In the above photo from a campaign rally in Ohio on August 14 it appears that Mitt Romney has garnered the support of the coal industry and its workers. He is surrounded by coal minors and the little sign affixed to his podium reinforces the support of these workers for the Romney campaign. However, if we dig a little deeper into the true story behind this image we can see that it is actually an elaborate lie. As broken by WWVA radio host David Blomquist, the workers at this campaign rally were actually forced by their employer to attend the event.
Now the employer in question, Murray Energy claims that no one was forced to attend the event. As quoted in The Raw Story, Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore said:
There were no workers that were forced to attend the event. We had managers that communicated to our work force that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event. We had a pre-registration list. And employees were asked to put their names on a pre-registration list because they could not get into the event unless they were pre-registered and had a name tag to enter the premises.
And this is an excellent example of the Appeal to Force. An Appeal to Force is a fallacy in which a threat or coercion is used to support a conclusion rather than a reasoned justification. In this case, we have employees being told that an event is mandatory, but no one is being forced to go. One might immediately ask, how can an event be mandatory but not forced? The distinction seems to be that no one dragged the coal miners there in chains, and in that sense it wasn't forced. However, when an employer tells an employee that an event is mandatory, that is a clear threat leveled at one's job. The employer was implying and the employees understood that failure to attend the event could result in the loss of a job, and in that sense, the workers were clearly forced to attend under threat of losing their jobs. Thus, the apparent support of coal miners for Romney was coerced via an Appeal to Force.
To add insult to injury, because the mine was closed that day, the coal minors were not paid, even though they were forced to attend a political rally. This is really shameful and disgusting behavior on the part of Murray Energy and Rob Moore.
h/t to Atrios