The Instigator
DeFool
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
rross
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points

Fox NEWS' Varney: Obama offering free preschool so toddlers will vote for him

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
rross
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/18/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,742 times Debate No: 30368
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (29)
Votes (4)

 

DeFool

Con

In another nauseating lie from Fox NEWS, pundit Stuart Varney made the following statement:

"Look what the president is doing here, it’s a repeat performance of his campaign, which is you raise taxes on the rich and you offer all kinds of free stuff to people who will vote for you in the future. Free preschool education for 4-year-olds, it’s free, here it is. Hand out the goodies."

Varney seems to be claiming that President Obama's main motivation for asking for universal preschool is to bribe toddlers into voting for him in the future. He references his repeated claims that Obama won his second term by bribing other voting groups with "free stuff," and today seems to be extending this argument to toddlers as well.

However, Varney forgets that Obama's term will expire in four years, before these children can vote. There are other issues with Varney's argument, and I would like to see how well such a statement can possibly be defended.

The resolution to be debated, therefore, is:

Is Varney correct? Is the sole reason that President Obama is advocating for universal Pre-K to entice affected voters to vote for him?

I believe that the Fox NEWS reporting and analysis on this matter cannot be defended or justified. Therefore, I do not want to hand wring over many rules. I ask that we not resort to semantic misconduct, quibbling over every errant word and punctuation. I also ask that we set the first round aside for definitions and acceptance and such.

Any other things may be negotiated in the comments section, and I will be happy to honor any agreements made there.
rross

Pro

Accepted. Of course, toddlers don't pay for their education; their parents do. So any free education "goodies" are aimed at parents. Who do vote.
Debate Round No. 1
DeFool

Con

I want to thank my partner for being so amiable as to play along with me. I do have fun with these.

I will restate the resolution to this debate, just to ensure that I do not wander too far off-topic. It is a problem that I have.

The question that we will settle is:

Is the sole reason that President Obama is advocating for universal Pre-K to entice affected voters to vote for him?

I hope that it is noted that I am not quite so facetious as to claim that the potential Obama voters are the toddlers themselves. (I said “affected,” thoughtful troll that I am.)

I will play the “Con” side, and argue that this is an untenable argument. I say this for the following reasons.

  1. Obama has sworn off elected office in the future. Although other presidents have sought lower office after their terms, Obama has said that he will not do this. He is term-limited, and cannot be elected President again. This being the case, Obama is almost certainly aware that none of the toddlers, their parents, or the villainous teachers’ unions will ever vote for him under any circumstances, no matter how many goodies he doles out.
  2. Obama may have proposed universal Pre K in an attempt to improve the American education system. This must be ruled out before any argument that the proposal is an attempt to bribe off potential voters can be demonstrated.
  3. If it is argued that Obama is completely dedicated to the destruction of the entire United States and all of capitalism, then it follows that he would have nefarious reasons for proposing universal Preschool. However, some evidence of this evil plot should be produce before it can be considered. Even then, if Obama is proposing “Quality Preschool for every child in America” for ANY reason other than vote-bribing, then Varney was wrong. Even if he wants every American four year old to have the educational opportunity so that he can take their guns and kill Jews.

Summary:

The resolution was always intended to draw attention to the hyperbole of Fox NEWS. The network often allows it’s pundits to overspeak with impunity. In this case, a ridiculous statement was made. Varney, enraged, claimed that President Obama was “passing out goodies” to potential voters, “just as he did during the election,” so that these voters will vote for him. Had Varney bloviated about how the effort to allow children access to high quality education might help “Democrat” politicians, or how it might help “polish his legacy,” then he might have had a case.

Alas. He said that these people were being given free goodies so that they would vote for Obama specifically. Even though no voter in America can ever vote for Obama ever again. (Varney even brought up the ‘free cell phones’ myth, just to make it clear who he was talking about.) This inspired my resolution, which also names Obama specifically.

