One of the ways to persuade your opponent in your rightness is to use the fallacies. The use of fallacies often results in misunderstanding. The use of fallacies is based on the rhetorical patterns that make the argument sound obscure and, in such way, the fallacies are often hard to identify.
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Sarah Palin is a “master of fallacies” in the interview with Katie Couric, as she based almost all her answers on particular fallacies and backed up her claims on illogical presentation of evidences and obscure facts. In this paper, we are going to describing the fallacies used in the Sarah Palin/Katie Couric interview (in particular, circular reasoning, slippery slop, flashy generalization, single cause effect, red herring oversimplification) and provide the evidences that they affected negatively on the arguments and made her answers unconvincing.
Thus, the fallacies which have been used are circular reasoning, slippery slop, flashy generalization, single cause effect, red herring oversimplification. While making use of these fallacies, Palin resorted to different Aristotle’s appeals to persuade the audience in the validity of her claims. In particular, she use the Ethos appeal when talking about Rick Davis:
“And I would hope that’s the case because, as John McCain has been saying, and as I’ve on a much more local level been also rallying against is the undue influence of lobbyists in public policy decisions being made” (Interview n. p.)
Furthermore, she also appealed to the audience’s emotion using pathos when talking about examples in John McCain’s 26 years of pushing for more regulation:
“I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today” (Interview n. p.)
However, she failed to use these appeals as her evidences were not supported by concrete examples.
In this two statements by Sarah Palin, we can see the samples of circular reasoning (the 1st one), as she tries to use lobbying efforts as part of her proof answering the question about Rick Daviss’ stake in the company. Oversimplification (second statement) as she resorts to American needs that are hardly related to the point of the question.
Furthermore, she uses flashy generalization: “The interesting thing in the last couple of days that I have seen is that Americans are waiting to see what John McCain will do on this proposal…” (Interview n. p.) In fact, this sample is not relevant to the question again and when asked to give some examples, she fails. The red herring can be seen when she talks about Great Depression and skips to the reforms on Wall Street. Pious fraud is noticeable in the phrase:
“That’s something that John McCain and I have both been discussing – whether that … is part of the solution or not. You know, it’s going to be a multi-faceted solution that has to be found here” (Interview n. p.)
Thus, many fallacies were used by Sarah Palin in the interview, however, her aim wasn’t achieved as her claims weren’t supported with convincing evidences and the logics of answers did not follow the logics of questions.
The problem of using fallacies lies in the fact that they should be used in the context of conversation and the speaker should understand the argument properly. As Palin did not manage to be convincing and she wasn’t ready enough to protect her position, she tried to use fallacies but did not succeed in this. Thus, her arguments sounded unconvincing and illogical.
“Interview with Sarah Palin” 24 Sept. 2008. Web.