Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't look at this, look over there!

Despite a general condemnation from both sides of the aisle of Missouri Rep. Todd Akin for his asinine comments about rape and pregnancy, a few have stepped forward to defend Akin. Because Akin's comments were so objectively wrong, defenders must resort to fallacious arguments in order to provide cover for him. The favorite of these individuals is the Red Herring, which in this case amounts to an attempt to distract attention from what Akin said by introducing an unrelated element into the conversation. As a case in point, here is the comment from Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit:
BY THE TIME I NOTICED THIS STORY, IT WAS OVER, but Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remarks pale in comparison with Whoopi Goldberg’s.
UPDATE: Here’s the Whoopi Goldberg “Rape-Rape” Video.
So, According to Reynolds, we should give a sitting member of Congress and a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology a pass for his comments because two years ago a talk show house said something equally dumb (Yes, Goldberg's comments were dumb, but certainly no dumber than what Rep. Akin said, check for yourself). This is a great example of a red herring as we can clearly see Reynolds attempting to side-track the discussion by introducing an unrelated element into the conversation.

Similiarly, CNN pundits Dana Loesch and Erik Erikson committed Red Herrings of their own in defense of Akin with Loesch tweeting:
And Erickson tweeting:
In both cases, they are committing Red Herrings by trying to distract people from the comment Akin made by introducing a discussion of an unrelated issue. One might still decide to vote for Akin over McCaskill despite his idiotic comments, but neither of the points made are at all relevant to the question of of the truth or falsity of what Akin said.

h/t to Digby

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