Therefore, my argument, as of this round, is:

Varney claims that Obama is attempting to give away “free goodies” in an effort to entice people to vote for him, in this case the goodie is access to high quality preschool education. Other reasons for Obama’s proposal to offer universal preschool could possibly exist. Besides, Obama will not run for elected office ever again, so no voter is likely to ever vote for Mr. Obama personally ever again. If Obama knows this (he should), then Varney is likely incorrect in suggesting that Obama’s efforts to offer children access to preschool is only a vote bribe.

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com...

rross

Pro

Con said, "The resolution was always intended to draw attention to the hyperbole of Fox NEWS. The network often allows its pundits to overspeak with impunity."

overspeak: To overstate or exaggerate; to make exaggerated claims for (1).

impunity: exemption from punishment (3)

Con doesn't say so, but we can conclude from the juxtaposition of statements that he believes that:

Stuart Varney was overspeaking in the highlighted segment and he should be punished for it.

I disagree. Stuart Varney was doing his job and doing it well. In any case, punishment and the threat of it is an inappropriate motivator for people working in creative fields. They respond better to rewards, or even better in the absense of extrinsic motivators, which allows full range to their intrinsic motivation (5,6).

Andrew Cohen from the Atlantic has the following to say about punditry:

"News programs that use pundits aren't (just) looking for smart commentary. They also are looking for sizzle and certitude from their guests. They are looking for entertainment. You can be right or wrong, a famous television producer once told me, just don't be boring.

So, sadly, the analyst who candidly declares she isn't quite sure how the Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act -- as if anyone does -- is far less appealing as a television character than is the analyst willing to declare with metaphysical certainty how the vote will go. It doesn't matter if the second analyst turns out to be wrong or the first analyst turns out to be right. What matters is that he gave good quote and she didn't."

Con would be right if he said that Stuart Varney can't read President Obama's mind. Of course he can't. Nobody can. So the man had a guess. Was he right or wrong? Certainly. Was he boring? Absolutely not. My opponent was fixated, and here we are days later having a debate about it. Varney obviously did a great job. He should not be punished.

And now I will address Con's arguments directly.

Con said: "Obama has sworn off elected office in the future. Although other presidents have sought lower office after their terms, Obama has said that he will not do this. He is term-limited, and cannot be elected President again."

This is splitting hairs. At the next presidential election, presumably, Obama will endorse a candidate for president. They will appear, side by side, smiling and waving, and people will think, "ooh, I don't know about this new candidate. She seems a little bit aggressive...but Barack Obama supports her, and I really want that stream of goodies to continue...okay, I'll vote." Technically, people will be voting for the new candidate, but emotionally they'll be voting for Obama. This was my understanding of Varney's words. There are other possible explanations.

Perhaps Varney is anticipating a President-lead constitutional ammendment via the state convention method, whereby ordinary citizens vote (7)! How exciting. I wonder what the ammendment might be. If Obama is targeting parents of four-year-olds, and - lets face it - women in particular, perhaps it's an ammendment that is particularly relevant to that group.

Or perhaps, Obama is trying to overturn the 22nd ammendment, which places term limits on the Presidency! Then, not only would he need votes to overturn the ammendment, he would need votes in subsequent elections. In fact, a bill has recently been introduced with this very purpose and has been referred to committee (8). Perhaps Varney was making reference to that.


Con said, "Obama may have proposed universal Pre K in an attempt to improve the American education system. This must be ruled out before any argument that the proposal is an attempt to bribe off potential voters can be demonstrated."

This is outrageous. Con is introducing theories out of the blue and insisting that they must be "ruled out" before any other arguments can be made. Not only that, but his theory is about the motives of someone that neither of us know personally. No. This argument is about whether it was fair of Varney to make the assessment he did: that politicians, including Obama, do stuff for votes. Why yes. They do.

Con said, "If it is argued that Obama is completely dedicated to the destruction of the entire United States...capitalism...evil plot...vote-bribing...every American four year old...take their guns and kill Jews."

I'm surprised that Con anticipated this argument from me. However, I will not be making it, and so his objections are irrelevant.

