Debate 2 Pro Side Arguments And Evidence

OPENING STATEMENT: We believe that public deliberation employed by the media can significantly help improve the quality of democracy and journalism. When citizens participate in deliberation they express their well-informed views on how to address and remedy problems. Journalist should turn to the people, which they represent in order to gauge their opinions. Deliberative public forums serve to provide a very dynamic form of citizen involvement in areas of concern, such as crime, race relations, etc. By preparing issue guides, the administrators can guide educated groups to create valuable output. Many experts walk away surprised by the quality of opinions. Public deliberation seeks an educated public opinion, which is more valid due to unbiased educational literature. When people have been educated their opinions are likely to be sturdy and unlikely to change.

The benefits of deliberation are endless such as educated judgments, new solutions to problems and increased political involvement among participants. Many citizens who have participated in deliberation have a new found sense of fulfillment. People will become activists by finding new ways to contribute to the well-being of society, such as voting in elections or voicing their opinions at city council meetings.
Those who have deliberated have endured a greater sense of efficacy, which is they believe they have a personal impact on government. These participants can now fully engage themselves in a democracy arena. By combining ideas and information, the group is more knowledgeable than the best individual. A group is more powerful than a single politician. Aggregation takes the strengths of the group and leads to better output. Large groups can represent the views of the population. Under the Jury Theorem, as the size of group grows so does the probability of a correct answer. Basically, strength in numbers, especially those who have a solid understanding of the issues, can lead to superb results.

Public deliberation also improves the quality of journalism by telling the media what issues participants think are important.

Here is a look at some limitations of Deliberation.

1. The elusive nature of public agreement. Deliberation does not often generate a full consensus. Public deliberation is valuable when it helps participants to learn the reasons for their disagreements and to distinguish subjects on which they can agree from those on which they are unlikely to reach accord. Deliberation is also valuable when it helps participants to think through, alter, deepen, and stabilize their perspectives through reflection and discussion, even when it does not cause participants’ views to converge.
2. The challenge of organization. To achieve high-quality deliberation, someone must organize a discursive process, choose a topic, recruit the participants, prepare background materials or invite speakers, provide facilitators, and raise the funds that are necessary to do these things.
3. The challenge of scale. To become politically and socially significant, public deliberation initiatives must scale “out” in the sense of directly or indirectly including many more participants. One way to make formal deliberation more salient for more individuals is to increase the frequency with which such events occur. Another way is to link the conversations that occur within these deliberations to the broader public debate that is occurring in the opinion pages of local newspapers, in barbershops, and street corners. This linkage is not easy but it can be done. When dozens of newspapers covered the Listening to the City deliberations on rebuilding lower Manhattan, tens of thousands of readers participated.

“When arguments offered by some participants go unanswered by others, when information that would be required to understand the force of a claim is absent, or when some citizens are unwilling to weigh some of the arguments in the debate, then the process is less deliberative because it is incomplete in the manner specified. In practical contexts a great deal of incompleteness must be tolerated. Hence, when we talk of improving deliberation, it is a matter of improving the completeness of the debate and the public's engagement in it, not a matter of perfecting it,” says Fishkin.

Research on the Kettering Foundation’s National Issues Forums point out that participation in deliberative forums can (1) change political opinions of the participator (2) increase self-efficacy of the individual and a greater sense of community involvement (3) broaden and diversify one’s political ideology (4) give the participant a greater interest in politics (6) increase political activity of the participator.

ARGUMENTS: Organized deliberation reaps many benefits since it requires citizens to volunteer. So, the more likely someone is to be apathetic towards an issue, the less likely they are to participate in a deliberation setting. According to Gastil and Levine, citizens feel very empowered in well-designed deliberation and they take a great deal of pleasure talking about important issues. When one walks away satisfied they are more likely to be involved in democracy in the future. So, deliberation clear increases democratic action. The participator now feels a renewed sense of pride in the principles of democracy. “ When the tasks are realistic, the questions are clear and useful, and the discussion is well organized, deliberators often do a good job,” claims Gastil and Levine. When educated with unbiased information and given the opportunity to brain storm a concept, many experts are shocked to the well-versed solutions to problems. An educated opinion is a powerful one. Deliberation is essentially a public opinion poll of the educated. Citizens are empowered with correct information and specific arguments that are relevant to the matter at hand. Armed with knowledge and understanding, a citizen can now voice their concerns or possible solutions. People can incorporate their past experiences or second-hand knowledge to fix a problem. For example, a retired teacher can use their past employment to shed light on ways to curb juvenile crime or improve the educational quality of a public school system. Everybody has a specific talent or skill set that can be greatly utilized during a deliberation. Our strengths are brought out in masses.

Public deliberation also empowers average citizens to hold public officials to a level of high accountability. A politician may feel pressure to listen to constituents when they know they may be criticized. We can also see charisma and tone during a deliberation. The human voice has the capabilities of using emotion and stress to give their opinions. While voting on a specific ballot issue gives us a greater understanding of a public’s mindset, it often ignores an activist or strong opinions. We also do not know the public’s level of understanding towards the issue. Do they know both sides of the issue? With public deliberation, we know that both sides are equally presented.

