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GRE Issue 44: It Is No Longer Possible For A Society To Regard Any Living Man Or Woman As A Hero - With A Free Essay Review
Claim: It is no longer possible for a society to regard any living man or woman as a hero. Reason: The reputation of anyone who is subjected to media scrutiny will eventually be diminished. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.
The statement claims that it is no longer possible for a society to regard any living people as a hero simply because the reputation of anyone who is subjected to media scrutiny will be diminished. It is true that under media scrutiny, many people previously regarded as heroes are found to have scandals and do some wrongdoings, which eventually lead them to be reproached. However, from my perspective, in some sense, media scrutiny will help people identify true heroes.
In some cases, the reputation of anyone is likely to be diminished because of media scrutiny. On the one hand, although someone has made contributions to some fields and won high reputations, his/her other terrible misbehaviors are discovered by media. On the other hand, sometimes, people are found to just plagiarize others’ research or use underhand tactics for the sake of reputation. These people’s reputation eventually declines and thus no on would regard them as heroes any more. Take for example Marion Jones, a former world champion track and field athlete. A majority of people would consider her to be a hero largely because she won five medals at the Summer Olympics. However, under media scrutiny, the public found she took performance-enhancing drugs in these competitions. She not only was deprived of all medals, but also lost reputation she once had. Therefore, because the reputation of someone declines under the media scrutiny, these people are no longer regarded as heroes.
However, although some people’s reputation diminishes, we can hardly claim that it is impossible for a society to regard any living man or woman as a hero. In some cases, with the help of media, public finds someone unknown as a true hero. Firefighters in 911 attacks are excellent example of this point. A large amount of firefighters took great pains for the sake of rescuing others as well as putting out fire. Despite the fact that most of them are nameless and very normal, they were eventually found out and praised by public with the assistance of mass media. Their reputation and spirit of dedication were not likely to decline but remain in people’s hearts. Thus, under media scrutiny, it is possible for a society to regard someone as a hero.
In addition, owing to media scrutiny, people may gradually be accustomed to accept a fact that no hero is perfect and immaculate. As a result, when a hero they regard makes some minor mistakes, they are willing to forgive him/her and still treat his/her as a hero. Take Churchill for example. Although mass media informed public that he was addicted to drinking wines and smoking, numerous people would still think he was a great hero because in spite of his minor bad habits, he led the Allied forces during World War Two and successfully defeated Nazi. Therefore, like Churchill, some heroes, though imperfect, are regarded as heroes by masses.
In conclusion, admittedly it is true that sometimes the reputation of someone will be diminished, but it is still possible for a society to regard some people as heroes. On the one hand, with the help of media, unknown heroes are found. On the other hand, though some heroes had bad habits, they are still regarded as heroes because people know no one can be truly perfect.
Your most effective argument here is the last one, the argument that we become inured through constant exposure to tales of the minor misdemeanors of our chosen heroes. I think that argument is worth developing as part of a larger argument about why we might ignore reported imperfections or misbehaviour.
The argument that the news media can discover (or invent) heroes rather than tarnish their reputation is true but not obviously relevant to the discussion of the original claim. The claim is about media scrutiny of the heroes themselves; it's not about the investigations that lead up to the identification of the heroes. Perhaps the relevant argument here is that media scrutiny doesn't always happen. A newspaper that started criticising the personal lives of a man who died during the collapse of the twin towers while trying to save others would be a newspaper likely to suffer a serious loss of readership. In any case, the news media did not really make heroes of individual firefighters after 9/11; it made heroes of The Firefighter, and you cannot subject an idealization to invasive media scrutiny.
Since I seem to be driving in reverse here, let's now look at the previous paragraph, but I'm going to comment on usage here. First, the phrase "the reputation of anyone is likely to be diminished" means the same as "In every case, the reputation of someone is likely to be diminished," and obviously you could not qualify such a statement with "in some cases." So you need to change "anyone" to "someone" or "a person." Second, when you use the construction “on the one hand X, on the other hand Y,” X and Y need to be clearly opposed to each other (and yet both true).