Fallacies, and Propaganda

Rhetori cal Strategi es A mistaken belief, especially one based on an unsound argument

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Rhetorical Strategies, Fallacies, and Propaganda




A mistaken belief, especially one based on an unsound argument.

PropagandaInformation, especially of a biased

or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular

political or point of view.

Bandwagon• Inviting the public to do what everybody else is doing.

Card Stacking

Card Stacking omits factual details in order to misrepresent a product,

idea, or cause. Card stacking intentionally gives only part of the

truth. For example, a commercial for a snack food labels the snack “low in

fat,” which suggests that it is healthier and lower in calories than a

product that is not low in fat. However, the commercial does not mention that the snack is loaded

with sugar and calories.

Cause and Effect

Using the idea because of one event happens another must also happen. The use of a product is credited for creating a positive result.

Circular Reasoning (Begging the Question)Circular Reasoning (also known as begging the question) restates the point of an argument as the support and the conclusion.

Comparison & Contrast

The audience is led to believe one item or choice is better than another, although no real proof is offered.

Deductive Reasoning/False Cause (Post Hoc)

“Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one.” The fallacy lies in coming to a conclusion based solely on the order of events, rather than taking into account other factors that might rule out the connection.

Either – Or (Also known as the black-and-white fallacy)

Assumes that only two sides of an issue exist. Either-or offers a false dilemma because more than two options are usually available.

Exaggerated Situations

Using exaggeration to convince.

False Comparison (false analogy)

Assumes that two things are similar when they are not. This fallacy is also known as a false analogy. An analogy is a point-by-point comparison that is used to explain an unfamiliar concept by comparing it to a more familiar one.

Fear/Shock Appeal

Presenting a dreaded circumstance then following up with a kind of behavior

needed to avoid the horrible event.


Complimenting someone to get what you want.

Grass Roots

The grass roots or “plain folks appeal” uses irrelevant details to build trust based on commonly shared values. Many people distrust the wealthy and powerful, such as

politicians and the heads of large corporations. Many assume that the

wealthy and powerful cannot relate to the everyday concerns of plain people.

Therefore, the person or organization of power puts forth an image to which

everyday people can more easily relate.

Loaded/Emotional Words

Using words that make the audience feel

strongly (positively or negatively) about

someone or something

Name Calling/Personal Attack

Negative words are used to create an unfavorable opinion of the competition in the audience’s mind. Also known as

an ad hominem attack, a personal attack attempts to discredit the point by discrediting the person making the



A product name or a keyword/phrase is repeated

several time to get the audience’s attention.

Rhetorical Question

Asking a question to prove a point. The question usually

doesn’t require an answer.


Using numbers to convince (real or



Using prejudiced thinking to get


TestimonialTestimonials use irrelevant

personal opinions to support a product, idea, or cause. Most

often the testimonial is provided by a celebrity whose only

qualification as a spokesperson is fame.


Transfer creates an association between a

product, idea, or cause with a symbol

or image that has positive or negative


The Wrigley's gum commercials and ads are good examples of transfer propaganda. This picture from www.juliannehough.com The commercials use clips of songs by famous musicians and show those musicians dancing around, showing off the product, and having a good time. It projects the image that you will be really happy and have fun while chewing any Wrigley's gum product.