatic claim that polar bears will soon be “only left in the zoos” (par.1) and the population will decline by “two-thirds by mid-century” (par.1). She then proceeds to use “highly emotional language” (Prinsen 2) such as “doom-and-gloom” (par.11) and “poked, prodded and scrutinized” (par.12) to invoke her readers’
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