(Article published by Do The Green Thing, October 2017)
Donald Trump’s ‘unpresidented‘ rise to power has seen an entire government administration built on logical fallacies.
Flawed arguments are wall-to-wall in the Trump era: Circular reasoning. Appeal to fear. Appeal to ignorance. OMG the ignorance.
Traditionally, it’s the responsibility of the fourth estate (the media) to save us from such rhetorical trickery. Trouble is, the media is so used to trafficking in logical fallacies of its own, that many journalists seemed incapable of inoculating themselves against Trump & Co’s uniquely dangerous word salad in the run-up to last year’s bombshell election.
In fact, the logical fallacy in the media that is partially responsible for electing current US President – and noted climate change denier – Donald J. Trump is the very same fallacy that has delayed action on climate change for decades: false equivalence.
False equivalence is what happens when two things are presented as if they share equal validity or weight, when in fact they don’t.
Take the 2016 US election as an example:
Donald had (has) the racism, the misogyny, the Islamophobia.
“BUT HER EMAILS,” the anchors squawked.
And when applied to the climate change discourse, false equivalence looks like this:
“Anthropogenic climate change is real,” agrees a global consensus of roughly 97%of scientists.
“BUT LET’S HEAR FROM THIS ONE OLD WHITE GUY WHO THINKS IT’S ALL A HOAX,” the news producers sputter.