by Shem El-Jamal, November 5, 2017
Whenever a person or group has a point they wish to prove, there are a number of methods they may use to do so. They may choose either to prove their point honorably and with integrity, convince their audience that their stance is more preferable than any alternative, or they may choose to persuade and manipulate their audience by any means necessary.
Related links – Know Your Propaganda – Straw Man – The Art of Misrepresentation
Typically, if a point or position holds little or no value in the eyes of the audience, it is seen fit by propagandists to manipulate their audience. One of the ways propagandists might do this is by using the image of popular personalities in order to make their message seem more appealing. This use of celebrities as pretty faces to sell bad or questionable policies, products, or ideas is as well-known fallacy, and is simply referred to as celebrities. Here is a more extensive definition.
Description: Accepting a claim of a celebrity based on his or her celebrity status, not on the strength of the argument.
Logical Form: Celebrity 1 says to use product Y.
Therefore, we should use product Y.
Example #1: Tom Cruise says on TV that Billy Boy Butter is the best tasting butter there is. Tom Cruise is awesome — especially in MI4 when he scaled that building with only one suction glove; therefore, Billy Boy Butter is the best tasting butter there is!
Explanation: Tom Cruise might be awesome, and perhaps he really does think Billy Boy Butter is the best tasting butter there is, but Tom is no more an authority on the taste of butter than anyone else; therefore, to accept the claim without any other evidence or reason is fallacious.
Example #2: Mike Seaver from that 80’s sitcom, “Growing Pains”, is really cool. He is now a born-again Christian and apologist for the faith. Therefore, you should really believe what he has to say!
Explanation: Mike Seaver is awesome, but Kirk Cameron, the actor that plays that character? Even if Kirk was super duper (which he might be, I don’t know him), his views on the truth of religion are equally valid as yours, or anyone else’s who determines what he or she considers to be the truth through faith.
Exception: Some celebrity endorsements are authentic, where the celebrities are motivated by the love of the product itself, not the huge check they are getting for pretending to like the product. When these products are directly related to their celebrity status, then this could be seen as a valid (but not sufficient) reason for wanting the product.
Honestly, I really can’t think of any examples, but there must be some out there.
Tip: If you are in business and looking for a celebrity to endorse your product, try not to pick one that is likely to be accused of killing his wife and his wife’s lover, then taking off in a white Bronco.
To restate, the use of the celebrity fallacy involves using a popular face in place of reason to convince an audience to agree with a certain point or position. This fallacy typically includes an undertone of the bandwagon fallacy which elicits approval based on the popularity of an idea alone. Let’s consider some examples of the celebrity fallacy.
Think back to late 2016. This is a time most of us might want to forget completely, but there were several blatant instances of celebrity propaganda that we may have seen during this time. One of these instances consisted of movie characters from the Avengers series promoting an early anti-Trump message for election season.
The Avengers Just United Against Trump In Hilarious Video
16 Celebrities Who Will Leave the U.S. if Trump Wins
Obamacare to be Launched with a Star-Studded Celebrity Propaganda Campaign
Kim Kardashian Gets a Selfie With Hillary Clinton
Kim Kardashian Clarifies: I’m Voting for Hillary Clinton Not Donald Trump
This fallacy was very strange to see, considering that there was no attempt to hide the fact that propagandistic manipulation was taking place. This is not to take political sides or to promote any false political duality, but to reveal the fact that certain financial interests, instead of using the strength of their argument to speak for themselves, they use the face of fictitious comic book characters. As we may remember, the failure of these particular financial endeavors was just as visible as their attempt.
We might keep in mind that just because a celebrity is speaking does not always mean that the celebrity fallacy is being used. It is only when we see big budget productions such as commercials or large political productions that include celebrity speeches that we can be fairly certain the tactic is fallacious.
The Obvious Modern Propaganda
The positive side about modern propaganda is that it is easy to spot. In past decades, propagandists were subtle and tactful in their use of their tactics. There was an art to propaganda of the past—a certain knowledge shown within each underlying message (though still devious and dishonest). Not so with today’s propaganda.
In modern times, propaganda is so blatant and obvious that it no longer has the effect it once did. In modern propaganda, there seems to be no tact, no subtlety, and no real knowledge of progressive human psychology at all.
