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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.


Opinion polls show support for the war in Iraq is fading

What is your newspaper's stand on the war effort? How would you determine that? Check the opinion page and start a journal of war issues and what opinions are expressed. What columnists in your paper might express an opinion about the war? Where does opinion regularly appear versus reporting? Check the editorial cartoons and the comics section in your newspaper to see if the war gets attention there.
Have the class read a story about the war and examine the words used to describe events. As an exercise, have the students rewrite a few paragraphs and change the words to slant the news a different way. Examine how choice of words can affect the tone of an article. For example, what's the difference between a regime and a government?
Is the war coverage in your newspaper primarily local or national or international? Explain how you can tell the difference and make a list that shows which kind of coverage gets more attention in your newspaper.

Polls show that Americans are turning against the war in Iraq. A record high 57 percent tell pollsters they feel less safe because of the war. So far, nearly 2,000 U.S. troops have died in Iraq and 14,000 have been wounded. The approval rating for President George W. Bush has plummeted to 40 percent in one poll and 36 percent in another.

Were we right? As it turned out, the intelligence justification for going to war in Iraq -- weapons of mass destruction and a link to al Qaeda ˆ were wrong. But even people who oppose the war say they are glad Saddam Hussein was deposed. Is that sufficient justification, or did the United States make a mistake when it invaded Iraq as part of the war on terrorism?

Facing a civil war in a Iraq? Iraqis will vote in October on a proposed constitution approved by two of the three major groups in Iraq, the Shiites and the Kurds, but rejected by the minority Sunnis who are vowing to defeat it. Retired U.S. generals have said they fear the bitter dispute could provoke a civil war in Iraq. American generals in Iraq are so concerned about the possibility of civil war that they are not delivering requested military supplies and equipment to the Iraqi army. Do you think civil war is likely? And what should the United States do if that occurs?

Who supports the war effort? A recent poll found that support for the president's handling of the war among those who know someone who has served in Iraq is double that of those who do not know anyone who has served there. What do you think would account for that difference? Why is the perspective different when you know someone who is directly involved in the war effort?

Are we safer now? Supporters of the war say it is necessary to fight in Iraq so we don‚t have to fight terrorists here. Critics say the war has become a teeming training ground for terrorists who will deploy around the globe. Are the 57 percent of poll respondents who say they feel less safe because of the war right? Or is the war making you safer?

Respect or evasion? The government does not allow the media to photograph the caskets of soldiers when they are returned to the United States, saying the reason is to protect the privacy of the families. Critics say the prohibition is simply a tactic to hide the death toll and to avoid images reminiscent of the Vietnam War. What do you think?

Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2015
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