Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Logical Fallacies

I'm getting more frequent ad hominem arguments against posting videos from Russia Today, even from people I thought were trained to recognize such logical fallacies. This suggests the influence of propaganda from another series of logical fallacies that falls under the same category of Relevance, called "Irrelevant Appeals"

Many of these irrelevant appeals cross the big fat red line between reporting news and consumer marketing strategy. The most powerful of which is the repeated assertion. Apparently some people can forget a repeated assertion for a while, even knowing it's false, and then hearing a key word after a while, vaguely and falsely remember the claims of assertion.

  • Antiquity/Tradition
    • The source is has a long record of reporting facts.
    • The source has been around for a long time
    • Because it's old
  • Authority
    • The source is a well-known opinion leader
    • The source is a government official
  • Consequences
    • The consequences of not accepting the claim will have negative consequences.
  • Force
    • Not accepting the claim makes you a traitor, subject to banishment or sanctions.
  • Novelty
    • It's a whole new way of looking at the information.
    • The latest trend or newest development.
  • Pity
    • Depicting suffering persons or animals that will be marginally, if at all, addressed by your donations.
  • Popularity
    • Claims that don't refer directly to sources that can be checked, but instead, attribute a claim to a vague source by using the synecdoche:
      • "Many people"
      • "Some people"
      • "Other sources"
      • "Executive branch"
      • "Liberal Left"
      • "Neocons"
      • "Tea Party"
      • "Politically Correct"
      • "Four out of five doctors"
  • Poverty
    • "Money doesn't buy happiness."
    • "Hard work is its own virtue."
  • Wealth
I often wonder how this is done. I imagine the news media could repeat several false assertions about a subject, switch to another tragedy to report on, then later occasionally refer back to the first subject and leave the audience with a "gut feeling" about the first topic that falls in line with the original false assertion.

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