(1) http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu...
(2) http://oxforddictionaries.com...
(3) http://oxforddictionaries.com...
(4) http://www.theatlantic.com...
(5) http://www.buzzle.com...
(6) http://www.wisegeek.com...
(7) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(8) http://conservativebyte.com...
Debate Round No. 2
DeFool

Con

I want to thank my partner for the recent presentation, a surprisingly competent display. I see the following argument presented. If this interpretation is in error, I invite Pro to correct me.

P1: Varney should not be punished for being an entertaining editorialist

P2: Varney’s job is very likely that of an entertainer, and not strictly a journalist.

I support this analysis of Con’s argument with the following statements:

  • You can be right or wrong, a famous television producer once told me, just don't be boring.
  • It doesn't matter if the second analyst turns out to be wrong or the first analyst turns out to be right. What matters is that he gave good quote and she didn't.
  • Was he right or wrong? Certainly. Was he boring? Absolutely not.

I agree with these statements, enthusiastically. My point in instigating this debate was to underscore the role that Fox NEWS plays as entertaining editorializing… a role that necessarily decays its role as a trustworthy, accurate source for unbiased news. We both agree here.

Pro concedes that Varney “had a guess” (his words), and was not relying on facts; but on his ability to say shocking things and outrage liberals. It is happy when two parties in debate can come together in agreement and mutual comity.

Debates with disagreements are more entertaining, and happily, there are a few areas of discordance. Here’s one example:

Con argues that the resolution of the debate is to draw attention to the hyperbole of Fox NEWS. The network often allows its pundits to overspeak with impunity.

It’s not. The resolution was: Is the sole reason that President Obama is advocating for universal Pre-K to entice affected voters to vote for him? (See R1 and R2 for proof.) [1]

It is splitting hairs to argue that President Obama will not run for elected office in the future, since he may endorse a candidate.

It is splitting hairs. I am a jerk like that. My resolution specifically named Obama, and this was intentional. (Because Varney specifically named Obama; so he started it first.) Varney’s entertaining statement was, at last, grossly inaccurate. Varney stated – inequitably – that the reason for universal, high quality preschool was to entice votes for Obama. [2]

Varney did not say that Obama was attempting to win up votes for other candidates, or for the Democrats, or the Socialists… if he had, I might have given this debate a miss. As it stands, the statement made by respected Fox NEWS’s own Stuart Varney, was just silly. I want to keep the debate tightly focused on the exact, specific statement, as it was made, in order to highlight this. [3]

It remains possible that Obama may run for elected office, and so Varney might have been correct.

If Obama runs for office again, I will go back and admit that I was wrong all along. However, based on the best information available at present, he will not. Moreover, Varney can’t be intentionally correct: he was only trying to insult and minimize the idea of allowing access to high quality preschool to American children as just another cheap political gimmick. (It may be a cheap political gimmick. But it has to be specifically a cheap political gimmick designed to attract votes to President Obama… who cannot be voted for again.)

It is outrageous to suggest that other reasons for advocating for preschool must be ruled out before we can be certain that President Obama was only attempting to bribe voters with the idea.

Not as outrageous as all of that. Remember, Varney was very, very clear in his accusation. He portrayed the Presidents advocacy of universal pre k as only a bribe, with no possibility of any other motivation. Later in the clip, he even returned to the canard of “free cellphones” to make his point absolutely clear. There are very few semantic games that can be used to twist Varney’s words into anything else. Which is why I took such a fixation to the statement.

This argument is about whether it was fair of Varney to make the assessment he did: that politicians, including Obama, do stuff for votes.

First, an “argument” is a series of statements, called premises, with one of these premises being a “conclusion” that is required by the others. It is not a synonym for “verbal fight.” The argument that I have presented is:

P1: President Obama may have proposed access to high quality preschool for reasons other than to attract votes to him.

P2: President Obama cannot attract votes to himself, because he is unable to run for President again, and is not likely to run for elected office

P3/Conclusion: The sole reason that President Obama is advocating for universal Pre-K is NOT to entice affected voters to vote for him

As for the argument that politicians, including Obama, do stuff for votes, again we are in happy agreement. They do. President Obama has been so good at doing stuff that he won an overwhelming majority of votes in the final election that he will ever participate in.

