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The following appeared in a memorandum from the manager of KMTV, a
ďApplications for advertising spots on KMTV, our local cable television channel,
decreased last year. Meanwhile a neighboring townís local channel, KOOP,
changed its focus to farming issues and reported an increase in advertising
applications for the year. To increase applications for advertising spots, KMTV
should focus its programming on farming issues as well.Ē
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
In this editorial KMTV, a local cable television channel is urged to change its programming focus to farming issues in order to increase
advertising revenues. The authorís line of reasoning is that KOOPís change in focus was the cause of its increase in advertising and that
since this tactic worked for KOOP it will work for KMTV as well. This line of reasoning is flawed in three important respects.
Argument Page numbers
To begin with, the belief that the change in focus to farming issues was the cause of KOOPís increase in advertising applications is
unfounded. The only evidence offered to support this belief is that the change in focus preceded the increase in applications.
Unfortunately, this evidence is insufficient to establish the causal claim in question. Consequently, it is possible that KOOPís change in
focus may not have been related to its increase in revenue in the manner required by the authorís argument.
In addition, the author assumes that the towns that KMTV and KOOP serve are sufficiently similar to warrant a conclusion based on an
analogy between them. Even if we accept the view that KOOPís change in programming focus to farming issues was responsible for its
increase in advertising applications, differences between the towns could drastically alter the outcome for KMTV. For example, if KMTV
serves a metropolitan area with little interest in agriculture, changing its programming focus to farming issues would most likely be
disastrous. Lacking information about the towns KOOP and KMTV serve it is difficult to assess the authorís recommendation.
Finally, the author assumes that KMTVís decrease in applications for advertising was due to its programming. However, since the author
provides no evidence to support this assumption, it may be that the decrease was caused by other factors, such as recession in the
local economy or transmission problems at the station. Without ruling out these and other possible causes the author cannot confidently
conclude that KMTVís programming was responsible for the decrease in advertising applications at hat station.
In conclusion, the authorís argument is unconvincing. To strengthen the argument the author would have to provide additional evidence for
the claim that KOOPís change in focus was responsible for its increase in advertising applications and that KMTVís decrease in
applications was due to its programming. Furthermore, it would be necessary to show that the towns that KOOP and KMTV serve are
sufficiently similar to justify the analogy between them.