Thursday, September 20, 2012

They're coming to cut your throat! And they have Korans!

On the September 18th edition of the Fox News show Your World with Neil Cavuto filmmaker Michael Lynch was interviewed about his new movie about illegal immigration. In the course of this interview Lynch commits a number of fallacies:

The most obvious fallacy is the use of Scare Tactics. Note that the video start with a news report about a prison break on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border. Cavuto and Lynch then imply that all 130 of these prisoners are extremely violent and that they are making a beeline for the US. Note as well that we are told nothing about the prisoners. For all we know they may all have committed the Mexican equivalent of white collar crimes and are non-violent offenders. Even assuming that they are violent offenders, there is no evidence that every single one of them (or any of them) will head to the US. For all we know these escaped prisoners may make an effort to reunite with their families in Mexico. Furthermore, it is even possible that some of the prisoners are US citizens. We have no idea, the report gives us no information, but tries to scare us and make us afraid of all the murderous violent immigrants who are heading are way.

Lynch then almost immediately invokes 9-11, attempting to draw a link between illegal immigrants snaking across the US-Mexico border and terrorism. At this point it is worth noting that none of the 9-11 hijackers entered the US this way. All of them exploited legal means of entry. This is clearly an example of a False Analogy, as it is wildly inappropriate to invoke 9-11 when discussing the status of the US-Mexico border. Lynch doubles-down on this false analogy when he claims that someone is finding Korans and prayer rugs in the middle of the desert. I have no idea if this claim is true, but I find it highly suspicious. If in fact Muslim terrorists were sneaking across the US-Mexico border, I doubt that they would be scattering their holy book across the middle of nowhere.

From this Lynch then employs another Scare Tactic, claiming that not everyone is coming to the US to cut your lawn, some of them are coming to cut your throat. Again, no evidence or statistics are provided for this claim, Lynch just asserts it with the obvious intention of scaring the Fox News viewers into buying his movie.

We then see a nice example of Inconsistency when Cavuto asks Lynch why immigrants are coming to the US and Lynch responds, "Jobs," thereby directly contradicting his earlier assertion that at least some of the immigrants were coming to commit murder.

Lynch then transitions to an Appeal to Authority citing a positive review from some Fox News celebrity as evidence that his movie is worthwhile and important.

Finally he concludes with the classic huckster's pitch claiming that he has secret information that "They" (whoever "they" are) don't want you to see. In this connection Lynch implies that there is some large-scale conspiracy devoted to suppressing the truths that he, as a normal, hard-working American, is trying to expose. In general, when someone cites a conspiracy as the reason why no one will show their movie, we need to seriously consider the possibility that no one will distribute or screen the film because it sucks, not because it reveals some uncomfortable truth.

h/t to Media Matters

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