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Sample Response to Real GRE Issue Questions

Issue #1: "The reputation of anyone who is subjected to media scrutiny will eventually be diminished."

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