Arguments are an essential basis of a person’s, group’s, or organization’s position on a particular issue. However, in some cases, one may use incorrect arguments to make persuasion stronger than it really is. In such cases, the arguments are fallacies, and they may be intentional for manipulation or unintentional due to inattention. Although fallacies are sometimes challenging to detect, their study helps recognize them, which is vital for critical thinking.
Fallacies in Media
People can find many examples of fallacies in news or opinion publications in newspapers and magazines. Brown (2022) considers disturbing reports in the Russian media about the widely discussed Ukrainian crisis. In the quotes given by the journalist, one can find the Ad Hominem fallacy. In particular, a Russian source states that their attack is justified because the people of Ukraine are “are passive Nazis and accomplices” (Brown, 2022, para. 8). This statement is a fallacy since unfair accusations and attacks are used in Russian narratives instead of justified arguments. It is necessary to use information based on facts and evidence to avoid such an error.
Another example discovered is an article about the Oscar award and the film industry. Douthat (2022) expresses the opinion presented in the title “We are not just watching the decline of the Oscars. We’re watching the end of the movies.” This article is an example of the Slippery Slope fallacy, in which one insists on a chain of events, which leads to adverse consequences without sufficient evidence. The author’s arguments in the text are focused on changes in film formats and the availability of streaming platforms. At the same time, he does not consider other forces affecting the industry – for example, politics and economics. The purpose of using fallacy is to attract attention, and one need not exaggerate and consider all factors of influence to avoid errors.
Advertising using fallacies to attract more buyers is another example. The Dove brand in the company “Doesn’t your skin desert better care” used the False Dilemma (“Dove,” n.d.). The promotional image presents the brand’s product as gentle and any other manufacturer as harmful, implying that there is no choice but Dove. It is necessary to avoid using adequate information about products and creative but honest plots for ads in the advertising business. Thus, fallacies are often used in various areas – from news to advertising and real life.
Brown, C. (2022). A Kremlin paper justifies erasing the Ukrainian identity, as Russia is accused of war crimes. CBC. Web.
Douthat, R. (2022). We aren’t just watching the decline of the Oscars. We’re watching the end of the movies. The New York Times. Web.
Dove. Doesn’t your skin desert better care. (n.d.). Web.