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Emotional Fallacies


Manipulate you; go against logic and ethics


1.  Ad Hominem (“against the man”):  Slandering a person; “Claiming that irrelevant personal qualities should be considered reason to qualify or disqualify an individual for a particular office, position, honor or role” (Stanford 61) 

·       Using President Bush’s dishonesty over his service to our country

·       Using Bill Clinton’s infidelity


2.  Straw Man:  Directing unsubstantiated charges against somebody, especially to cast a shadow over his name even after he is found innocent

3.  Bandwagon:  Implying that because a majority is doing something, it is justified

·       If we allow developing countries to pollute more, we should allow everyone to do so.

·       “Everyone else was going 80!”


The Bandwagon Approach


4.  Ad Populum (“Plain Folk”):  Appealing to a certain group by acting as if you are one of them.

·       Hillary Clinton drinking a beer and taking a shot of whiskey when on the campaign trail.


 hillary clinton indiana beer bitter





5.  Status Appeal:  Appealing to the reader’s desire to be beautiful, powerful, respected

·       Jesus selling items in the parlor

·       Expensive brand names


6.  Scare Tactics:  Scaring the reader into action

·       Billboard re: a smoker’s lung

·       Showing pictures of mangled cars



7.  Testimonial/Improper Appeal to Authority:  Having a well—known figure support something, even though s/he is not really qualified to talk about it

·       Sally Fields and Boniva

·       A “Dr.” from TV promoting a drug/treatment

·       Martin Sheen’s auto-dial message encouraging people to support certain candidates     


8.  Glittering Generality:  Using phrases that sound good but lack clear definition or substance

·       You’re in good hands with Allstate.

·       Beef.  It’s what’s for dinner.*KwMwGl4dpiKbbVvM9vWCvvrXqdQWXT79G*DFG9/JustDoItv3.jpg