Conclusion:

My Argument, as of this round, is:

P1: President Obama may have proposed access to high quality preschool for reasons other than to attract votes to him. If any of these are the case, then Obama did not make his proposal only as a form of bribery.

P2: President Obama cannot attract votes to himself, because he is unable to run for President again, and is not likely to run for elected office

P3/Conclusion: The sole reason that President Obama is advocating for universal Pre-K is NOT to entice affected voters to vote for him

Sources:

[1] http://www.debate.org...

[2] http://www.elyrics.net...

[3] http://www.elyrics.net...

rross

Pro

The resolution

The resolution states:

Fox NEWS' Varney: Obama offering free preschool so toddlers will vote for him

Which, after round 1 we agreed that "toddlers" would be interpreted as "affected people" on the grounds that the toddlers neither pay for their education nor vote. So really we mean caregivers and teachers.

Please note that the resolution starts with Varney. The main topic of this debate is Varney and whether or not he is justified in his statement.

In subsequent rounds, Con has wandered away from the resolution. In particular, he has tried to rephrase it in a way to exclude Varney altogether and has added the words "the sole reason that Obama is advocating..." as if it were somehow possible to read the President's mind. No. We cannot read the President's mind. That's why we rely on experts like Varney to interpret the facts for us.


Journalists deal in facts, opinion, analysis and prediction

Con complains journalists should only deal with facts. I disagree. If that were true, then no comments could ever be made about the possible motives of public figures or anything about the future. Rather, analysis and informed opinion are central to journalism.

Mary Schmich from The Chicago Tribune won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary last year. Her prize-winning entries about Chicago are full of speculation about people’s motives. For example:

“But I'm guessing that Chico is doing more than just playing the politics of class and place…When he talks about Emanuel, he's talking about something personal.” (1)

Note how she even uses the words “I’m guessing”.

Mark Mahoney from The Post-Star won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorials in 2009 and often makes predictions about the future. For example:

“The need for help this coming year, and particularly this coming winter, will be greater than ever./ The people who are struggling are going to need all the help they can get - from both the givers and the receivers.” (2)

Mary Schmich and Mark Mahoney are among the best, most recognized, journalists in America. They show that guesses and predictions are a useful, valid part of journalism.

Therefore, Varney was acting completely within his job description when he speculated about Obama’s motives and future behavior.

Obama’s future behavior

Please note that Con’s complaint about Varney is based on his own (Con’s) guesses about Obama’s motivation and behavior. In particular, Con believes that Obama is motivated by zeal to improve America’s education system. He also believes that Obama does not intend to ever again be in a position that requires people to vote for him. He has provided no evidence at all related to Obama’s motives. With regards to The Presidents’ future non-vote-seeking behavior, Con says:

  • “Although other presidents have sought lower office after terms, Obama has said that he will not do this”. This claim is unreferenced. Even if we accept it as true, the possibility remains that Obama could change his mind.
  • “If Obama runs for office again, I will go back and admit that I was wrong all along.” I'm not sure how how this statement really ties in to the current debate.

So this leaves us in a situation where Stuart Varney believes the President’s motives to be one thing, Con another. They also differ in their predictions about the President’s future behavior.

If we were in a court of law, whose opinion would prevail? On one side, we have Stuart Varney, economic journalist, LSE graduate, expert business contributor on the Fox Network, father of six, who has over thirty years of experience as a journalist in the USA (3). On the other side, we have “DeFool” an anonymous online debater who claims to be a liberal atheist and Obama supporter (4). In the absence of other evidence, I’m afraid, Varney’s opinion carries more weight. I believe that Obama may well seek votes in the future, and that his actions in relation to Pre-K education will strengthen the resolve of teachers and parents to vote for him.

Obama may endorse another Presidential candidate

Con claims that voting for Obama does not including voting for a candidate endorsed by Obama. However, people often use this kind of language. For example, people say vote for equality (5), vote for justice (6) or vote for peace (7) when actually it’s technically impossible to vote for those things directly. You have to vote for actual candidates.

