Shorts: Shifting the Burden of Argument and Ad Hominem

Blitzer: Well you don’t have any evidence though, right?

Rep. McHenry: Well look at the fact points…four weeks out from a national election…

Blitzer: Yes or no: do you have any evidence? Do you have any evidence Congressman?

Rep. McHenry: Do you have any evidence that says they weren’t involved?

Blitzer: I’m just asking if you’re just throwing out an accusation or if you have any hard evidence.

Rep. McHenry: No, it’s a question Wolf. The question remains, were they involved? And if they were not involved they need to say clearly, and it’s a question, it’s not an accusation.

Blitzer: Well, they are denying that they had anything to do with this. source

Sort of like an Appeal to Ignorance. Maybe better described as an illegitimate shift of the burden of argument.

I know the speaker didn’t go over a bridge and leave a young person in the water, and then have a press conference the next day,” said Shays, R-4th District, referring to the 1969 incident in which the Massachusetts Democrat drove a car that plunged into the water and a young campaign worker died.

Dennis Hastert didn’t kill anybody,” he added. source

Nice little ad hominem. Maybe even a form of the tu quoque?

One thought on “Shorts: Shifting the Burden of Argument and Ad Hominem”

  1. moree than that, even, shays seems to be making some odd value judgment of bad acts, predicated on harm. sure, hastert ignored repeated warnings from other congresspersons that one of his party was a sexual predator, but, hey, it’s not like he committed murder. instead he just inflicted untold emotional harm on sevral young men and peddled his power to cull a little action from his pages and manipulated them to satisfy his pederastic tendencies. at least he didn’t commit murder. i suppose we could use shays’ logic to the obverse of his claim: mark foley harmed quite a few people, at least ted kennedy only harmed one. by the way, did i mention that dick cheney’s daughter is a lesbian….

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