Nutpicking, or weak-manning one’s opponent, is a form of the straw man fallacy wherein one finds the worst or weakest version of your opponent’s views or the least sophisticated defenders of an opposed view and then subject that view to scrutiny. So one goes after the bad versions of one’s opposition, instead of the good ones.
The strategy can occur in lots of ways. One can wait for an offhand and awkward comment to encapsulate the view, or one can track down the least informed representative of the opposition. Or one can listen in on the other side’s loose talk. This last one is a new way to weak man — listen in on a comedy show by and for liberals and wait for them to say something that sounds all-too-revealing.
Well, the folks at INFOWARS did just that. They listened in on Michelle Wolf’s new Netflix show, and in a comedy gag, she asks:
Are you sort of hoping we don’t get peace with North Korea so you won’t have to give Trump credit?
A funny question. Of course it’s a joke, but one that is at the expense of the deep resentments at the heart of American politics. The joke gets funnier, since the audience polled answered YES 71% to No 21%. That’s pretty funny, and surely everyone who responded had a little chuckle.
Oh, but the INFOWARS folks were listening, too. They don’t like humor, unless it’s them making a joke about how sensitive liberals are. Anyway, Paul Joseph Watson, the INFOWARS author, didn’t get the joke, and now reports:
In other words, a significant majority of leftists would happily risk nuclear war, so long as it meant Trump would look bad.
Let that sink in.
When conservatives talk about how many on the left “hate America,” it’s seen by most as a tired cliché, but when you see clips like this it really makes you wonder. . . .
Indeed, it seems that the left is so beset by Trump Derangement Syndrome that they’re quite happy to see the pilot crash the plane even though they’re on it.
So, as I see it, a reporter watches a comedy show and reports that a gag that the audience was supposed to play along with bespeaks a traitorous vendetta among liberals. So much of the straw man fallacy generally is about interpreting your opponent in a way that exercises minimal charity, if only for the sake of the quality of the exchange that these defaults encourage. But, look, if your defaults are set on interpreting a comedy sketch like this as little more than a suicidal desire for Trump to fail, then it’s hard to see how there’s much of any opportunity for critique either way.