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Grossmont College Chapter 5 Module 3 Fallacies in Politics Discussion 1

Module 3: Discussion 1, Chapter 5: Fallacies in Politics

Module 3: Discussion One, Watch at least two of these videos:

Please watch these video on informal fallacies and discuss these questions. Requires and initial post and two responses to classmates.  Links appear below and in “Files”.

  • Were there fallacies that you, yourself, would  have spotted or would not have spotted?
  • Were there fallacies beyond the ones we studied?
  • Is the average person and other individuals at all aware of how prevalent informal fallacies are, and their power to persuade?

Fallacies in Hillary Clinton’s anti-Trump speech PT. 1


For this particular discussion, I reviewed Hilary Clinton’s Anti-Trump Speech and the Fallacy Examples video. Having been exposed to how divisive American political candor can be, I purposely viewed Hilary Clinton’s speech since it was critiquing a candidate I would support myself. Many of the informal fallacies observed were appeals that I would readily recognize, such as appeals to emotion, tradition, and the people. These fallacies seem to be commonplace amongst nearly all political speeches in the modern era. Fallacies that I may not have recognized immediately include moral high ground, poisoning the well, and if-by-whiskey. Their usage was subtle and, again, seem ordinary in the political landscape we live in now. It was surprising to see that nearly every other sentence spoken contained at least one fallacy.

There were many fallacies noted in the speech that I did not recognize from our studies. These included the following:

-Appeal to the Stone.

-Poisoning the Well.

-Argument from Incredulity.

-Appeal to Ridicule

-False Attribution

-Appeal to Accomplishment

-Moral High Ground


Personally, I don’t believe the average individual is aware of how prevalent fallacies are and the role they play in persuading the public. As I noted before, many may recognize certain phrases as being manipulative without realizing they are informal fallacies. More importantly, one’s bias towards the presenter may cloud our judgement regarding whether we are being given information loaded with fallacies. The average person may think a person they are already negatively predisposed towards is full of fallacies and double-talk, while excusing the words of somebody they like or support.


1. There are certainly fallacies that I would have spotted, especially in the advertisements, because I suppose I already expect them to be present there, and therefore actively process them in a way that reveals the fallacies. There are also plenty I would not have spotted especially in the political speeches. They go by very quickly in some instances, and there are even multiple at a time, which makes it very difficult to spot them. Also, there are just fallacies I was not aware of beforehand that I am aware of now.

2. I would say there are. The videos make reference to the different types of fallacies that show up, and there are ones brought up that we did not go over (although of course they could also just be referred to with a different name in this case). These include poisoning the well, presupposition, and appeal to accomplishment.

3. I would say that the average person is not aware of how prevalent informal fallacies are in everyday life, or their power to persuade. Part of that is just a lack of education and information, most people will probably never learn about specific fallacies which would help them to spot them. Also, the power to persuade is probably underestimated by those who think that things such as advertisements don’t persuade them, when in reality informal fallacies do in fact impact them at some level.


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