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Evaluating Critically

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Critical evaluation is defined as "an active, thoughtful examination of what you read, hear and see." The purpose of a critical evaluation is to determine whether or not the author's views are accurate or inaccurate. Not falling victim to manipulation and deception are the results of critically evaluations. Critical evaluations are mostly needed when the work is intended to persuade the reader. Many distinctions have to be made in order for a critical evaluation to happen. This includes distinctions between person and the idea, matters of taste and matters of judgment, fact and interpretation, literal and ironic statements, and language and reality. It is important for a reader to critically evaluate topics such as local and national politics, economics and business news. National and local politics can be riddled with opinions, judgments and otherwise seemingly factual information. It lies solely with the reader to determine whether or not the information is accurate or not.

Ross Douthat's article "Why Obama is Winning," at first glance, can give off mixed. One could assume that the contents in the article could be either fact or opinion. The article though, is filled with a little of both. The article present many statistical findings about the President's number before and during his time in office. The author uses facts in this article to explain and defend his opinions and judgments about why Obama is winning. Although there are some facts sprinkled throughout this article, the article is mostly opinion based. The author is talking about why he thinks Obama is winning in the race to the White House. Just because the author is able to provide some factual information about some of the things that Obama has done in office does not mean that his statements are valid and free from errors. Although we are all entitled to our own opinions, if we are defending them, we need facts not just our opinions. If we expect others to see things as we see them, it is important that we are able to provide facts to support our views.

The media, at any given time, can be very biased toward a particular candidate, issue or political topic. It is, therefore, so very important to make distinctions when you undertake a critical evaluation because the reader has to be able to distinguish between fact and sensationalism. It is also important for the reader to be able to identify that there is indeed a bias, judgment, or prejudice within the work so as to not be manipulated into thinking that the author's views and opinions are indeed factual. When a reader is able to critically evaluate a story, it means that they are able to research the information independently before deciding what and what not to believe. A reader has to be well informed in order to overcome the biased messages that the media portrays. Readers have to be able, ready and willing to find out the truth and not just accept



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