POINT-COUNTERPOINT: Point-counterpoints should feature opposing views vs. I agree

  • Point: Point-counterpoints should feature opposing views – Nolan Cooney

    One of the cornerstones of opinion journalism in America is the point-counterpoint. With its remarkable ability to distill complex and nuanced issues into simplistic two-sided debates, the point-counterpoint has long been a staple of editorial pages and news broadcasts across the nation. But the success of this format rests on one essential principle: the difference of opinion between the two debaters. If both pundits offered the same perspective, the point-counterpoint format would be completely useless. Imagine, if you will, a writer making a compelling case for a certain political viewpoint, and then another writer attempting to refute the first writer’s claims by arguing in favor of the exact same position. It just wouldn’t make any sense. The writers would be better off collaborating on a single piece, joining forces to create a stronger argument, rather than trying to shoehorn their one-sided agenda into a format in which it obviously doesn’t belong. Therefore, I conclude that, without featuring opposing views, a point-counterpoint would be pointless. 


    Counterpoint: I agree – Norman Conley

    While I respect the compelling points made by my opponent, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to take the same position. He claims that the essence of the point-counterpoint is the difference in views among those participating, but the concern I have with this statement is that it is completely correct. My opponent suggests that the reason for the point-counterpoint’s popularity is its ability to offer two different viewpoints on a topic, but I would argue that the popularity of the point-counterpoint comes from its ability to show a topic from two different viewpoints. In defending his opinion, my opponent provided an example of a point-counterpoint in which two writers argue in favor of the same position. This example is not only completely unrealistic and would never happen in any publication, but it is also an effective and convincing defense of his argument, which I happen to agree with wholeheartedly. My opponent’s proposal that, were such a situation to occur, the two writers would find it more productive to compose a collaborative piece is a perfectly reasonable suggestion, and I sure wish he would have suggested it to me before he wrote his half of this article.