Rhetorical Question Fallacy – FT#47

Rhetorical Question Fallacy – FT#47

Show Notes

The Rhetorical Question Fallacy is a way of accusing people of something while appearing to be ‘just asking questions’. Often the questions being asked have already been debunked or already have a satisfactory answer.



We started out with this clip of Trump accusing healthcare workers of stealing PPE during a pandemic:

Then we looked at this tweet from Trump impugning the integrity of a federal judge:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about this exchange at the end of Boris and Jeremy’s ITV debate:

And then we talked about Nigel Farage’s disingenuous question about what this lockdown is really about:


Fallacy in the Wild

We looked at this clip of Glenn Beck just asking questions about John Brennan:

And we followed that up with these two clips from a South Park episode where Cartman does a spot on Glenn Beck impression:


Fake News

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:

  1. By the way, the models show hundreds of thousands of people are going to die. You know what I want to do? I want to come away under the models. The professionals did the models. I was never involved in a model — at least, this kind of a model. But you know what? Hundreds of thousands of people, they say, are going to die. I want much less than that. I want none, but it’s too late for that.
  2. I’ve asked two of the leading companies — these are brilliant companies. Ebola, AIDS, others. They’ve come with the solutions and just have done incredible jobs. And I’ve asked them to contact London immediately. They have offices in London. They’re major companies. But more than major, more than size, they’re genius. I had a talk with four of them today. And they speak a language that most people don’t even understand, but I understand something: that they’ve really advanced therapeutics and therapeutically, and they have arrived in London already.
  3. What we’re doing is we’re developing a self swab and the doctors, the brilliant doctors we have here, they’re seeing if the self swab is as good as the other kind of swab. The self swab is a self swab, so it’s a swab you do yourself. The current version a doctor has to do it and it’s not a nice thing to have done — I know because I had it done — so if you do it yourself with a self swab I think that will be better, personally

Click below for the answer

Mark got it right AGAIN this week, so now he’s on 19/47, or 40.4%.


This week’s sponsor was Hopheads, a subscription box where you get 12 bottles of beer sent straight to your house!  Click here to sign up!



Hydroxychloroquine is not a logical fallacy

Then we talked about why Trump is irresponsible for pushing hydroxychloriquine to treat coronavirus even if it turns out to be the best medicine.


