Posts Tagged With: ad hominem fallacy

The Problem with Snopes.com

By Adam Zens

There appears to be another dubious debunking from Snopes.com recently regarding the president’s speaking schedule. It sounds like “hair-splitting” when you call it “false” that the president’s cancellation of speeches on behalf of Hillary are necessarily related to her recent FBI probe. Snopes really has to do a better job than this when their own credibility as a debunker of popular mythology is at stake.

Here is the “snopes” story about the president canceling all speaking appearances for Hillary:

http://www.snopes.com/white-house-cancels-all-obama-appearances/

Yes, Snopes has done its homework with regard to the alarmist statement that was issued by Hal Leonard. However, they could not simply leave the clarification at a factual nature. No, they had to throw a “sucker punch” and try to discredit Leonard’s character through an ad hominem attack. This man is a crazed lunatic, they tell us, a deranged threatener of judges who feeds off conspiracy theories. How could we possibly given any credence to that source?

Problem is that this source which snopes is refuting is putting two and two together. Snopes isolates the FBI announcement that they are reinvestigating Clinton’s emails from the cancellation that Obama makes in his speaking schedule. Note: Obama did not cancel *all* of his speaking engagements on behalf of Hillary Clinton which technically falsifies Leonard’s claim. Yet snopes acknowledges that Obama is changing his speaking tour and that cancellations have been made. Thus, when the issue is dissected and the investigation of Hillary is understood in total isolation, of course, Obama’s cancellations are entirely without significance. But the fact that Obama’s speaking schedule quietly changes about the time that the Director of the FBI issues a memo that Hillary’s insecure emails are now being reopened in connection with another matter would certainly cause one to wonder if the two should be taken as entirely separate from each other.¬† Whether Obama believes that she would make a fit candidate for office or whether he is recommending her as a “lesser evil” than Trump remains to be seen. But why would he change his schedule about the time that Wikileaks exposed Comey’s new letter requesting a fresh investigation to sort through new emails sent in connection with the Clinton campaign.

The problem with Snopes.com is not confined to partisan or ideological boundaries, either. Recently, they attempted to expose the progressive cause of expanding ballot access for voters in Wisconsin by challenging the contention of magazine, The Nation. Reporter Ari Berman wrote a piece linking the limitation of ballot access to University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students during the April primary this year with the suggestion made by a city clerk that placing an early voting location on or near the campus might favor the Democratic vote. The less than helpful response from Snopes is to rate the claim “false” that there is proof that voter suppression was directed along partisan lines. In fact, the other concerns, such as the budgetary feasibility of installing a new early voting location, could have played a role as well as the state law requiring that one party not be favored over another. In this case, Snopes seems to avoid the relevant evidence reported by the Nation that an observed relationship existed in April when students at UW-GB were denied voter access due to long lines. Additionally, it is committing the “straw man” fallacy by acting as though there is “proof” of partisan voter suppression. That is not the claim being made. Scott Ross, of OneWisconsinNow, explains in an email that the real advocacy is about
[C]alling on Green Bay to do the right thing and take steps to make sure voters on campus aren’t left out in the cold¬†

– or standing in long lines on Election Day like they were this past April.

It’s truly difficult to debunk a claim that does not exist. Whether it is engaging in ad hominem attacks to make certain claims about the Clinton email scandal seem even more outrageous or exaggerated or whether it is mischaracterizing the claims being made by progressive organizations, Snopes needs to combine sound, logical reasoning with its fact-checking.

voting-in-wisconsin-ii

Audiobook Nook

Speaking of voter suppression, whether real or merely presumed, have the new Voter ID laws really prevented voter fraud? Or have they merely placed one more barrier between the U.S. citizen and the voting booth? Without taking sides for or against Voter ID laws, Professor Eric Kasper explains what’s going on with the status of the Wisconsin law since it has been contested in the court system. Eric is a great guy and professor and has several published works including Don’t Stop Thinking about the Music which analyzes the impact of popular music used upon presidential campaigns.

Philosophical author, J.M. Kuczynski, has recently published another audio book and this one has to do with the Theory of Measurement. Along with presenting a defense of comparable unit lengths as standards of measurement, the author discusses conventionalism and alternative theories which have made their way into the literature. J.M.’s work on Quine’s assessment of the Analytic-Synthetic distinction raises several points of contention against the implications of hyper-empiricism which are self-defeating.

How does Yahweh define Himself in the Old Testament? Find out more in the Names of God written by Chris Adkins.

 

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