When I think of fallacies and the arguments they encounter, my head immediately goes to those pesky commercials slamming politicians. As general election is fast approaching here in Wisconsin the mudslinging commercials are flooding in. There is a Lt. Governor by the name of Mandela Barnes (D) who is seen as the target in these commercials paid for by Senator Ron Johnson (R). The advertisement goes into explaining that Barnes needs to be taken out of office as he is single handedly destroying Wisconsin with his liberal behavior. The argument involving his liberal behavior has to do with the criminal justice side of politics. Johnson leads the common viewer to believe the following actions Barnes is taking is going to create Wisconsin into a huge criminal lawless land. One of Johnsons’ strong points in the argument claims that ONCE Barnes joins “The Squad”, a democratic group consisting of six women, one action will lead into another. Once this action supposedly happens, they will start to defund the police. Johnson backs this statement up by claiming that Milwaukee’s crime rate is up by almost 100 percent. After this claim, he moves on to say that Barnes wants to abolish ICE, open our borders to illegal immigrants, and eliminate cash bail for inmates. Again, these assumptions about Barnes were not backed up by evidence not elaborated on. Johnson ends the mudslinging campaign ad stating he approves this message.
There were several fallacies that I noticed in this quick thirty second smear ad. The biggest one included the “Slippery Slope” fallacy typically used in a lot of government positioned advertisements. This fallacy typically is used to claim an event that is going to happen, which then leads to another, and so forth. A snowball effect could be used as comparison. When Johnson claimed that Barnes was going to join “The Squad” composed of several well-known democratic women, it was going to lead to a few other key events involving crime, crime proceedings, and immigrants. Another prevalent fallacy would include the lack of evidence to support all of Johnsons’ claims about Barnes. The only “evidence” that appears in the ad is about Milwaukee crime rate jumping up almost 100%, but it wasn’t backed up by a source or elaborated into at all. If you were to read more into the political scheme of the ad, you could also say there is the fallacy of false dilemma. The only way this would be a fallacy is if the viewer knew about both parties involved and the actions they have taken to get to where they are today. It could be viewed as a two-option system, Johnson could be proclaiming that Barnes is a worser option than himself. There are many fallacies that one could find in a political campaign advertisement alone, politics are full of them. Aside from this mudsling ad about Barnes, Johnson has been known to create a multitude of them for anyone that runs for any political position in the state of Wisconsin.
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