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The Most Common Logical Fallacies Associated with Public Disinformation

Since Fox News is in court defending itself in a $1.6B defamation lawsuit for misleading the public on the integrity of US elections… it’s a good time to go over logical fallacies that commonly occur on “news” channels spreading disinformation to their viewers. Unless you studied Logic & Reasoning in college, it’s likely you’ve never heard of these. We break down the most common ones in an easy-to understand article. Learn from us and see if you can recognize them the next time you turn on your favorite “news” channel.
The Most Common Logical Fallacies Associated with Public Disinformation

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In this article

Common Fallacies of Logic & Reasoning That Commonly Occur on Popular "News" Channels

There are many logical fallacies that are commonly associated with public disinformation, but some of the most prevalent ones include:

  1. Ad hominem: This fallacy involves attacking the person making the argument rather than addressing the argument itself. For example, instead of refuting the evidence presented by a scientist, a disinformation campaign might attack the scientist’s credibility by spreading false information about their personal life or professional background. 

  2. Straw man: This fallacy involves misrepresenting an opponent’s argument in order to make it easier to attack. For example, instead of addressing the actual policy proposal being discussed, a disinformation campaign might create a false version of the proposal and then attack that instead.

  3. False dilemma: This fallacy involves presenting a false choice between two options, implying that there are no other alternatives. For example, a disinformation campaign might present a false choice between “vaccines are safe” and “vaccines are dangerous” in order to create fear and confusion.

  4. False equivalence: This fallacy involves presenting two different things as if they are equivalent, when in reality they are not. For example, a disinformation campaign might present a false conspiracy theory as if it is just as credible as a well-established scientific theory.

  5. Red herring: This fallacy involves introducing irrelevant information in order to distract from the actual issue at hand. For example, a disinformation campaign might introduce a false claim about a celebrity’s personal life in order to distract from the credible evidence of a political scandal.

  6. Appeal to emotions: This fallacy involves appealing to the emotions of the audience in order to distract from the evidence or logic of the argument. For example, a disinformation campaign might use images of children or patriotic symbols to create an emotional response that overrides critical thinking.

  7. Confirmation bias: This fallacy occurs when people selectively interpret and remember information that confirms their existing beliefs and ignore or forget information that contradicts it.

  8. Appeal to authority: This fallacy occurs when an argument is accepted as true because an authority figure said it, regardless of the actual evidence.

In conclusion, these logical fallacies are often used in disinformation campaigns to mislead and manipulate public opinion, and they are often spread through social media, news outlets and other forms of media. It’s important to be aware of these fallacies and critically evaluate the information we receive to avoid being misled.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

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