Nowhere in the segment does Varney say that the votes are for Obama. He does say that Obama is buying votes, but he doesn’t specify who the votes are for. So yes, he could have meant votes for democrats in general.

Regrettably, Con responded to the idea of Obama endorsing a new Presidential candidate with the lyrics to YMCA and Staying Alive. I can only interpret this as some kind of mocking gesture.

Con's conclusion makes no sense

Con concludes, "The sole reason President Obama is advocating for universal Pre-K is NOT to entice affected voters to vote for him"

This is a new idea that Con has failed to substantiate in any way. How would advocating for universal Pre-K avoid enticing parents to vote for Obama? Why would President Obama, or any politician, want to deter voters?

And, of course, it a direct contradiction of Con's second premise. If President Obama cannot attract votes (as is Con's rather outlandish claim) why would he need to advocate schemes in a bizarre attempt to avoid attracting votes? It makes no sense at all.

Varney has a background in economics

Varney's first objection to the very expensive scheme is that it's not clear where the money to fund it will come from. He is afraid that rich people like him will be taxed to pay for it. To Varney, this issue is one of wealth redistribution - that money is being taken from the rich to pay for the poor. He doesn't like it, and complains that this is typical of President Obama's preferential treatment of certain demographics, which are also the demographics that vote for him.

So far, so standard, and Con hasn't contested any of this. Instead, he is basing his criticism of Varney's analysis on the idea that Obama will never need votes again and therefore cannot be motivated to encourage voters. However, Con cannot prove this, and in fact has not even provided evidence to support this idea.

Therefore, it only remains for us to thank Varney for his analysis and interpretation of the news of the day.

(1) http://www.chicagotribune.com...

(2) http://poststar.com...

(3) http://en.wikipedia.org...

(4) http://www.debate.org...

(5) http://www.hrc.org...

(6) http://www.brownpoliticalreview.org...

(7) http://www.voteforpeace.org...

Debate Round No. 3
DeFool

Con

I thank my partner for the previous presentation.

The resolution, often repeated, is as follows:

Is the sole reason that President Obama is advocating for universal Pre-K to entice affected voters to vote for him?

This resolution was made clear in my instigation of this debate (I did not include the entire thing in the title of the debate), and I think that I may have repeated it in every subsequent round. I had wanted to repeat, as faithfully as possible, the exact sentiments expressed by Fox NEWS's Stuart Varney, whose quotes I have also included. Beyond this, Stuart Varney himself is of secondary concern.

We are not debating anything else.

We are not debating whether or not Stuart Varney is a good, competent, trustworthy journalist; he's not. We both agree that he is a good entertainer, opinionator, and buzz-generator. However, he is little more than a side-topic here. Here we are simply evaluating the veracity of his statement with regards to preschool in exchange for votes.

We are not debating Fox NEWS, although this debate does go so far in demonstrating that the credibility of this "news" outlet is (at least) itself debatable. Even if Fox NEWS is (as I say) more entertainment than journalism, or if I am wrong, and Fox NEWS is lollipop unicorns and rainbow chipmunks (it's not), these factors would still not impact the resolution. Either way, these things will not make universal access to preschool only a vote-bribe.

The resolution, seeks to verify the statement made by Stuart Varney. That statement is the topic. Stuart Varney is not, although, as a Red Herring, he is high quality.

So. with regards to that elusive resolution, so often repeated and clarified... has there been presented any evidence at all that proves that President Obama wants the beneficiaries of preschool education to vote for him? Sadly, no.

We have seen suggestions that Obama may be legally able to run for some election somewhere, sometime in the future. Does this prove that he will?

Think this through for a moment. Any number of extreme things can be dreamed up and then presented as possible. Does this mean that they must happen? Not at all. Our readers and judges can possibly shave their heads and paint them red, but they are not likely to do this. Equally unlikely is Obama's speculated overthrow of our constitution so that he can run for president once more.