Time after time, we see propaganda used from decades past with no layering, no believability and no knowledge that the audience receiving this propaganda have changed completely. We are no longer asleep and are no longer gullible enough to succumb to such manipulation (though there are exceptions within society). We are no longer sitting idle and allowing wealthy, self-interested manipulators to call the shots in our world. We have no reason to.
It is easy to see the celebrity propaganda used in modern times. We have seen this fallacy used the entire year of 2017, and each time it appears, it seems to be promoting the same financial interests. Again, this is not to take sides or to promote any political party, but simply to acknowledge the interests who most often use celebrity propaganda to make extremely weak points.
The method of most celebrity propaganda is simple. First, wealthy elitists pay and persuade (or possibly brainwash) celebrities to put on some type of public spectacle (usually outrageous) to get attention. At the same time, the elitists use their control over corporate media to make the outrageous act as visible as possible. These elitists then set up some type of photo op, public forum, or television appearance for the celebrity to deliver the intended message to the public. To add, in modern times, it seems often that the political messages of celebrities completely contradict their behavior in their personal lives.
The above is the exact formula used to promote Hillary Clinton using Miley Cyrus as a spokesperson. The political message of Cyrus just seems out of place and seems to clash with virtually everything that Cyrus has done in the past few years. Sadly, it appears that Cyrus has done everything she can to embarrass herself or to rub society the wrong way. Yet now, the people are expected to look up to her as a political spokesperson?
This is not to judge Ms. Cyrus at all, but simply to make the point that propagandists seem to have stopped thinking about the details of their intended messages. It is as though they have become so consumed in proving some point or pushing their agenda that there is little left of the believability their messages once had. It seems that to a great extent, these propagandists have lost their touch.
We review this example of propaganda due to its combining of two different fallacies. These are the fallacies of celebrities and of appealing to emotion. The emotional appeal is discussed in another article, but for now, let’s keep an important point in mind. That is, whenever we see the face of a celebrity and they are attempting to push a political or corporate message of some kind, it is important to assess the value of the message itself and to ignore the voice speaking it. In this way, we can overcome the temptation to cave to manipulative tactics.
As things stand, there could be no better example of celebrity propaganda than we currently see in media at present. The subject of Pizzagate/Pedogate has been one of major public attention, despite the efforts of the corporate media, large platforms of social media, and various entertainment personalities attempting to dissuade the public from learning about it.
Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Redditt have done virtually everything in their power to prevent their users from learning the truth of John Podesta’s emails, the dark dealings of the Clinton Foundation in Haiti, and of the regularity of sexual slavery behind the glamor of Hollywood. As it turns out, the media seems to have found a new way to deter the public from learning the truth of child trafficking and slavery around the world. In these antics, the corporate media actually uses a combination of fallacies to promote their propaganda.
Consider all of the celebrities who have made questionable claims of being victims of sexual assault. Now compare the media spectacles we’ve recently witnessed to the actual number of celebrities who report pursuing legal action against those they claim assaulted them. Now let’s consider the fact that for the most part, it is only other actors who have been named as supposed sex offenders in Hollywood.
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There are no true elitists being outed besides Anthony Weinstein. This strongly suggests that we are not actually witnessing change of any kind with regard to ending child trafficking and elitist pedophilia in America. It seems that all we are seeing is another star-studded performance by Hollywood entertainment to distract from the real issue. It seems more likely that these actors are simply putting on another performance as they have been payed so much to do since their carriers began. (However, this is not to say that there are not real and actual victims behind many of these claims.)
In this way, the corporate media has created a straw man out of the true problem of elitist pedophilia. Simply put, they have chosen to throw several celebrities under the bus for what seems to be an attempts at saving those who are truly responsible for child trafficking and elitist pedophilia.
The true issues implicate government leaders and heavy-hitting financial establishments. Even though Hollywood is portrayed as the elitist class, these actors are little more than servants of those who have payed their way to stardom. In truth, under the current status quo, actors and singers have no real power in the world. Yet because these are the faces the public knows more than those who have actual power, these actors are commonly paraded around instead of elitists so that that true elitists can escape public attention.
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