What is an opinion?

An editor’s response to some online backlash

~Michael Innacelli, Managing CNUTV Editor & Sports Editor~

Today we have the ability to say whatever we want, whenever we want. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

Having opinions is something that is unavoidable, and posting them online is almost as equally unavoidable for our generation. 

Here at the paper we like to encourage our writers to have an opinion and we like to post our stories online.

Last week we posted an opinion article online titled “President justified in declaring emergency” written by staff writer Shawn Fleetwood.

Let me start by saying I in no way agree with Fleetwood’s opinion on the border wall and the administration in general. That being said, I agree with his right to have this opinion and write about it.

When Fleetwood’s story went on to our Facebook page and website it received a lot of criticism. I appreciate that fact, but what I don’t appreciate was some of the reactions to it.

It is 100 percent ok to disagree with someone and state that you disagree with them, however, it is not acceptable to think that they shouldn’t be allowed to write their opinion.

Some of the comments on the article were constructive criticism, some were just reactions, such as one user saying “yikes,” and then there were a few responses that were needlessly harsh.

The ones that stuck out to me were from users saying things along the lines of: “Do you even have editors?” “This is horribly written” and “Learn how to fact check this opinion is wrong.” 

I only have one thing to say to those people posting these comments: do you know what the point of an opinion article is?

The point of an opinion article is to take a stance and argue for it. 

Now I understand not everyone will have opinions that have clear sides, but Fleetwood’s article definitely does have two distinct sides to it.

Fleetwood took a stance on the issue he was discussing, and he argued for that position. It just so happens that his stance was the unpopular opinion on the topic.

No matter what, Fleetwood would have faced a bit of a negative reaction online when we posted it. I have no problem with the negative reactions, but the people posting things I mentioned before have missed the point.

The main thing people thought was that because this argument wasn’t solely based on logic, it must be wrong.

I hate to break it to you but an argument actually doesn’t need logic to be a well-thought-out argument. There are three main rhetorical appeals of argumentation: ethos, logos and pathos.

For those of you who aren’t English or Communication majors I will break what these three are down for you. 

Logos is the factual and logical argument, ethos is the credibility of the speaker in an argument and pathos is the emotional aspect of an argument. Appealing to these three aspects makes your argument stronger.

However, it is not necessary to have all three of these types of appeals in an argument, in fact it is only necessary to have one present. Fleetwood attempted to appeal to mostly ethos and pathos with a little bit of logos.

This means that even though there aren’t many hard stats in his article, he still can make a valid argument. As an opinion writer, Fleetwood did his job at making an argument. 

People did not seem to understand that online and I wanted to clear that up. 

You can disagree with his argument all you want, but you cannot say it was poorly written because it doesn’t have stats in it.

And please people, understand that our editors work hard to make sure this is a respectful environment for opinion writers. I want our CNU community to feel free to debate opinions and ideas fairly, but attacking people is where I draw the line.

Feel free to comment on this piece online if you disagree with me, but understand that this is also an argument. Just because I don’t have facts doesn’t mean I’m not making an argument.

Also as a last statement – keep posting on our online stories, it makes us better writers and holds us accountable. We (The Captain’s Log) are your voice. Write for us, and react to what we write. I’ll be right there with you, asking questions on Facebook.

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