What are two distinct fallacies committed in the media coverage of various subjects?  

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fallacy 1: Argument ad hominem

This fallacy is defined as argument from the person. It consists of assuming that irrelevant features of someone's personal life or character affect the validity of their arguments. This might take the form "We shouldn't trust X's statements about fiscal policy because he is an adulterer." It's true that X may be an immoral person, and it would be a bad idea to date him, but that has nothing to do with whether his recommendations about fiscal policy are bad or good.

Fallacy 2: Straw Man Argument

This is attributing to your opponents things (often extreme views) they do not actually hold and then arguing against the false image you have created. The Republican use of the term "death panels" to argue against President Obama's creation of universal healthcare is an example of a straw man argument.

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The above are not logical fallacies. Remember that fallacious is not synonymous with "wrong" or "misguided" or "biased", but refers to a conclusion that does not follow logically from its premisses.

"All dogs are purple and Spot is a dog. Therefore Spot is purple." is a statement that is materially incorrect, but it is not fallacious (it is logically valid, but based on premisses that do not correspond to reality).


daskalos | Student

By placing your question in the topic of Logical Thinking you have made a mistake.  Most of media coverage today has very little to do with logic.  It is entertainment and as such it will bend and mold itself to fit the polls and income sorces.  If you would like true news coverage I would recommend that you acquire primary sources, understand the bias of the speaker, and then filter your own bias if possible. 

enoch1118 | Student

The above answers are excellent. However, there are many other points that could be made.

Another great fallacy that the media presents is that all news is newsworthy. To put it another way, the very structure of news is flawed. If a news program needs to put on the nightly news everyday, then they need to fill up that slot with something - whether there is something newsworthy or not. So, in some instances, the news has to make the news (instead of reporting it).

Second, the news is always based on a perspective. Furthermore, all news is selective. Hence, there will always be a bias. As people know certain news channels are pro-Republican and others are pro-democratic. So, it is good to always look at multiply sources, especially from other countries.

Third, another common problem with the news is their use of statistics. Anyone who knows anything about statistics knows that it is very hard to establish any sort of correlation. Hence, the media uses statistics in a biased way.


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