Deborah Tannen Analysis

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In “How to Turn Debate into Dialogue” Deborah Tannen argues that America has become tainted by “the argument culture” in which verbal conflict predominates interpersonal communication at the cost of truth and knowledge. Tannen argues that debate predicated on conflict and competition, in which the goal is to win, is a detriment to society where fact and logic are sacrificed for contest. As put by Tannen “We must expand our notion of "debate" to include more dialogue . . . It's an effort we have to make, because our public and private lives are at stake”. Though Tannen's views on the impact of argumentative dialogue may seem extreme, as highlighted by Tannen, “the power of words to shape perception has been proved by researchers” and it is…show more content…
There is no larger public venue for dialogue than modern media including television, radio and internet. Media outlets that once reported facts and current events now hold discussion in which “both sides” are represented by experts that argue their point in a contest for ratings. This exercise is molded around the arrogant idea that the solution to the issue is held by one of the two sides all the while distorting and omitting facts to better represent their argument. This is the point Tannen makes in her essay “ It encourages us to lie. . . the temptation is great to deny facts that support your opponent's views and say only what supports your side. It encourages people to misrepresent and, in the extreme, to lie.” The danger of this type of dialogue is very real because of its ability to shape how we critically think about the world around us. This power is nowhere more evident than in the case of Holocaust denial. By gaining access to media and framing their dialogue as a “debate” representing “the other side” their hateful ideas are allowed to be given at least the perception of credibility placing doubt on one of the greatest tragedies of the modern
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