Use Of Fallacies In The Articles
From a philosophical point of view, it is on record that fallacies are mistaken and misleading beliefs that are anchored on unsound arguments. To this extent, fallacies are derivatives of the type of reasoning that is incorrect logically and as such, the validity of such arguments becomes highly compromised. The effect of fallacies is that they paint an untrue picture of the reality on the ground hence misleading the audience. The authors or speakers who use fallacies do so for their interests as their statements conflict with the truth. The latest event where fallacies continue to dominate the media is the reporting on the impeachment of President Donald Trump of the United States. Most reports connected to this event of historic magnitude are marred with fallacies that are aimed at portraying the President as someone whose actions conflict with the interests, values, and laws of the United States. Some of the notable fallacies presented in the various articles on this matter include the following.
To begin with, the fallacy of sweeping generalization common in the articles under consideration. The authors make a very broad or wide application to one premise. For instance, there is a clear assertion that Donald Trump has in the past been caught up in incidents where he has violated the laws and the interests of the United States. In addition to this, there is the assertion that the acts and omission of Trump are meant to serve his interests to the extent of the safety and well-being of the people that are supposed to govern through absolute loyalty. These are sweeping generalizations that are meant to whip public emotions by all the standards of assessment. There is no supporting evidence to provide specifics on the exact engagements that the President had executed against the popular will of the people of the United States. Such sweeping generalization fallacies are a clear indicator that the arguments being pronounced by the authors are illogical and therefore unsound. It could be proper if the writers of the articles could have narrowed down into the specifics to give meaning and logic to the allegations being levelled against the president.
Moreover, the fallacy of Ad Hominem or attacking the person is at play in the manner in which the impeachment of President Trump is being covered by the various media sources. This is based on the understanding that there is no merit and that the acceptance of the impeachment is purely based on the source or the person of Donald Trump. For instance, the authors of the articles are more into attacking the character of the victim as opposed to dealing with the provided facts in the most objective manner that is free from any form of subjectivity. The imagined and perceived attitude of Donald Trump and his past engagements seem to be at play with little or no regard to what the facts are. It is the personality of the president in terms of his behaviour and engagements that are being attacked or emphasized upon. It could have been prudent if the authors of the articles or news items could have focused more on the evidence and facts in the most objective manner. In this way, logic could have prevailed and their arguments and assertions could have been credible and acceptable.
Furthermore, the bad wagon fallacies are also at play. The position of the authors is purely claimed to be true on the basis that most of the people believe it to be so. This is dangerous especially when the victim or the person under attack is perceived to have many enemies or people who hold opinions to the contrary. When people are against a particular individual or institution, it becomes easy for them to believe anything spoken about them. This is the case with how the impeachment of Donald Trump is being reported and recorded by the various authors and media houses world over. There is this misleading perception that the president is unpopular among the masses and as such, it is easy for the people to believe bad things about him with a lot of ease. The record, actions, and statements made by the President on the various matters that seem to have caused friction between him and the public is what the authors are relying on to support the impeachment case. At the same time, there is a widespread perception that the presidency is determined to compromise the national security to the detriment of the citizens. To avert the occurrence of such fallacies, it could have been prudent for the authors to have engaged facts and issues that are material, convincing and backed up by evidence to put their case to the public. Such an approach could have guaranteed a logical flow of ideas and made the arguments therein to be sound and acceptable.
In the final analysis, it is evident that the common fallacies of attacking the person, sweeping generalization and bandwagon are common in the articles that are under consideration. There is little reliance on facts and tangible evidence that the writers are relying upon to make their cases and arguments. Their statements are thus flawed, and misleading to the extent of being illogical and unsound. The based approach could have been for the writers to give an objective approach to the case without being seen to compromise the facts to achieve a predetermined end or result.
- Dan Gainor: Anti-Trump news coverage of the impeachment trial was the Super Bowl of media bias. Available at https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/dan-gainor-anti-trump-news-coverage-of-impeachment-trial-was-super-bowl-of-media-bias
- Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN: Trump’s impeachment trial is over but the politics are not. Available at https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/06/politics/donald-trump-impeachment-election-2020/index.html
- Impeach Donald Trump. Available at: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/impeachment-trump/580468/
- Democracy just died in the Senate. So if Trump loses in November, don’t expect a peaceful transition. Available at https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/senate-vote-trump-impeachment-result-acquit-a9320261.html