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#22 - Commentator: Unfortunately, Roehmer’s opinion column

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lathlee
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the credited answer E) says this question stem contains the internal flaw. the conclusion says: Roehmer's opinion column has a polarizing effect on national politics.

i don't really see it decisively employs a tactic at one point that it elsewhere objects to... i agree that the reasoning by commentator might reduce the persuasiveness or validity of the conclusion but that tactic doesn't really destroy the conclusion's power that much.
Adam Tyson
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I don't think you have the conclusion correctly identified here, lathlee. The author isn't ultimately trying to prove that Roehmer has a polarizing effect, although he does offer support for that claim. Rather, he is saying that while that is true, it's probably not a problem for Roehmer. In other words, Roehmer probably doesn't care about that effect. You have identified a subordinate conclusion, not the main one.

The commentator accuses Roehmer of impugning the motives of her adversaries, but then goes on to impugn Roehmer's motives, saying that she isn't really trying to change anyone's minds but only to please her loyal readers. The author has done exactly what he complained about! If it's a flaw for Roehmer to do it, then it is a flaw for the Commentator to do so.

I was somewhat drawn to answer D here at first, thinking that Roehmer can't really be having a polarizing effect on national politics if she only speaks to one side of the partisan divide, but then I found E more appealing and realized that while Roehmer might only be trying to please one side, she still could be antagonizing the other side. All I had to do was think about every opinionated jerk in the media today, all the trolls and instigators out there speaking to their base alone but dividing us further in the process, and that helped me eliminate D and select the better choice.
Adam M. Tyson
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lathlee
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i see it now, Thank you so much Adam.
btw: it is a source flaw with strong element of internal flaw characterstic within.
lathlee
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Hello,

Adam, even though your explanation was excellent, i guess it is bit too abstract for me to comprehend fully; I get how the commentator accuses Roehmer of impugning the motives of her adversaries but how the commentator is doing that as well. I NOW get and see that the conclusion of this argument is Roehmer is to please her loyal readers but the author(commentator) is doing that same. we (the readers) can SPECULATE he/she (commentator) is doing that. but that is could be, NOT Must be. so it cannot be valide answer in 1st group family. WE (the readers) don't have a vivid enough proof in stimulus that commentator is also just pleasing his/her loyal readers.
Khodi7531
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I chose D over E. Correct me if i'm wrong but do the PT80s + have different sorts of answers than in the past?


These answers, like E, I don't even understand because I haven't seen what they're exactly "referring" to for a question like this flaw.


I thought the issue was how the author says Roehmer has a polarizing effect on national politics and then concludes that it's not a problem for her since her column is an attempt to appeal to her base.

Contradict may be strong but I was thinking something along the lines of that. She's having a polarizing effect but then goes, "she's just appealing to her base". Not sure what all this means but I felt like there was something in there that was the issue here.


For E I wasn't sure what "tactic" they're employing and what else it "objects to".
Adam Tyson
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The tactic being referred to is "impugning the motives of her adversaries." The author says that Roehmer has polarizing national politics because she has been doing that, so apparently our author things that impugning the motives of one's opponents is a bad thing. But then, at the end of the stimulus, the author does the same thing to Roehmer, impugning her motives! The problem with this argument is that the author is a hypocrite!

Lathlee, this is not about the author appealing to his own loyal readers. We have no idea who our author is writing for, or what his motives are. The problem is that he criticized Roehmer for impugning the motives of others, and then he impugned her motives.

Khodi, I do think there has been a shift in recent years towards more abstract questions and answers, and this is a good example of that. It's natural and predictable that the test will evolve over time, for if it did not, then it would get progressively easier as the inventory of questions available for study grew and they were all the same. I think you could look at the test at almost any point in its modern history, after the first five years or so, and see shifts in the types and mixture of questions, the use of language, the introduction of new twists in games, etc. It is always evolving in order to stay challenging, but the same skills are still being tested. We just have to stay sharp and keep honing our logic skills, breaking down arguments into their component pieces, identifying conclusions and structure and method and flaws, and being ready for whatever they throw at us. It's hard, but that's always been the case with the LSAT!

Good luck to you both, keep at it!
Adam M. Tyson
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ja123
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Hello,

I chose E, but only through process of elimination. I recognized that the commentator demonstrated hypocrisy in its argument, but was very hesitant to choose E because isn't pointing out hypocrisy, itself, usually considered a flaw in argumentation. E.g. A question would say something like "The politician must have been lying when he said he opposes campaign contributions from Fortune 500 companies because in his last election he took many donations from Fortune 500 companies." And the flaw in this argument would be the fact that a disparity between action and statement doesn't make the statement untrue.

Thank you, and please let me know if my example at the end was unclear!
Jonathan Evans
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Hi, ja123,

Great question! Yes, "source" arguments that attack a trait of the person making a claim rather than the claim itself is a fallacy. This is exactly what's going on here! The tactic that the author employs is to impugn Roehmer's motives. This is a "source"/ad hominem attack on Roehmer. The argument is vulnerable to criticism because of this "source" fallacy all by itself.

The answer choice additionally points out that the commentator has even objected to such ad hominem attacks elsewhere in the same argument. This is icing on the cake. The argument is fallacious because of the "source" attack, and it's extra crazy that the author states explicitly that ad hominem attacks are wrong and then makes one himself.

Does this help clarify this question?
ja123
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Jonathan Evans wrote:Hi, ja123,

Great question! Yes, "source" arguments that attack a trait of the person making a claim rather than the claim itself is a fallacy. This is exactly what's going on here! The tactic that the author employs is to impugn Roehmer's motives. This is a "source"/ad hominem attack on Roehmer. The argument is vulnerable to criticism because of this "source" fallacy all by itself.

The answer choice additionally points out that the commentator has even objected to such ad hominem attacks elsewhere in the same argument. This is icing on the cake. The argument is fallacious because of the "source" attack, and it's extra crazy that the author states explicitly that ad hominem attacks are wrong and then makes one himself.

Does this help clarify this question?


Hi Jonathan,

Thank you for the response! I"m still somewhat confused because I don't see answer choice D as mentioning the source fallacy. It appears to strictly refer to the internal contradiction. And to my understanding, this internal contradiction on its own is not a vulnerability in the argument. Can you clarify?

Thanks!