If you have been watching television commercials for more than five minutes, chances are that you have already been inundated with countless tactics of manipulation. One of the most common methods of this manipulation by an advertisersis to distract the audience with some appealing side-note and then to offer a product or service which most people don’t actually need. We may have noticed this by now, but this is generally the goal of virtually every logical fallacy used by advertisers today.
There are those who use logical fallacies on accident out of ignorance or lack of attention to what they are saying. Then there are those who deliberately use fallacies to manipulate an audience so that people within the audience take some action or adopt a mentality that is advantageous to those delivering the fallacies.
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The goal of many of these deliberately used fallacies is to distract an individual long enough so that they are not in a proper state of mind to thoroughly evaluate the message being delivered. The audience is given a stimulus to occupy them while the propagandist delivers a message—usually one that makes no sense at all—but because the audience is distracted and/or confused, no one in the audience notices any inconsistency. One of the main distractionary methods which propagandists use is to use emotional appeal to distract the general audience member. Below is the definition of this fallacy of the Appeal to Emotions.
Appeal to Emotions
(also known as: playing on emotions, emotional appeal, for the children)
Description: This is the general category of many fallacies that use emotion in place of reason in order to attempt to win the argument. It is a type of manipulation used in place of valid logic.
There are several specifically emotional fallacies that I list separately in this book, because of their widespread use. However, keep in mind that you can take any emotion, precede it with, “appeal to,” and you have created a new fallacy, but by definition, the emotion must be used in place of a valid reason in supporting the conclusion.
Logical Form:X must be true.
Imagine how sad it would be if it weren’t true.
Example #1:Power lines cause cancer. I met a little boy with cancer who lived just 20 miles from a power line who looked into my eyes and said, in his weak voice, “Please do whatever you can so that other kids won’t have to go through what I am going through.” I urge you to vote for this bill to tear down all power lines and replace them with monkeys on treadmills.
Explanation: Notice the form of the example: assertion, emotional appeal, request for action (conclusion) — nowhere is there any evidence presented. We can all tear up over the image of a little boy with cancer who is expressing concern for others rather than taking pity on himself, but that has nothing to do with the assertion or the conclusion.
Example #2:There must be objective rights and wrongs in the universe. If not, how can you possibly say that torturing babies for fun could ever be right?
Explanation: The thought of people torturing babies for fun immediately brings up unpleasant images (in sane people). The actual argument (implied) is that there are objective (universal) rights and wrongs (morality). The argument is worded in such a way to connect the argument’s conclusions (that there is objective morality) with the idea that torturing babies for fun is wrong (this is also a non sequitur fallacy). No matter how we personally feel about a horrible act, our feelings are not a valid substitution for an objective reason behind why the act is horrible.
Exceptions: Appealing to emotions is a very powerful and necessary technique in persuasion. We are emotional creatures; therefore, we often make decisions and form beliefs erroneously based on emotions, when reason and logic tell us otherwise. However, using appeals to emotion as a backup to rational and logical arguments is not only valid, but a skill possessed by virtually every great communicator.
Tip: By appealing to both the brain and the heart, you will persuade the greatest number of people.
The key to recognizing this fallacy is to be alert. If any party in a disagreement attempts to refer to an emotionally appealing situation, yet the intended emotional response has nothing to do with their point, chances are they are using this fallacy. Examples of this may be easily seen in television commercials.
When we watch a commercial, what do we see? We typically see an everyday situation in which people with whom we can relate are taking actions in which necessitate the product or service being advertised. When we see the people smiling after supposedly taking some drug, or wincing in pain before they take it, this can be considered an appeal to emotion. This emotional appeal is commonly combined with fear tactics.
Any time we see cute and cuddly animals in conjunction with a product or service, yet these animals generally have nothing to do with the product/service, an emotional appeal is once again being used. We might also keep in mind that whenever we see these cute animals along with a sad soundtrack, it does not automatically mean the organization sending the message is reputable or honest.
Appeals to emotion can be seen quite often when we look at political advertisements and demonstrations. Any time a political figure speaks about the suffering of others while pitching a proposition to a large audience, manipulation is typically the goal. When Red Cross asks you to donate to an earthquake relief fund for Haiti following a devastating earthquake event, it does not at all mean that the money will go to earthquake victims.
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Often times, the images of people in need are used to invoke sympathy within the audience so that greater profits can be made from the donations of generous, yet unsuspecting people. This is why it is always important to research who is behind the organizations using emotional appeal to collect funds.
One very recent trend among those suspected of working for globalist interest is for politicians to cry during speeches. All of a sudden, this trend of crying when pitching plans that benefit globalism, selling dangerous products, taking advantage of suspected false flag attacks, or attempting to escape pedophilia sentences, crooked politicians seemed to default many a time to this method of shedding crocodile tears. In my view, this only appears to be an attempt to take advantage of the compassion of the people. Though this is a more subtle means of appealing to emotions, if these tears are truly false, the appeal is clearly fallacious.
There are other recent examples of appealing to emotion that have been so skillfully used that most people have not yet realized these were instances of propaganda. These instances have come in a variety of forms, but most of them have been implemented through social media.
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Think back to 2015 when same-sex marriage was legalized and the LGBT and many communities were celebrating. Remember when the White House decked out its pediment with rainbow colors. Along with this, the social media platform, Facebook, created an option for users to overlay their profile images with rainbow colors. Though many have appreciated the legalization of same-sex marriage, when the smoke cleared, it turned out that the very act—and large-scale media event surrounding the legalization—was a distraction created by corporate media and other sources.
The anti-humanitarian Trans-Pacific Partnership bill, which undermined virtually the entirety of American labor was railroaded through Congress the exact same time the media fixated on the marriage legalization. The entire show created by the media, by social media and various other outlets, could be considered participatory propaganda. It was an enormous appeal to emotion so large that virtually no one even realized they were being duped.
The emotional appeal has been used in many different arenas as well. It was used during the Women’s March on Washington when provocation and anger were used by corporate media to create what appeared to be a grassroots anti-President demonstration. It was understandable that women were angry at various disrespectful public statements made by the President. However, in the long-run, it was revealed that no true or lasting change ever came from this march.
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