Sample Response to Real GRE Issue Questions
Issue #1: "The reputation
of anyone who is subjected to media scrutiny will eventually be
The intensity of today's media coverage has been greatly magnified by the
sheer number and types of media outlets that are available today. Intense
competition for the most revealing photographs and the latest information
on a subject has turned even minor media events into so-called "media
frenzies". Reporters are forced by the nature of the competition to pry
ever deeper for an angle on a story that no one else has been able to
uncover. With this type of media coverage, it does become more and more
likely that anyone who is subjected to it will have his or her reputation
tarnished, as no individual is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. The
advances in technology have made much information easily and
instantaneously available. Technology has also made it easier to dig
further than ever before into a person's past, increasing the possibility
that the subject's reputation may be harmed.
The above statement is much too broad, however. "Anyone" covers all people
all over the world. There are people whose reputations have only been
enhanced by media scrutiny. There are also people whose reputations were
already so poor that media scrutiny could not possibly diminish it any
further. There may very well be people that have done nothing wrong in the
past, at least that can be discovered by the media, whose reputations
could not be diminished by media scrutiny. To broadly state that "anyone"
subjected to media coverage will have his or her status sullied implies
that everyone's reputation worldwide is susceptible to damage under any
type of media scrutiny. What about children, particularly newborn
children? What about those people whose past is entirely unknown?
Another problem with such a broad statement is that it does not define the
particular level of media scrutiny. Certainly there are different levels
of media coverage. Does merely the mention of one's name in a newspaper
constitute media scrutiny? What about the coverage of a single event in
someone's life, for example a wedding or the birth of a baby? Is the media
coverage of the heroic death of a firefighter or police officer in the
line of duty ever going to diminish that person's reputation? It seems
highly unlikely that in these examples, although these people may have
been subjected to media scrutiny, these individual's reputations are
undamaged and potentially enhanced by such exposure.
Without a doubt, there are many examples of individual's whose reputations
have been diminished by media scrutiny. The media's uncovering of former
U.S. President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky will most likely
overshadow the entire eight years of his administration. Basketball
superstar Michael Jordan's sterling reputation has been tarnished more
than once by the media; first by media coverage of his gambling habits,
then most recently (and in a much more harmful manner) by news reports of
his marital infidelities and the divorce from his wife of thirteen years.
Fame and fortune can turn an ordinary individual into a media target where
reporters will stop at almost nothing to "dig up dirt" that will sell more
newspapers or entice more viewers to watch a television program. It could
even be argued that media scrutiny killed Princess Diana as her car sped
away from the privacy-invading cameras of reporters in Paris. There is no
doubt that there are a large number of people who have been hurt in one
way or another by particularly intense media scrutiny.
In summary, it seems impossible that for every person that is subjected to
media scrutiny, his or her reputation will eventually be diminished.
Millions of people are mentioned in the media every day yet still manage
to go about their lives unhurt by the media. Normal individuals that are
subjected to media scrutiny can have their reputation either enhanced or
damaged depending on the circumstances surrounding the media coverage. The