This reasoning is relevant to the resolution (Is the sole reason that President Obama is advocating for universal Pre-K to entice affected voters to vote for him?). Yet, it does not prove that this potential event is likely, and it certainly does not prove that this was Obama's only goal with his advocacy of preschool education. In order to answer the resolution, it must do at least these things.

Is it absolutely necessary that Pro demonstrate that the "sole reason that President Obama is advocating for universal Pre-K" is "to entice affected voters to vote for him?"

Sadly, yes. That is, after all, the very concise resolution. I understand that it has been argued that it is unreasonable of me to suggest that all other motivations must be eliminated somehow. However, I can see no other way round the problem: in order for the "sole" motivation for the Presidents advocacy of preschool education to be vote-bribing, then there can be no 'other' reasons.

In other words, if Obama wants to overthrow the constitution, so that he is allowed to run for re-election, and that is why he is pushing education down our throats, then the "sole" reason cannot be vote-bribing. In this case, his re-election is another motivation: the destruction of our beloved constitution and freedom.

Put yet another way, in order for any argument that any person does anything for any "sole" reason to be successful, then it must also be proved that anyone does anything for only one reason. It seems a simple argument, but its not. I do not eat, for example, for the "sole" reason that I might otherwise starve. I also eat for completely recreational reasons. I do not breathe for any sole reason either. There are lots of reasons I like breathing. Likewise, there are probably lots of reasons the evil Obama wants to destroy America with an educated citizenry.

How could advocating for universal preschool NOT entice affected voters to support him?

Nobody can ever vote for Obama for president ever again. It's the law. American presidents can only be elected twice, and there is no reason to expect that this will change.

Fox NEWS is good, Fox NEWS is great. We thank Fox NEWS for the food on our plate.

I am aware that Fox NEWS is, among conservatives, (as John Lennon might say) more popular than Jesus. The notion that Fox NEWS must be defended at all costs is common among Republicans, and I note an air of this trend in the arguments so far presented by Pro. This makes little difference to the resolution, which asks if President Obama's one and only reason for wanting a better educated citizenry is to entice them to vote for him. (He is term-limited, and cannot be voted for any more.)

Final Conclusion:
  • President Obama is term limited, and cannot be elected president any more. He has also sworn off lower office (he won't run for Mayor).
  • His actions may please voters, but his actions cannot attract future votes; he cannot be re-elected.
  • Pro has not proven that he will run for lower office, or overthrow the constitution, which means that no evidence has been presented to counter my claim that he will not run for office
  • Pro has not eliminated other possible reasons that the president might want American children to get a better education. Therefore, other reasons might exist; he might not be asking them to vote for him (they can't anyway.)
Therefore, there are good reasons to think that Varney might be less than accurate in saying that the "sole" reason for Obama's advocacy of preschool education is to bribe future voters into voting for him.

I want to thank Pro for the debate, which was a pleasure for me - even though I was a bit rushed with personal matters. I also want to thank our readers, and ask that they consider rewarding our efforts here by voting.
rross

Pro

Thank you to Con for thinking up this debate and for carrying it through to the end even though he had personal matters to deal with. I've liked this debate a lot. It has a slightly surreal quality, which is very pleasant.

I'm dismayed, though, that Con has spent so much of his final round discussing what the resolution is and what it isn't. After all, I had so much sympathy for Con when he said in round 1 "I do not want to hand wring over many rules. I ask that we not resort to semantic misconduct, quibbling over every errant word and punctuation." I don't want to either! I want a sort of free-form, wild and lovely debate style. And so to find us both here, in round 4, grubbing around with the resolution is less than we both hoped, I think.

What is the debate about?

In round 1, Con said, "I ask that we not resort to semantic misconduct..." I took this to mean that we try to respond honestly to the intention behind the words, rather than to the words themselves if we believe they misrepresent the intention. Here is the evidence of Con's motivation in this debate:

"In another nauseating lie from Fox NEWS..." (round 1)

"There are other issues with Varney's argument, and I would like to see how well such a statement can possibly be defended." (round 1)

"I believe that the Fox NEWS reporting and analysis on this matter cannot be defended or justified." (round 1)

"The resolution was always intended to draw attention to the hyperbole of Fox NEWS. The network often allows it’s pundits to overspeak with impunity. In this case, a ridiculous statement was made." (round 2)

Then, in the comments to this debate, Con says "I honestly thought that nobody would pick it up," and refers to this debate as a "joke".

