In any persuasive essay or discussion, you are trying to give evidence for a particular point of view. You are not obligated to make the other chap's argument for him. But in the larger scheme, you are not supposed to be proving one point of view, but arguing a side with an eye to all of us getting nearer the truth. You believe your view is closer to the truth, someone else believes theirs is, and together you press on toward a better understanding.
This is perhaps discussion rather than argument, though it is argument in its higher and better sense. It involves some listening, some granting that the other disputant has made some valid point.
It is different in a court of law, where an attorney is obligated by profession to give ground only for tactical reasons, and a certain obscuring of the facts is part of the process. When an attorney negotiates for you outside of a formal hearing, s/he might engage in more give-and-take, but the understanding in a formal hearing is that you grant nothing, and make the other side prove everything. This is because it is a judge or jury, a (hopefully) neutral hearer with no dog in the fight, is making the decision. Without this - if the attorneys had to resolve the dispute between themselves - the line of questioning would be different.
I don't understand why this specialised type of questioning is considered proper in political arguments, journalism, or in online discussion. A paid advocate must act like an attorney, perhaps, but even an op-ed writer, if seeking after truth, acknowledges some justice in the other side, even as he seeks to answer it. Political cartoons are unfair and one-sided; editorials should be fair, not intentionally ignoring information to score a point.
National journalists must think they are prosecuting attorneys. Their goal does not seem to be arriving at the truth, but in being as challenging as possible, even if unfair. Let Governor Buncombe make his own argument. My job is to undermine it. No, not really.
Isn't it true, doctor, that you prescribed this treatment knowing that death was one of the possible side effects?
MD: Well, this particular treatment...Just answer the question, doctor: yes or no?
We consider this fair because we know a cross-examination is coming next - the doctor is going to get to give the context of how likely the side effects are, what precautions, he took, and what his other choices were.
Ms. Wintergreen, isn't it true that you pushed and elderly lady to the curb and she injured herself?
Ms. W: Well I had to because...Yes or no, Ms. Wintergreen.
Ms. W: Yes.
The other attorney will take the line of questioning which reveals that the elderly lady was pushed in order to get her out of the path of a speeding vehicle.
Why should we admire this type of questioning from journalists? Why do they consider themselves not only justified but downright noble when they do so? How is it that advocates for causes con themselves into thinking they are being righteous when they do this? Why is it okay to ignore or dismiss known truths for the sake of the Cause?
Yeah, that's the same question, asked four different ways.
Whether live or online, I seldom stay in discussions with such people. Whether they be fool or knave is no matter - there is nothing to be gained.