Category Archives: Reporting

OMG. What if?

Mark Steyn’s recent contribution to NRO’s page is an exercise in (a) guilt by association, by way of (b) rampant speculation.  The ultimate payoff is to criticize the food stamp program.  Here’s how the line of argument goes: [The House … Continue reading

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Politics and bullshit

Daniel Foster at National Review Online has a well-timed piece on political culture and bullshit.  For the most part, it's a quick essay glossing Harry Frankfurt's views in his classic "On Bullshit".  He's got a few examples that aren't quite … Continue reading

Posted in Bad Explanations, category mistake, False equivalences, Specious allegations of fallacy | Tagged | 7 Comments

Bill Maher’s Ham Jihad

Bill Maher thinks there's too much manufactured outrage in our national discourse. When Bobby De Niro recently made a white people joke at an Obama fundraiser dinner, noted defender of the rights of minority groups Newt Gingrich leapt to our … Continue reading

Posted in False equivalences, General discussion, hollow man, Weak Analogy | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Inner Witlessness

David Brooks has a problem with all you people and your outrage over the rape of young boys.  So take a break from feverishly trying assuage your liberal guilt with innumerable OMG SANDUSKEEZ A PERV OMG #librulzrule tweets and witness … Continue reading

Posted in Ad hominem circumstantial, Appeal to the People, David Brooks, False equivalences, hollow man, oversimplified cause, Plain Bad Arguments, specious comparisons, Suppressed Evidence, Weak Analogy | 5 Comments

I strongly assert

I was recently at a conference.  I attended one paper where the presenter kept using the expression, "I strongly assert…" as a means of premise-introduction.  Once, it was used in the context of disagreement.  And so:  "Some say not-p, but … Continue reading

Posted in Academics, Argument Analysis, General discussion, strange terms, Unclassifiable | Tagged , , | 7 Comments


Sometimes things get framed in a funny way.  Here's the way an article from today's Chicago Tribune framed the debate–I know, what debate?–about building a mosque and Islamic Center in the Chicago suburbs: On one side, the issue is about the right to have … Continue reading

Posted in Reporting | Tagged , , | 4 Comments


Something I don't understand: The country long ago stopped wondering whether a president demeans his office by appearing on a late night comedy show. The more immediate question posed by President Obama’s appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” … Continue reading

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An Exercise in Scarequoting

Classic downplaying is the strategy of making something look less important or significant.  You can do this with euphemisms, so you can call a pay cut "salary compression," or you can call the victims of indiscriminate use of lethal force … Continue reading

Posted in Argument Analysis, General discussion, John McCain, Reporting, Sarah Palin | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Bicameral poxism

In the category of sloppy pseudo-balance-driven reporting today, we have the following comparison between George Will's making stuff up and Al Gore's exaggerating a consequence of a well-established phenomenon.  The New York Times' Andrew Revkin writes: In the effort to … Continue reading

Posted in False equivalences, Reporting, specious comparisons | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Never been kissed

Here's a couple that makes a Jane Austin novel look like an adult film.   The "no-kissing" rule came up as a way to prevent things from getting out of hand. You see, Fabien and LaLuz both teach abstinence courses … Continue reading

Posted in Reporting, Weak Analogy | Tagged | 1 Comment