RC Practice with Explanation

Tips on how to approach CAT Reading Comprehension passages
  • Don’t get into the minor details of the passage; just focus on what each paragraph has to say
  • As you read, create a map of the passage; you must remember what thing is located where in the passage
  • Once you read the question, come back to the part of the passage that is likely to have the answer
  • Compare the options and eliminate the incorrect choices based on the evidence that you see in the passage
  • Choose the answer once you are convinced of the right choice

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Every four years voters across the United States elect a president. Various factors such as choices in campaign locations, the candidates’ adherence to polling data and use of the Internet by candidates to reach potential voters all influence the preference of those voters, but perhaps none of these is so persuasive as a candidate’s performance on nationally televised debates just prior to the election. Newspapers and television news programs generally attempt to provide thorough coverage of the debates, further augmenting the effect of good or bad candidate performances.

In this way, the news media fulfill the traditional role of educating the public and enabling voters to make better informed decisions about elected officials. However, the same technology which brings live debates into millions of living rooms across the nation also limits the availability of debate coverage by use of “pool” coverage, the sharing of news coverage with other news organizations. The alternative is unilateral coverage, in which each news organization covers the event independently. Most events subject to pool coverage are so planned by the sponsors because of space limitations or safety concerns for prominent people attending or participating in the events. Since the television media require more people and equipment than their print counterparts, television usually is affected more frequently.

The pool system, when employed to cover debates between presidential nominees of the major political parties, violates the first amendment. The Constitution’s mandate for a free press allows restrictions on press coverage only when there is a compelling governmental interest at stake. Presidential debates involve no interest sufficient to justify the admission of one news organization to the exclusion of all others.

Pool coverage of a presidential debate means that individual broadcasters are unable to cover the event in their own way and, consequently, to convey a unique account to their viewers; they must purchase and use coverage provided by the pool representative or have no coverage at all. The networks participate reluctantly. Pool coverage denies an opportunity to gain maximum insight from the debate. Indeed, the first amendment freedoms afforded the press exist largely to ensure that the public benefits from the free flow of information. The Supreme Court has noted that “it is the right of viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount.”

To overcome the problem of restricted access, television news media could be divided into four categories: domestic networks, foreign news services, domestic news services, and independent broadcasters. Some broadcasters would be denied access, but the critical point is that in the end, the viewers will benefit, for they will have seen different debate coverage and, ultimately, will be better informed.

Question: For which of the following claims does the passage provide some supporting evidence or explanation?
[A] News organizations tend not to cooperate with each other unless they are forced to do so.
[B] Most presidential candidates fare poorly in televised debates because they are not good public speakers.
[C] Current news coverage of presidential debates limits the information available to the public.
[D] Foreign news organizations have generally been uninterested in American presidential debates.
Option (C)

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Question: In spite of what her challengers might argue, the author of this passage would probably give her greatest support to which of the following actions?
[A] A decision to allow more news services to cover presidential debates
[B] A decision to allow fewer news services to cover presidential debates
[C] A decision to ban presidential debates until more news services are allowed to cover them
[D] A decision to ban presidential debates until fewer news services are allowed to cover them
Option (A)

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Question: Assume for a moment that the claims made in the passage are completely correct. In light of this, what prediction could be made regarding how presidential candidates would to react to the pool system?
[A] They would support the pool system but ask for modifications to it.
[B] They would strongly endorse the pool system as it now stands.
[C] They would strongly reject the pool system as it now stands.
[D] They wouldn’t necessarily endorse or reject the pool system.
Option (D)

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Question: In discussing the reluctance of networks to participate in pool coverage, the phrase maximum insight (line 41), in the context of the passage, refers to:
[A] the thoroughness with which presidential candidates present their opinions during debates.
[B] the relative quality of debate coverage provided by domestic and foreign news organizations.
[C] the level of political awareness viewers could have if the pool system was modified to permit more varied debate coverage.
[D] the extent to which voters take into account what they have heard during debates when choosing candidates in elections.
Option (C)

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Question: According to the passage, which of the following would be the most likely outcome of a Supreme Court decision that abolished the pool system in favor of greater media access to presidential debates?
[A] Independent broadcasters would have fewer opportunities to cover presidential debates.
[B] Voters would be better informed about the policies advocated by presidential candidates.
[C] Television news would replace newspapers as the primary source of information for voters.
[D] Presidential candidates would be less enthusiastic about debating their electoral opponents.
Option (B)

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Question: Based on information and argumentation given by the author in the passage, which of the following statements is NOT true?
[A] Domestic news services are allowed greater access to presidential debates than foreign news services.
[B] Concern for the safety of presidential candidates is one reason why media access to presidential debates has been limited.
[C] An important influence on voter behavior in presidential elections is candidate performance in presidential debates.
[D] The contemporary pool system provides adequate news coverage of presidential debates.
Option (D)

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