QUESTION TEXT: Journalist: It is unethical for journalists to lie—to…
QUESTION TYPE: Method of Reasoning
CONCLUSION: It’s wrong to say that withholding information is as bad as lying.
REASONING: Lying gives people wrong beliefs. Withholding information only allows a new false belief to form.
ANALYSIS: The journalist makes a somewhat valid distinction. Withholding info does seem less bad than outright lying.
The method of argument is to show a distinction between two concepts and show that one (withholding info) is ok based on that distinction.
- CORRECT. This matches. See especially the sentence that starts with “however”. The journalist says that critics fail to see the difference between lying and merely withholding information. Both are similar, but this key difference means only lying is wrong.
- Not so. This describes a situation where others are attacking a distinction. But in this argument, the author is criticizing those who didn’t see a distinction at all. The author makes a new argument that there is a distinction that everyone missed.
- The journalist defines two terms: lying, and withholding information.
- Gad, this is complex. It has nothing to do with the passage. I’ve made a parallel argument below to show what this answer would look like.
Example of answer: You say it’s always right to tell the truth. This therefore proves you should have handed your brother over to the police.
But in some cases, the truth can kill people from shock. For instance, my uncle Harris died when he learned his son gained his fortune by fraud. Therefore, the truth is not always good, and that principle cannot support your argument that you should turn in your brother.
- The journalist didn’t give examples of when withholding information is allowed and when it isn’t. So there was no clarification of this moral principle by examples.
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