scrutinizing their operations, but it’s not good grounds for the conclusion that they really are cutting corners. 2. A nice circumstantial ad hominem. The fact that the editorial writer will not be there to pay the fee is not relevant to whether his arguments in favor of the fee are good ones, nor to whether the fee itself is a good idea. The fact that the current writer will have to pay the fee does not make his arguments against it any better. We have to admit that we sort of like the nice sarcastic touch at the beginning of the passage. 3. Moody’s characterization of the other networks (“America is bad, etc.”) is a straw man. ▲4. Yes—this is clearly fallacious. Bush’s sweeping generalization would be irrelevant to the Democrats’ claim even if it were true. That it isn’t true makes the response a straw man. One can also see this as a smokescreen. ▲5. The quoted remark from Harris is not relevant to the conclusion drawn in this passage. This passage doesn’t fit neatly into any of our categories, although ad hominem would not be a bad choice. Notice a possible ambiguity that may come into play: “Having an impact” might mean simply that Harris wants his work to be noticed by “movers and shakers”—or it could mean that he wishes to sway people toward a certain political view. It’s likely that he intended his remark the first way, but it’s being taken in the second way in this passage. 6. Reagan’s remarks do count as something—if they are both true and indicative of his actual views, then they are evidence that he is personally not hostile to blacks. Beyond that, however, and especially with regard to the issue mentioned at the beginning of the passage, his remarks are a red herring (or, if you like, a smokescreen). They are clearly irrelevant to whether White House policy is hostile to black viewpoints or whether it finds them unwelcome. 7. This is an almost perfect example of the misplaced burden-of-proof fallacy. 8. There’s a bit of red herring in the reference to the university. Although a university is sure to cause an influx into a city, one presumes the developers are in the business of making a buck and one way to do that is to encourage people to stay around and buy a house. There’s still some sense to the speaker’s remark, however. ▲9. This is a borderline circumstantial ad hominem. It certainly does not follow that Seltzer and Sterling are making false claims from the fact that they are being paid by an interested party. But remember the cautions from Chapter 4: expertise can be bought, and we should be very cautious about accepting claims made by experts who are paid by someone who has a vested interest in the outcome of a controversy. 10. This can be seen as a false dilemma: either sanctions turn Beijing leaders into good guys by now , or the sanctions should be lifted. It’s separate issue, of course, whether the sanctions, if left in place, might eventually accomplish their goal. If one can argue that if they haven’t done it by now, they probably won’t do it, then a decent case has been made. IM – 6&7 | 11
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