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Assignment: Locate an article in a newspaper or online (it can be an editorial) in which you can detect the writer’s bias through the use of emotionally charged wrods, exxageration and/or overstatement, and/or stereotyping. Then write a 5 paragraph essay in which you examine and analyze the author’s bias, including supporting quotes from the article to support your claim of bias.
We are going to read an article called “Abolish High School Football!” and discuss the author’s bias together. In this packet you will find a sample student essay written about this article.

Outline for Paper on Bias

  1. Introduction

    1. What is bias? How do we recognize it?

    2. Thesis Statement: How can you tell your article is biased?

  2. First Body Paragraph

    1. Detail or Quotation from text that supports claim of bias

    2. How does this example demonstrate bias?

  3. Second Body Paragraph

    1. Detail or Quotation from text that supports claim of bias

    2. How does this example demonstrate bias?

  4. Third Body Paragraph

    1. Detail or quotation from text that supports claim of bias

    2. How does this example demonstrate bias?

  5. Conclusion

    1. Restate thesis

    2. Sum up major points from body of paper

Minnie Mouse

English III – 1st Hour

August 15, 2011

In Raymond A. Schroth’s article, “Abolish High School Football!” he raises many legitimate concerns about the dangers and other negative consequences of playing high school football. However, Schroth’s good points are overshadowed by the fact that his writing is so obviously biased. A writer that is biased demonstrates a clear preference for one point of view over another, and this can be illustrated by exaggeration or oversimplification, the use of emotionally charged language, evidence of stereotyping, omission or lack of context, or expressly stating one’s interest. Schroth demonstrates bias throughout his piece, most notably by using exaggeration, emotionally charged language, and stereotyping.

One example of Schroth’s bias is demonstrated in the second paragraph, where he describes the effects of a concussion. While a concussion is no laughing matter, Schroth’s description does employ a fair share of exaggeration. He writes, “The victim…falls to the ground, vomits, goes into a coma, dies.” It is certainly possible for a concussion to be fatal but the way Schroth writes it, it seems that this is a natural progression. Schroth implies that anyone who gets a concussion will inevitably die. He goes on to imply that, if you are lucky enough to survive a concussion, you will suffer depression, be unable to concentrate in school, and drop out. While all of these things are possible consequences of a concussion, they are not the norm and not every single person to suffer a bump on the head will end up dead or a high school dropout. Schroth is exaggerating the dangers of concussions in order to further his viewpoint that high school football is dangerous and should be abolished.

In addition to exaggeration, Schroth also demonstrates his bias with his use of emotionally charged language. In the passage describing the effects of a concussion, Schroth uses words with connotations of violence, pain, and suffering like, “smashes the brain,” “vulnerable.” “victim,” “vomits,” “depression,” etc. All of these words come together to create a picture of extreme violence inherent to the sport of football. Schroth also uses some charged language when describing the football players themselves. He describes their physiques as “grotesque” and “fat” and designed to do “damage” to other players. Schroth is clearly attempting to portray not just the sport but the players in a negative light as well.

Finally, Schroth uses some blatant stereotyping in his article as well. Schroth stereotypes not only football players, but school teachers and parents as well. Schroth implies that all football players are uninterested in education because they are “coddled” by their teachers and worshipped by their peers. Schroth does state that he has taught intelligent athletes before and writes that, “some football players are very bright.” However, by suggesting that “some” are very bright only serves to reinforce the legitimacy of the stereotype that most are not. Later, Schroth poses the question, “Without football, how can ambitious athletes survive?” and he goes on to answer his own question by writing, “They can…read, write for the paper, act, sing, dance, walk, and pray.” This implies that if you play football, you don’t already do these things. There are surely athletes that are poor students, just as there are artists or singers or actors that are poor students. But there are also football players that are good students, committed to their studies, and involved in other extracurricular activities. This is blanket stereotyping on Schroth’s part. He is attempting to paint football players in a negative light in order to further push his point of eliminating high school football.

Schorth does raise some valid points about the dangers of high school football. There is a serious risk of physical injury involved with any contact sport, and parents and coaches should always be aware of that risk. It is also possible that many schools may not hold athletes to the same academic standards as other students and this is, of course, unethical. However, Schroth’s good points are overshadowed by his blatant bias, which is demonstrated by his use of exaggeration, emotionally charged language, and stereotyping.

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