Sample – Evaluate the credibility of the author’s argument in terms of the evidence. Evaluate Rep. Linda Sanchez’s Argument TAG Summarize author’s argument and audience. MY THESIS TS Evidence Explain Link TS Evidence Explain Link TS Evidence Explain Link Sum up my argument In her persuasive essay, “Protecting Victims, Preserving Freedoms,” Rep. Linda Sanchez argues that we should criminalize cyberbullying by passing the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act. This bill, which Sanchez introduced to Congress, would punish cyberbullies by imprisoning or fining them. In order to address internet users and those who are concerned about freedom of speech on the internet, Sanchez claims that Congress has no interest in censoring speech. In other words, she assures us that our freedom of speech won’t be affected because the First Amendment protects us. She points out that slander and libel laws already exist to limit the ability of people to lie about someone in a way that harms them. Sanchez’s argument is somewhat weakened by her dependence on rhetorical questions, the superficial use of a case study, and a flawed analogy. Sanchez uses rhetorical questions to force the reader to ask themselves ethical questions – is it right or wrong to ignore children who are being bullied? Her questions point out that there really isn’t a difference between bullying on the street and bullying online. We should not ignore either case. This attempt to tug at readers’ heartstrings is somewhat convincing because it causes us to consider the moral and ethical issue of bullying. Of course no one wants to ignore a child that is being bullied in person or online. Yet this emotional appeal can be considered a cheap method of convincing people because it lacks substance. In addition, Sanchez’s reference to a case study by the US Secret Service also lacks substance. Sanchez relies on the credibility of this government agency to make a logical appeal linking bullying to school violence. The effect is more emotional, however, causing audiences to fear that online bullying could cause a school massacre like that of Columbine. The logical impact is stifled, however, because Sanchez fails to explain the details of the study and how the Columbine massacre could be linked to online bullying. Furthermore, Sanchez uses an analogy by comparing when someone yells “fire” in a crowded theater to someone who bullies others on the internet. There are legal consequences for yelling “fire,” but there are no consequences for cyberbullying. Sanchez’s analogy – which compares the fact that yelling “fire” in a theater has consequences, while saying something harmful online does not – is a somewhat strong logical appeal. Yelling “fire” could cause a stampede that hurts people, and saying something cruel online could hurt someone’s self esteem. However, the comparison is somewhat flawed, because people can ignore mean messages online. It’s more difficult to ignore a potentially dangerous threat in a public setting. At first glance, it is easy for audiences to succumb to Rep. Sanchez’s attempts to strike fear in our hearts. We are all aware of the problems with online bullying. However, Sanchez’s dependence on emotional appeals does little to sway those who are concerned about our free speech rights. Her argument lacks strong empirical evidence to convince us that enacting laws to prevent online bullying outweighs our First Amendment rights.