Fallacies in the Newspaper

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The effective use of rhetoric can spur people into action for worthy causes, bring about positive health changes, and even persuade one to finish a college education. In contrast, like most things in life, what can be used for good can also be used in a negative way to elicit emotions such as outrage, fear, and panic. This type of rhetoric often uses fallacious statements in an appeal to emotion which complicates the matter even more as the emotions are misdirected. Unfortunately, the daily newspapers are filled with numerous examples of fallacious statements. Within the past week, the following five examples appeared in the New York Times and USA Today. The examples included statements that demonstrated scapegoating, slippery slope, ad hominem, straw man, line-drawing, arguments from outrage, and arguments from envy. The first example, in an article about the current condition of income and wealth in the United States, the author stated that the fact that Americans are earning less and worth less than four years ago was started by the “financial crisis and the sharp decline in the value of homes, the principal asset of Americans, followed by the sharp drop in the stock prices. The crisis led to stubbornly high unemployment that cut income for many Americans and made wage increases harder to obtain for those who did hold on to their jobs” (Norris, 2012). The drop in housing prices is used as a scapegoating technique for the general financial condition of Americans. Scapegoating is a technique that places blame on a specific group for a certain circumstance (Moore & Parker, 2012, p. 187). By placing blame on the housing industry, Norris attempts to demonstrate that the American public is largely experiencing financial ... ... middle of paper ... ...Retrieved from New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/09/business/economy/as-recovery-drags-on-income-and-wealth-lag.html Ohio State University. (2012). Statistical Summary. Retrieved from Ohio State University.edu: http://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo.php Saad, L. (2012). "Pro-choice" Americans at low 41%. Retrieved from Gallup Politics: http://www.gallup.com/poll/154838/Pro-Choice-Americans-Record-Low.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=gallupnews&utm_c Sara Lee Annual Report. (2012). Sara Lee Annual Report 2011. Retrieved from Sara Lee Corporation: http://www.saralee.com/ourcompany/sl11ar/pdf/2011SL_Financials.pdf USDA. (2011). Profiling food consumption in America. Retrieved from USDA.gov: http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf

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