29 Mar Appeal to Flattery – FT#45
The Appeal to Flattery Fallacy is committed when someone uses flattery in the place of an argument when convincing someone to accept their point of view.
We started out with this Trump tweet about A$AP Rocky:
Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky’s incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2019
Then we looked at this clip of Trump telling his supporters how smart they are:
In Mark’s British Politics Corner, Mark talked about this clip of Boris thanking people for voting Conservative:
And then we talked about Boris’s own father claiming that uncooperative crusties’ (Boris’s term for extinction rebellion protesters) is actually a compliment:
In the Fallacy in the Wild, we looked at this old L’Oreal ad:
Then we discussed this clip from South Park:
Finally, we talked about H.G. Wells’ book “Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books”
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, how do you know so much about this? Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for President.
- Over the last long period of time, when people have the flu, you have an average of 36,000 people dying. I never heard those numbers. I would have been shocked. I would have said does anybody die from the flu? I didn’t know people died from the flu. 36,000 people died.
- We’re going to have a vaccine and really we’re going to have it done very quickly and the whole world is relying on us. It’s going to be a beautiful vaccine — of course, it takes time to get it approved and make sure it’s safe but we’re going to see what we can do about speeding that up.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it right this week, so now he’s on 18/45, or 40%.
This week’s sponsor was Escape the Crate, a subscription box where you can do an escape room in your own home! Click here to sign up!
Then Jim talked to Simon Chadwick, author of For the People: A Citizen’s Manifesto for Shaping Our Nation’s Future, You can find out more about Simon on his website and get his book from Amazon:
And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about:
- Shocking nobody nowhere, Trump continued to lie about and downplay the coronavirus last week, at various points likening it to the flu again, suggesting on Fox that many people who get it are fine still going to work, and even blaming Obama, saying “the Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing. And we undid that decision a few days ago”. Nobody knows what he was talking about. Factcheck.org reached out to the FDA, the CDC and the White House and got no response, and the experts who would speak to them said there was no such decision. Peak Trump, though happened during his aforementioned visit to the CDC, when he blithely announced that his personal preference would be to leave American citizens on the cruise ship The Diamond Princess because letting them off the ship would make the US infection numbers look worse.
- Surely what you need in a crisis – especially a health crisis is trusted, accurate accessible information – hmmm from the White House? Well, Reuters ran reports from government officials that staffers without high-security clearances were excluded from the coronavirus response meetings held by the Department of Health and Human Services as they took place in classified rooms, even the virtual video conference ones. Of course if the information’s classified then it doesn’t get beyond the select bunch who have clearance, and given the bunch who have clearance aren’t at all qualified to run the country let alone deal with an global health crisis this very possibly slowed down the Trump administration’s response. Maybe it’s a bit naughty of Reuters to poke the grumpy bear like that by pointing this out cos he’s just gonna spend a lot of time roaring about how its fake news that and he’s not being inaccurate or opaque and “ner I’m the President”, rather than out fixing things – actually yeah that’s probably for the best – good work Reuters!
- At the height of the Administration’s denial that anything was really wrong, large numbers of Republicans gathered together in a room at CPAC – the Conservative Political Action Conference. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s now former Chief of Staff, told conference attendees that the only reason the coronavirus was even in the news was because Democrats thought it would bring down the President. Days later, when an attendee tested positive for coronavirus, several prominent Republicans announced they were going into self-quarantine for a couple of weeks, including Ted Cruz, Doug Collins, and body language expert Paul Gosar, who immediately went insane and tweeted that he’d rather die gloriously in battle than from a virus. The final quarantined representative was noted drunkard and desperate attention seeker Matt Gaetz, who only a week before had mocked people’s concern by wearing a full gas mask on the House floor during the vote on appropriations for combatting the virus. After karma caught up to him and smacked him in his oh so smackable face, his team announced on Twitter that “Congressman Gaetz had expected COVID-19 to impact Congress, given the elevated frequency of travel and human contact, and demonstrated his concern last week on the House Floor.”