This is a protest debate. Perhaps, rather than debating with me, Con would like to be debating with a representative of the FOX network, or even Varney himself.

Of course, I can't speak for the FOX network, but for the duration of the debate I am in the role of its defender. When Con says "Fox NEWS reporting and analysis on this matter cannot be defended or justified", I disagree. I think the analysis was justifiable and appropriate. Varney was expected to give an opinion and he did. His opinion was not outlandish and there's no reason to think it was "a nauseating lie" as Con claims.

The resolution stated: "Is Varney correct?"

The answer is yes. His statement was appropriate. It met the requirements of his role and situation. It was almost certainly his true opinion. Yes, he was correct to make it.

Con said, "I am aware that Fox NEWS is, among conservatives, (as John Lennon might say) more popular than Jesus. The notion that Fox NEWS must be defended at all costs is common among Republicans, and I note an air of this trend in the arguments so far presented by Pro."

Con is accusing me of being a conservative who has replaced worship of Jesus with worship of a television network. In fact, I have never watched Fox NEWS (apart from the segment that Con provided), and certainly do not worship it in any way. Nor are my political beliefs relevant to this debate. This is a strangely personal attack, which is entirely inconsistent with Con's otherwise charming behavior, and which I can only attribute to his being so rushed in the final round.

It really is ridiculous to initiate a debate attacking Fox NEWS and then take issue with the fact that your opponent is trying to defend it.

Con said, "in order for the "sole" motivation for the Presidents advocacy of preschool education to be vote-bribing, then there can be no 'other' reasons."

In the final round, Con has introduced a new line of argument: that even the possibility of other reasons for the President's announcement is enough to disprove the resolution. May I suggest that Con is doing exactly what he forbade in round 1. He is engaging in semantic misconduct.

In the fifth line of text in round 1, Con states:

"Varney seems to be claiming that President Obama's main motivation for asking for universal preschool is to bribe toddlers into voting for him in the future." (my emphasis)

Please note the words "main motivation" NOT "sole motivation". This is what Varney seems to be claiming, according to Con. Later, he says "sole motivation" but almost immediately asks that we not "quibble over every errant word". I complied with this suggestion. I overlooked the change in wording and argued the content, Con's argument that Varney was wrong to say what he did.

Con is taking advantage of my compliance with his request to avoid semantics, by bringing up a semantic argument in the final round.


SUMMARY: YES, Varney was correct to state his opinion on Fox NEWS

Con and I agree that
  • Varney's role includes giving his opinion and predictions.
  • Politicians, including Obama, are in the business of seeking votes.

The following points I made remain uncontested by Con, and therefore I assume he agrees:
  • Varney's opinion was consistent with his beliefs and therefore not a lie.
  • It is impossible for Varney, Con, I or anyone reading this debate to know what President Obama's motivation is.
  • Making guesses about the President's motivation and future behavior is a legitimate activity for journalists, including Varney.

Con's main argument rests on the fact that the Presidency is term-limited. Personally, I believe that when Varney spoke of Obama's vote-seeking behavior, he meant vote seeking for the Democrats in general, and for the next Presidential candidate, endorsed by Obama. This is not semantic quibbling. It's genuinely what I think he meant.

Moreover, I think the text defends this interpretation. He starts off talking about the President in the third person ("the president", "his campaign"), but then shifts to the general second person to talk about vote-seeking behavior ("you raise taxes on the rich", "you offer all kinds of free stuff", "people who will vote for you in the future"). This is entirely consistent with him meaning Democrats in general.

However, it's also possible that Varney doesn't rule out Obama returning and seeking election in some other capacity. Con doesn't believe it will happen, but on scant evidence. Varney has a different opinion, no doubt.

