Political Relevance: Case Study 6-A

by davidamelotti

The below list of 4 criteria are standards set forth in the class text to aid individuals in the evaluation of political speeches, placing emphasis on relevant information.


1. Is the information useful – does it provide citizens with the kind of information that helps individual and collective decision making?

2. Is the information sufficient – is there enough of it and is there enough depth to allow people to make informed choices?

3. Is the information trustworthy?

4. Who is the “audience” – the political “we” on which the ancient Greeks placed so much emphasis?


Chapter 6 Case 6-A will be evaluated. It was appropriately titled “Cable news: 24/7 Political Speech or Something Else?”

The case study discusses the conflict between China and CNN following the blunt commentary of CNN commentator, Jack Cafferty. For an individual who is in the public eye, has influence over millions of viewers, providing quotes such as, “…I think our relationship with China has certainly changed. I think they’re basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they’ve been for the last 50 years,” (161)  is idiotic. When playing the game of global politics, one has to be held accountable for what they state whether in a professional setting or not as life for an individual such as Cafferty is one vast show.

If we use the list of 4 standards made available above and critic the case study with those criteria in mind, clearly what Cafferty stated was not truly relevant despite creating a global conflict.

“They’re holding hundreds o f billions of dollars worth of our paper. We are also running hundreds of billions of dollars worth of trade deficits with them as we continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we’re buying from Wal-Mart.” (161)

With that statement in mind, this allows an individual to make a decision regarding number 1 however, this summarization provided highlights a few number of reported instances. Is that fair? I’m not sure I have an answer for that.

Is the information sufficient? Well that ties into the previous idea that his statement regards past events but no secondary information is provided. The extent of damage, the loss of lives, how many other items were located that had tainted substances on their surfaces; that information as not made available but judgment in the mind of some can be rightfully passed.

As far as can the information be trusted, it can be under the mindset of realizing it has bias due to CNN and the mentality they have in presenting news to their target audience. One may also recognize the frustration and mild hate attached to the commentary which suggests that an emotional stance may be tempering with the legitimacy of facts.

Lastly, the audience involved is the target audience, not the general public. CNN focuses on their target demographic, not supplying the world with a vast amount of news information. They strive for dollars.