- Democrat Representative Katie Porter reminded CDC director Robert Redfield probably nothing short of the modern application of the Hippocratic Oath recently when she totted up at a House hearing the cost of getting tested for coronavirus – about 4 grand per household. She then simply asked Redfield “Do you want to know who has the coronavirus and who doesn’t?” “Yes,” Redfield replied. “Not just rich people, but everybody who might have the virus?” Porter asked. “All of America,” Redfield replied. But it took her 3 goes to get Redfield to “commit, right now, to using the authority that you have, vested in you, under law, that provides in a public health emergency for testing, treatment, exams, isolation, without cost, yes or no?” All he had to do was say yes – Porter pointed out he didn’t have to do any work other than that. Finally he relented – I can’t believe that’s the right word even! – topped giving “thoughts and prayers” non-answers and said yes. “Which as Porter said is indeed “Excellent!” – “Everybody in America hear that? You are eligible to go get tested for coronavirus and have that covered, regardless of insurance.” there you have it people a victory for the 99% – not be sneezed at!
- Finally, as the number of cases rose exponentially even in the absence of proper testing, Trump seemed to get the idea that bullshit can only take you so far when people are dying, and he addressed the nation on Wednesday from the Oval Office. Without acknowledging that maybe this wasn’t quite like the flu, he announced that he was putting a 30 day ban on travel from Europe, including on goods and cargo. Despite the fact that this was poorly read aloud from words that had been written down for him and put on a teleprompter, presumably more than 30 seconds before he went on TV, what he said wasn’t actually what he meant, and Trump himself various agencies tweeted corrections quickly afterwards. The ban would not in fact cover goods and cargo, just people. And not all people – American citizens were still free to travel from Europe. Presumably because citizenship imbues you with some kind of immunity. Also, the ban wouldn’t cover all of Europe, only the places which don’t contain Trump golf courses – so the UK and Ireland are fine. Just hours before this recording, Trump held a press conference in the Rose Garden to declare a National Emergency which will free up billions of dollars to combat the virus, and give hospitals significant authority to do whatever they need to do to help patients. During the press conference Trump said “When America is tested, America rises to the occasion” If America actually manages to get tested, that is.
- Health and Finance Advisory expert Eric Trump woke up bright and early – well 11:30ish on Feb 28th and not particularly bright, then tweeted some deeply researched advice to his fiscally-minded followers – “In my opinion” Uh-oh “its a great time to buy stocks or into your 401K. I would be all in…let’s see if I’m right…” well we didn’t have to wait that long to find out – by the end of same day the Dow Jones plummeted 350 points yeah that’s about 25% – and wrong tool or not that’s a pretty accurate measure of how wrong a tool Eric is – as one person commented “Eric doesn’t understand the difference between, buy on the dip, and, buy some dip!” Needless to say Eric has implemented his own social distancing by deleting the tweet and blocking a whole bunch of followers. Also I’ve just noticed his twitter banner is a massively faked picture of the massively fake crowd at the inauguration and everyone of them is his frieeeeennndd!!
- In news which is both good, and not coronavirus related, paedophile judge Roy Moore has resoundingly lost the Alabama GOP senate primary because he’s a garbage person. Moore came a distant fourth in the race for Jeff Sessions’ old senate seat, and in other good news, Sessions also didn’t win his seat back, although his race isn’t over, because he’s now in a runoff with the fantastically named Tommy Tuberville.
- Over here Boris has appeared at a presser for the first time since calling an emergency cobra meeting about two weeks too late, and after his health minister herself tested positive for coronavirus. And what measures are his government implementing to protect his swathes of new voters? – oh and the rest of us – well given that we are probably 4 weeks behind where Italy are now, if we were China we could build 4 hospitals in that time, but no – he’s not yet implementing anything that might actually prevent the infection curve from sky-rocketing, but rather distracting us from the last 10 years of wilful underfunding of the Health Service by perpetuating the damn-fool Dunkirk spirit of Keep Calm and Carry On – go to school, we walked to school during the Blitz, go to work, go on the tube, we survived the Luftwaffe you know, but most importantly wash your hands whilt whistling God Save the Queen, and get to grips with the notion that you might lose some loved ones before their time. Yes he actually said that! If only someone, anyone, loved Boris then would that mean he’d go before his time? Yeah love him but don’t kiss him eh unless you have a new and continuous cough.
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!