Identifying Claims of Fact
Sometimes we spend a lot of time debating claims of fact in the public sphere. Shortly after President Trump was inaugurated, there was heated debate over the size of his inauguration crowd. (If you Google “Trump inauguration crowd size, you will get a very large number of results, many of the news articles). I am going to link for you a clip from the first press conference of Trump’s presidency. The man speaking is named Sean Spicer. He was the White House Press Secretary at the time. He puts forward many claims of fact. Some of them can be supported with evidence, and some of them can be refuted with evidence. Watch the video linked below: https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/01/21/sean-spicer-entire-defends-inauguration-crowd-size-sot.cnn You will post 3 things: 1. Identify and list 3 claims of fact that Sean Spicer makes (they do not have to be true–they have to claim that Spicer puts forward, and they should be potentially empirically testable claims). Examples: He makes claims about crowd size, various equipment used, a National Parks policy, public transit, and more! Identify 3 claims of fact that he makes. 2. Pick 1 of those 3 claims that you listed above, and do a bit of googling. Find evidence to support or refute the claim. This doesn’t have to be terribly serious–we usually do this in class and it takes about 15-20 minutes. I would expect you to spend the same amount of time. Again, there are a lot of Google results available to you here. Explain in 4-5 sentences whether the evidence you found supported or refuted the claim, briefly explain your evidence. Tell us briefly what strategies you used to figure it out (what did you google, what sources did you read?) Link your source(s). 3. Comment on a classmate’s post. Discuss similar and different findings, the research strategies you used, etc.
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