Drugs in the News: Distinguishing Fact from Opinion


This assignment is designed to develop your critical thinking skills, particularly in distinguishing facts from opinions. The statement “Over one billion dollars was used to prohibit drug use and drug trafficking last year” is a fact that can be verified by checking the relevant research on the subject. The statement “The federal government has not spent enough money to stop drug abuse and drug trafficking” is an expressed opinion. Not all statements of fact are true, unfortunately, because some are based on false or inaccurate information. For this assignment, however, you should be concerned primarily with understanding the difference between those statements that appear to be factual and those statements that appear to be based upon opinion.

Learning Exercises:

Select a brief report from the media, excluding the Internet (print form is best, but you can work from radio or television reports, if you have recorded them) regarding drugs, drug use, or drug use problems in a medical context. Advertisements cannot to be used for this assignment. An online article from a non-Internet-based organization, which produces news for outlets other than the Internet, will be accepted. For example, an article from USA Today online or CNN online is okay. An article from Yahoo or Huffington Post will not be accepted. I hope that this information is helpful.
– Identify those statements that appear to be based upon facts and those that appear to be based upon opinion.
– Review the whole report, summarize its major statements, and comment on its overall value in covering the issue.
– Write a paper, giving an account of the above researched information.
– Attached the actual article or report (as a PDF document).

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