The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts.
“In a recent city wide poll. fifteen percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums have increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual art programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city’s art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television.”
The argument in the memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts is unconvincing because its conclusion depends on several unsubstantiated assumptions of comparison of public television viewers and visitors to the city’s art museum, thus city extending support to the public television in view of cuts by the corporate. Each of the following areas merit further explanation before it can be given any degree of credibility of its conclusion of the allocation of the city’s funds to public television.
Firstly, the memorandum lacks data to show the relationship of the people viewing television programs about the visual arts and people visiting the city’s art museums. There is no guarantee that the same people who watch television programs on the visual arts also visit the art museums.
Secondly, the possibility of increase in the number of the tourists visiting the city cannot be ignored as the visitors to the arts museums too, thus, resulting in the increase of its visitors. Moreover, the government might have marketed the arts museums so extensively during the past five years that resulted in a substantial growth of the interests in the people visiting the city. One cannot also rule out the possibility of increase in the number of art students, which would have resulted in the increase in the number of visitors to the art museums, who visit the museums for their research and study.
Last but the not the least, corporate funding are generally tied with profit interests and hence, are most likely to support the commercial programs. One needs further data to support the claim that the corporate funding was directly responsible for the support and growth of visual programs rather than any other program on the public television.
Due to the many holes in the reasoning in the arguments of the city’s council, it is difficult to take the arguments seriously. Unless further evidence surface in each of the areas discussed above, the given premises are insufficient proof that the conclusion drawn is viable.