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Fallacies from Obama and McCain

by nbluedorn

Here are a few fallacies and propaganda techniques we found in recent campaign TV commercials.

Obama Ad “Seven?”

McCain Ad “Can Obama Lead?”

Both of these commercials use the technique of taking words out of context. Senator McCain’s comment that “. . . the fundamentals of our economy are strong . . .” is used to imply that McCain thinks the economy is healthy. In the second video, Senator Obama says he agrees with some of McCain’s statements, but this does not imply that he agrees with McCain’s positions on issues, and therefore is not a good leader. Both of these TV commercials take words out of context.

McCain Ad “Do You Know Enough about Obama?”

Obama Ad “McCain’s Spiritual Guide”

These two commercials use “guilt by association” which is a type of ad hominem fallacy. The candidate is shown next to someone we are told is bad. In both cases, it is not clear what relationship the candidate still has with this “bad person” and whether their friendship - if it is a friendship - will impact their ability to lead today.

Your Turn!

What propaganda technique is used in the following two commercials? This one should be easy!

McCain Ad “Man in the Arena”

Obama Ad “James Taylor for Obama”

Can you describe the techniques used in this commercial? What are they trying to get us to feel?

“I Am Joe”

To learn more about fallacies and propaganda techniques, visit

Copyright October 25, 2008, all rights reserved. 30404 views

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