Conclusion

Varney's behavior was correct. It's his job to give his opinion and analysis and he gave it. There is no reason to think it was a "nauseating lie" as Con claimed. The Fox NEWS reporting on this issue - although perhaps not to everyone's taste - can indeed be defended and justified.

Debate Round No. 4
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by rross 4 years ago
rross
Sigh. Weren't four rounds enough for you?
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Yes, you repeatedly conceded that my resolution was true - and that Varney's hyperbole was not actually true. I welcome you to correct me, however. I was rushed with work and whatnot throughout this debate, and drunk about 70% of the time I was playing. There are many ways, in fact, that I could be mistaken.

So, precisely when did you state that Obama's one and only reason for supporting preschool was to garner votes for himself? I recall many mentions of Varney, dashing fellow that he is. I recall a few comments regarding other candidates besides Obama being endorsed by him... I seem to remember a few statements to the effect of, say, that Obama might run for something again.

These are not evidence that denies my resolution. These are Red Herrings and changes of subject.
Posted by rross 4 years ago
rross
I'M EXPLOITING GENDER??

I'm not exploiting gender.
Posted by rross 4 years ago
rross
play the "" card:
" exploit the specified issue or idea mentioned, especially for political advantage"

http://oxforddictionaries.com...

EXPLOIT the specified issue (gender). I'm exploiting gender? How?
Posted by rross 4 years ago
rross
And btw, DeFool, at no point have I agreed that Varney's statement is untrue, as you claimed (way back) in the comments. Man. The system could not sustain the number of conduct points you deserve to lose in this debate.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
OK, I just want to say that I thought rross was pulling out the gender card.

I haven't read the debate, just the comments here and Roy's RFD. I really should just stay out of this.

Again, this debate...WHY??? LOL
Posted by rross 4 years ago
rross
OK good then. Nobody needs to get cursed today.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
You do NOT come off like a man. Not one bit. Well, at least not to me, lol.

This shows me that sticking my nose in other people's business is just silly, and I'm being silly. Obviously I misread the conversation somewhere. Sorry.

Roy called you a "he", which on this website at least is pretty much standard. He's not the only one. I try hard to say "he/she" and "him/her" but he/him just rolls off the keyboard much faster.
Posted by rross 4 years ago
rross
What? Because I'm so MASCULINE? I come across as a MAN?

Is that what you're trying to say, wrichcirw? I really hope I'm misunderstanding you.

But I don't see how I can be. It's not as if you can read DeFool's mind. Or RoyLatham's, although my comments have not been directed at him.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
rross: "Ayyyy, here we go. Was the girl offended? Because if SHE wasn't...
Let me just check my hair. And my lipgloss. Is my voice breathy enough? OK then:"

Ok, I'm going to comment here, even though why this debate exists is still just beyond me.

I don't think defool or Roy even knew you were a woman. Just saying...
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
DeFoolrrossTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con passive-aggressively moved the resolution's goal posts, had a poor grasp of the role of journalism, and didn't grasp the role of endorsement.
Vote Placed by Heineken 4 years ago
Heineken
DeFoolrrossTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter ockcatdaddy. Provide a detailed RFD. "Pro takes the cake" does not meet the voting guideline.
Vote Placed by ockcatdaddy 4 years ago
ockcatdaddy
DeFoolrrossTied
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Reasons for voting decision: both were equally balanced but pro took the cake
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
DeFoolrrossTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con loses conduct for the personal insult of citing his opponent for a "surprisingly competent display." That's a claim that Con is generally incompetent. Arguments can be insulted, but that's a personal insult. Con initiated the debate and made an affirmative case, so he has the burden of proof. Con's first contention is that Obama might be really interested in improving the education system rather than for garnering votes. That asserts that the free goodie is really a goodie, but Varney did not contest that. Varney correctly pointed to the pattern of dispensing "free" stuff to get votes, and there is nothing ridiculous or exaggerated about that claim. Con points out that Obama personally cannot be collecting votes. It's not plausible that Varney tought Obama might be running for office. Most people would understand "vote for him" as meaning "vote for his Party and ideology." Again, Varney's claim is consistent with President Obama's desire to transform America.