17 Apr Poisoning the Well – FT#23
Poisoning the Well is a kind of Ad Hominem fallacy where the attack on the person making a claim happens in advance.
By attributing negative traits to someone before they even have the chance to make their argument, the well poisoner primes the listener not to believe what they are about to hear. As it does not seek to address the actual argument at all, this reasoning is fallacious.
We started out with this from the Donald:
Then we talked about his desperate attempts to smear Mueller and his team.
In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about Theresa May turning on her own MPs before they turned on her:
And then we talked about Iain Duncan Smith calling Jeremy Corbyn a Marxist who supports Maduro:
In the Fallacy in the Wild, we talked about this clip from Mean Girls:
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game, all of which were from Trump’s insane, rambling CPAC speech:
1) Since the founding of our nation, many of our greatest strides — from gaining our independence, to abolition of civil rights, to extending the vote for women — have been led by people of faith and started in prayer.
2) Democrats won’t stop until your taxes are higher, our borders are torn down, and illegal immigrants are allowed to vote — because that’s really what they want in the end — but neither will we.
3) We need to get rid of chain migration, we need to get rid of catch and release and Visa Lottery and we have to do something about asylum and to be honest with you have to get rid of judges.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it right this week, so he’s now on 36%.
And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about, because there’s been such a lot of news!
- Trump met with Border Patrol agents in Calexico last week, where he had a message specifically for those seeking political asylum in the US: ‘Bring me your tired, you poor, your huddled masses, yearning..’ no, wait, that’s the wrong quote. He said ‘We’re full. Our country’s full. Can’t come in.’ After urging agents, on camera, to violate international law, he allegedly told them behind the scenes to defy any judges that ‘gave them any trouble’. After Trump left the room, agents asked their leaders for advice, and were told they should follow the law, instead of the President’s instructions. On the same trip, according to CNN, Trump told CBP commissioner Kevin McAleenan to close the border and told him he “would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying US entry to migrants.”
- So Kirstjen Nielsen, whose legacy will be the most heartless and lawbreaking immigration policy the US has known in at least 70 years, wasn’t heartless and lawbreaky enough for Donald Trump, who accepted her resignation Sunday evening so he can move immigration policy in “a tougher direction.” Ooo..kay tougher than separating families?, putting kids in cages?, enacting a policy that a Quinnipiac poll in June 2018 found 66 percent of respondents are against? Have no sympathy for her saying how “she did her best” in “difficult circumstances” – it’s the humans on the border we need to worry about, and I quote Lady Liberty herself those “huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”
- The Washington Post uncovered evidence of a Trump administration plan to release illegal immigrants into sanctuary cities as retaliation against Trump’s political rivals. The White House initially said that the idea had been floated and rejected but as usual, Trump took a giant shit on the official response and announced that he was totally thinking about doing it, saying “we’ll give them an unlimited supply. Let’s see if they have open arms”. Aside from the fact that promising immigrants free trips to New York, Chicago and San Francisco probably won’t discourage them, Trump probably didn’t expect the positive reactions from multiple mayors such as Philadelphia’s Jim Kenney, who said “The city would be prepared to welcome these immigrants just as we have embraced our immigrant communities for decades.”
- On Apr 11th Trump tweeted out a screencap from Lou Dobbs’s Fox Business show purportedly showing his approval rating in a Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service national survey at a robust 55 percent. But it is actually fake news – Fox Business Network themselves say so issuing an on-air correction later that day acknowledging that Dobbs’ coverage of the poll “was not entirely accurate.” No shit – in THE SAME poll 49 percent said Trump has the wrong approach on many issues, 58 percent disapprove on how he handles healthcare, 57 percent said they think “it’s time to give a new person a chance” in the 2020 presidential election. Keen on not perpetuating fake news, Trump of course left the tweet up!
- It’s three weeks since Attorney General William Barr cherry picked – sorry, summarised the Mueller report, and word came through today that the redacted report will be released to the public on Thursday morning. Will it be a nothingburger? Well, the New York Times reported last week that several members of Mueller’s team felt that Barr ‘did not adequately portray their findings’, adding that the evidence they uncovered of obstruction was ‘alarming and significant’. They also revealed that the report had been prepared with summaries of each section which were designed to be released immediately to the public and would require very little, if any, redaction. I bet Trump’s really looking forward to Thursday and the world finally seeing just how totally exonerated he is.
- Ever wish you didn’t have to do math? Smart-Cookie-in-Chief Sarah Sanders is saving us that nightmare saying “I don’t think Congress, particularly this group of congressmen and women, are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume President Trump’s taxes will be, I certainly don’t trust them to look through the decades of success the president’s had and determine anything.” well certainly not determining success I would suggest! Her argument seems to be that they don’t do their own taxes, presumably they get people to do them, therefore they can’t judge them – well d’uh you’d get the people who do do taxes to look at them, like the auditors that have been supposedly looking at Trump’s for him in the two years since he got elected, cos you KNOW he can’t determine anything himself!
- The latest indictment to come out of the Russia investigation has confused Republicans, who really want to be excited about the opportunity to mention Obama in the same sentence as a criminal. Freeze-dried Skeletor doll Kellyanne Conway got a little too excited and tweeted ‘Finally! White House official indicted in connection with Mueller investigation!’. Of course, Twitter was quick to remind Kellyanne about the existence of Michael Flynn. All the excitement is about Gregory Craig, who was indeed Obama’s White House counsel from 2009 to 2010. The thing is, he’s being charged with making false statements to investigators about work he did for Ukrainian officials two years after he left the White House. By that time, he was working with someone called Paul Manafort. You remember him. He’s the convicted felon who ran Trump’s election campaign.
- French President Emmanuel Macron was Trump’s guest on a visit to Mount Vernon in Virginia, which if you didn’t know, is the former home of George Washington. Trump was puzzled as to why Washington didn’t name any of his property after himself cos “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.” This from the man occupying The White House up the road in WASHINGTON the capital City of the United States which admittedly isn’t in the State of Washington but even so! Even former President George W. Bush consumed several presidential biographies while in office, presumably upside down and in picture book form, but Trump’s lack of interest in presidential history, said historian Jon Meacham, means that he has “basically thrown out the one data set available to him. We don’t have anything else to study. It’s all you got.” A bit like being a property developer without having ever read about how to do it or being a CEO without studying other CEO’s 7 successful habits – errr oh!
See you all next time!