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Harry Shearer

December 09, 1990

One item is missing in the continuing controversy over the offer of daily newscasts that have two-minute commercials to high school students. The common assumption is that these ads provide no learning opportunities. To the contrary, they have great educational potential.

The ads in this free offer, by their very nature, are vehicles of persuasion. Students could analyze them as to how effective they are in this respect.

In the process, students would learn how to cajole or allure others to their point of view. Considering the great amount of domestic and workplace bickering, litigation and even violence now visible, it appears that the schools have done poorly in showing young people how to persuade others rather than to frontally assault them.

By rejecting the free newscasts plus commercials, the schools disdain a rare opportunity to help students acquire the skills of coaxing and sweet talk. There is no personal characteristic students need more.

PATRICK GROFF

PROFESSOR, SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY

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