The following is a memorandum from the business manager of a television station.
“Over the past year, our late-night news program has devoted increased time to national news
and less time to weather and local news. During this time period, most of the complaints
received from viewers were concerned with our station’s coverage of weather and local news.
In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during our late-night news program have just
canceled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to the
program and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should restore the time
devoted to weather and local news to its former level.”
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the
argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
The additional evidence that would be needed to make the argument sound would be whether or not the complaints have a direct correlation to the loss of advertising contracts. The evidence provided in the statement does not specifically make a connection to the complaints of the viewers and a loss in viewership, and thus a loss in viewers exposed to the advertisements. If the station were to provide a direct correlation between more complaints and loss of advertising than the argument of restoring the former content would be strengthened.
In addition, the argument does not specify whether the complaints are directly related to the late-night news content, but rather makes a broad statement that more complaints are being received. More evidence on what exact time the viewers are complaining about would allow for a more detailed analysis of what should be done about the late-night news and the loss of advertising contracts for that time slot. The addition of time-specific analysis could strengthen the argument to restore the former content of late-night news if it is shown that viewers are complaining specifically about that time slot and its content. However, if the time-specific analysis showed that the viewers were complaining primarily about the day-time news content, as an example, then the case for restoring the former late-night news content would be unfounded.
More information on why exactly the advertising contracts are being canceled would be beneficial to the argument if they were to be correlated with lower viewership because of the complaints received. If the advertisers are canceling because of a loss of exposure to their advertisements then it would be reasonable for the manager to restore content that the viewership is asking for. The evidence that is presented thus far does not explain why advertisers are canceling their contracts, and without such an explanation the argument for restoring a specific portion of the content to counteract such an unknown variable is not sound. As it stands the advertisers could be canceling their contracts because the television station could have raised the rates they are charging and the ability to make an argument for restoring content would simply be unrelated. This information on the exact reason for the cancellations is crucial to developing an argument that addresses the specific problem at hand.