Public deliberation has been the postmark of colonial America, when settlers collected their individual knowledge and reasons to break free from England to propose liberty and freedom. They met in taverns and town hall meetings to discuss the injustices of their king. Deliberation has the capabilities to bring about positive change due to the collective knowledge of a well-informed group. Public deliberation gives us a medium to confront our concerns, resolve disagreements, and to solve conflicts. Public deliberation is the perfect answer for complex problems such as crime, transportation issues, local economic policy issues, etc. Instead of taking “expert testimony,” deliberation gives the common man or woman a chance to voice their opinion. Most of the time, they are living through the problem. The forefront of democracy depends on an equal voice upon all individuals. Deliberation gives a voice to the common man, not just a public official. By listening to the results of deliberation a journalist can become familiar with what the citizens care about and not just take the official stance of the government. A journalist can now understand the concerns of the readership, which has a positive effect on the readers because they are now personally committed to the articles. For example, at Ohio State, many students understand that crime is high off-campus, but instead of just reporting on that statement, deliberation can lead a journalist to write about the proposed remedies to the solution. Students may address the need for increased police presence, additional lighting, etc. A journalist can now give a voice to the voiceless because they heard from the citizens not just the communication office at the police station. We can also witness an improvement among proposed solutions. For example, a person may propose a solution to the problem that can be improved by a fellow group member. With synergy the group gains power that leads to ideas that improve upon the original idea. Again, deliberation takes all knowledge resources and bundles it into a neat package. The power of synergy, which is group energy, brings about the best in deliberators. Multiple Minds are greater than any one individual.

We will present a case study that will show you the benefits of public deliberation. In 1976, Philadelphia built a landfill on the space of the Delaware River known as Penn’s Landing. It was built in order to bring visitors to the region. It remained a mere vestige of urban renewal’s attempt to develop the site. It was disconnected by ten lanes of highway; the site has continually defied development. In the summer of 2002, Mayor John F. Street and his development team quickly set about finding a new developer for the site. This process brought Penn Praxis (a special programmer from Penn) into partnership with the editorial board of The Philadelphia Inquirer (region’s largest paper). Together they crafted a public process to engage the citizens of Philadelphia in a public conversation about the waterfront’s future. For fifty days in the winter of 2003, Philadelphians engaged in public dialogue about the waterfront’s future and with the help of Mayor Street’s administration, the Penn’s landing forums consisted of a series of four events that included expert presentations on waterfront development, facilitated citizen deliberations on the landing’s future, and a design charrette. Over 800 people participated. The forums allowed Philadelphians to be a constructive voice in a city where public opinion is all too often viewed as an opportunity to say ”No” rather than “What if?”

The end result was that they built new waterfront communities in Philadelphia. The Penn’s Landing Forums had an immediate impact that has implications for how Philadelphia will engage in future civic conversations. The Penn’s Landing Forum process can be seen as a form of generative dialogue and deliberation, in which a deliberative public process generated principals and designs. Traditional governmental agencies may be reluctant to engage in such deliberation because it exposes them to public review and accountability. The Penn’s Landing Forums provide a model process in which experts and citizens work together to dictate public policy. Most important, the principles generated during the forums create common ground for ongoing deliberation.

Things used by MAINSTREAM NEWS to encourage public deliberation

CNN
• Has certain applications on their website to influence public deliberation.
• One of the things that really engulfs the ideas behind public deliberation is the CNN Exchange Notebook which is a place to share your thoughts and stories on the news.
For each story there is a section for comments, which although it does not have a mediator, such as PICOLA, it is a free forum to share ideas
• The CNN Political Ticker which is The CNN Political Ticker is a destination for the latest political news with dispatches, behind-the-scenes reports, and expert commentary, 24-7
 Also if you wish to give feedback there is a forum for that as well that takes you to a “contact” area, this then gives the network feedback on how you feel about certain information, what you think, and advice you have which then gives the news organization the ability to cater to their viewers’ needs.

• there are also other places to look such as the Anderson Cooper 360 blog, The Situation Room blog and others which you are also allowed to give feedback so that not only you can give info to the network others are able to see your views

• CNN also on their news network will consult during the day in the newsroom blogs such as the Pak Tribune, and say to their viewers that they are following what is going on on the blogging website to see if anything noteworthy is being discussed, or posted.

o This features different sources of news such as from Pakistan and India, but in english, however it also has a section called “letters” in which Govt. officials can write in as well as people in the military, as well as regular citizens. This gets picked up by CNN, a major news organization, which is actually where I heard about it. It has the ability to create a buzz. Readers of these letters are also allowed to post a comment should they wish to share which goes straight to the Pak Tribune.
o It states that it may publish, but cannot gaurentee so it is somewhat filtered.

The Columbus Dispatch

• Host Polls occasionally where people are allowed to vote for this, helps to gain interest in certain things, such as the Strickland poll, then Dispatch is able to write a story for it. This is a way that polling in turn is assisted by news media to better the coverage, and helps inform the public
• Poll two years ago, personally affected a friend of mine – helped to gain interest in a cause, asked a specific question about underage drinking and the penalty. Citizens then were able to post what they thought, whether the punishment was too strict, not strict enough, etc. Then the Dispatch followed with stories, and it went directly to government officials and made it an official cause for concern.
• Also hosts a page for specific blogs – from the editor and others. Readers are then able to comment on the blog, say if they agree, disagree, and why. Dispatch readers can see as well as Dispatch officials. – Then if anything noteworthy comes out of this online deliberation it can be brought to the attention of those responsible.

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