The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about

  • Trump son-in-law and sad Victorian ghost Jared Kushner weighed in on one of the daily Trump rallies – sorry, press briefings last week to explain the purpose of the strategic national stockpile, saying “The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile, it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use.” While most of us tried to figure out who gets to use the masks and ventilators if not the states, whoever runs the Department of Health and Human Services website was busy updating it to remove the bits that directly contradicted what Kush just said.  Among the text removed was the suggestion that when “state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency”. Yeah, that kind of crazy socialist bullshit doesn’t belong on a federal government website!  
  • We all know how upsetting the numbers associated with coronavirus can be difficult to come to terms with let alone write about but not for TV Whore Trump – he loves them – the ratings that is – he tweeted twice on Tues the 29th March that his rating were as high as the season finale of The Bachelor and Monday night Football. And again on the Wednesday and Thursday and Friday – saying stuff like “Because the T.V. Ratings for the White House News Conference’s are the highest, the Opposition Party (Lamestream Media), the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats &, of course, the few remaining RINO’S, are doing everything in their power to disparage & end them. The People’s Voice!” As if the important thing was the pressers and not the scientific facts and government led response to ameliorate deaths and impoverishment and economy-crashing – The sensible grown-up people’s voice – the  Washington post was saying he really ought not to be participating in the briefings at all he’s so goddamn misleading – Like Penn distracting you away from what Teller is doing by being a clown as your watch gets removed. Still as long as Trump’s happy now that his stage envy of the spiky little virus dude has subsided that’s all that matters.
  • During one of Trump’s daily rallies – sorry, sorry, press briefings last week, the administration announced a projected death toll of 100 – 240,000 people in the US, which they compared to the worst case scenarios from Imperial College in the UK, which said if the US did nothing at all, it could see 1.1 – 2 million deaths.  Which surely suggests Trump’s re-election slogan will be Trump 2020 – Better Than Nothing. Which is still clearly false. Anyway, the White House was unwilling to say how they came about these numbers. One epidemiologist whose studies were cited says his work doesn’t go far enough to make those kinds of predictions, and even coronaguru Anthony Fauci said there are too many variables to model.  The closest scientific figures seem to be from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation from the University of Washington, but their figures were based on all states imposing strict stay-at-home orders, which some are still not doing. Yesterday, Fauci said we might be looking at 60,000 deaths instead, based on a new projection from the IHME, but when you actually look at the IHME website, the graph shows the margin of error, which runs from 26 – 155,000, which when you’re talking about people dying is a pretty fucking big margin of error if you ask me.
  • Just when we thought we could look forward to not having to look at the rectum-wrinkled presidential facehole for much longer cos of the white house sanctioned edict to wear masks against the possibility of catching or spreading coronavirus. Trump blithely says meh Its not for me – its voluntary I ain’t doing it I don’t want to meet kings, presidents and dictators wearing a mask. a) even Melania (we can still see your eyes over the mask Melania blink twice for “rescue me”) tweeted the advice coming from the CDC as measures to cut down transmission in crowded areas where social distancing was difficult, particularly as you may be infectious without displaying symptoms and b) no-one’s coming to see you Donnie, and no-one wants your pestilential, spittle-mouthed, loose-toothed satsuma rind phisog in their countries either. Oh and again it’s not about you its about leading by example – ah what’s the use – ‘snever gonna happen is it!
  • Among the various Republican Senators finding ways to profit off the coronapocalypse one stands out as particularly shitty.  Freshman Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler is on the Senate Health committee, and on January 24th, they got a private briefing about the seriousness of the coronavirus.  The same day, she and her husband started dumping stocks in various companies, and continued doing so throughout February, all while Trump and Loeffler herself were telling everyone it was all under control.  Loeffler sold more than $18 million of stocks, including retail stores such as TJ Maxx, before lockdowns were in place. She also sold stock in an international travel brand the day before Trump announced his European travel ban.  In fact, the only stocks Loeffler and her husband bought during this period were in Dupont, which makes PPE for healthcare workers, and Citrix, a technology company that makes teleconferencing software. Loefller denies insider trading and says that in order to move past the distraction, she and her husband will liquidate all their remaining stocks.  So, er, she’s going to keep all the money and that makes it OK. Yeah.
  • Trump got a bit mad at Chuck Shumer Senate Minority Leader oh and a Democrat you’ll remember, basically for being a democrat, and for suggesting that Peter Navarro might be replaced as coordinator of the Defense Production Act – cos well he’s no good at it! And of course when Trump gets angry he’s a bit like a Peanuts character – he sits on the floor at a small desk feet sticking up from his outstretched legs in front of him, puts his tongue out the corner of his mouth, grasps the biggest blackest crayon he can find and fires off a letter telling Shumer how many people have said Pence is doing a spectacular job (no they haven’t), and reminding Schumer how much stuff he has given New York “many things including hospitals, medical centers, medical supplies, record numbers of ventilators, and more.” and of course Schumer should just shut up and be grateful and not question the manner in which it has been given – late, hesitantly, with caveats and blame sprayed around cos its not being done right and making it all Schumer’s fault. It’s a letter one would write to someone who had embarrassed you in 7th grade saying how it was all their fault and you’re better than them so ner, and then never sending it but folding it up and tucking it in the back of your locker and looking at it whenever they walk by and sniggering as if just doing that would make them die. However Trump’s 7th grader scribbles will go into the grown ups world of the presidential archive, possibly unfolded, for future generations to gaze at in awe and ask “What did you do during the virus Grandpa.” I Voted Trump in again in November of that year son!!”
  • Brett Crozier, captain of the aircraft carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt, sent an email a couple of weeks ago.  Dozens of sailors on board had tested positive for coronavirus, and Crozier was worried that it would spread rapidly among the 5000 strong crew, which he thought might be bad.  Since the navy didn’t seem to want to do anything about it, and since his immediate superior wouldn’t have allowed a letter to be sent up the chain of command, Crozier emailed about 30 other navy aviators, and the email leaked to the press.  As of yesterday, 416 crew members had contracted the virus, and of course, Crozier was hailed by all as a hero… oh no, wait, the Navy relieved him of his duty and the acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly addressed the Roosevelt’s crew, calling Crozier either too naive or stupid to command a ship.  Some crew members recorded that, and put it on social media. Modly has since resigned, and Trump has, of course, backed Modly. Because that’s the world we’re living in.
  • Over here – our vainglorious leader Boris got the actual pox and was self-isolating next door to number 10 whilst deteriorating but still running the country via the internet – sound familiar America! But he didn’t get any better and for a while the country was conflicted about whether it would be good for the NHS if he died or if he recovered – if you just think about the office of prime minister then it is a terrifying prospect that that leader should die, but put Boris back in the frame and we-eeelll. His government seem to be surprised that they are able to continue without him saying he’ll pull through he’s a fighter and then turning quickly to a scientist to explain things.  Meanwhile the newly-trusted BBC broadcast the presenter of the late night news programme that Boris refused to appear on, saying how you can’t get well by grit and strength of character alone, the implication of such language being that if you get ill, don’t get better and die you are weak and deserve it, and that CoVid isn’t a great leveller – if you live in a crowded and poor area you are more likely to get it and die than if you are wealthy and get access to preferential treatment and testing and so on. Covid doesn’t discriminate – governments do.

That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!

Jim Cliff

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