Many logical fallacies can be identified in commercials and on television when we really take the time to look for them. Companies commonly use these tricks to advertise their product and attempt to make people believe it is greater than it is, or that you cant do without it.
False dilemma fallacy is the first one that comes to mind. This fallacy misleads by presenting complex issues with two vastly opposite sides. For example, commercials that claim if you don’t do this particular workout, then you’ll never get in shape. This fallacy is labeled as black and white fallacy by Baldwin, Bommer, Rubin (2013). A secondary example would be infomercials. When an infomercial is trying to sell you the greatest vacuum of all time, they tend to communicate in ways that demonstrate you can either buy this vacuum or have dirty floors for eternity. Using this fallacy, companies intentionally leave out crucial elements of information such as that your current vacuum works just fine, or that there are other options available for purchase.
Another fallacy commonly used is that of hasty generalization. This fallacy build a foundation on someone drawing expansive conclusions based on inadequate or insufficient evidence. In our society people see the example of one celebrity on a commercial and think that situation is how the outcome will be every single time. For example, one diet tip or workout plan can make everyone look like that celebrity. Another example was when Kylie Jenner made a negative comment about something that snapchat did, so snapchat stock dives 30% within a week because of how many people stopped using it. One individuals situation/opinion was able to completely determine the outcome of so many other people’s decisions, based off of a lack of information. This issue ultimately stems from thinking that our circumstances are constant across the board and demonstrates a close minded attitude. We can avoid this way of thinking by doing what Parrot (2009) says, that strong leaders understand subsequent issues are triggered from immediate conclusions.
Lastly is the texas sharpshooter fallacy. This fallacy commonly consists of cherry-picked data clusters to prove a point without looking at all of the facts to come up with an educated opinion. Guilty parties ignore evidence against their claims and solely communicate what supports them. For example football players have one good game and all of a sudden the entire city sees them as a savior and they are on every football commercial for an entire offseason. The next year when that player gets hurt or doesn’t play well then they disappear and were claimed to be a bust. Parrot (2009) says that all comprehensive processes must ensure that all issues are addressed by the end. Often times those that fall into this fallacy fail to evaluate all of the issues that should be addressed before jumping to conclusions.
Baldwin, T., Bommer, B. & Rubin, R. (2013). Managing organizational behavior: What great managers know and do (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill-Irwin.
Parrott, R. (2009). The longview: Lasting strategies for rising leaders. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook.
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