Logical fallacy in one of the popular media

This paper examines a logical fallacy in one of the popular media. The BBC (British Broadcasting Cooperative) was chosen as the popular media in this case http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/appeals/appeal-to-pity/. A logical fallacy is defined as a widespread error in reasoning (Bardone & Magnani, 2010). Such errors, in practice, undercut the logic of a statement. Fallacies are usually either unimportant points or improper arguments. They are often easily identifiable since they lack evidence to back up their claim.

This logical mistake involves an appeal to pity. In this case, the BBC says that pro-life activists have recently evolved a strategy aimed at capitalizing on appeals to pity strength. People are likely to be disgusted by the anti-abortion materials as a result of showing aborted fetuses’ images. In effect, these people will be turned against the abortion practices (Kreider, 2016).

Another glaring example of a logical fallacy is given by the article of BBC News (Floridi, 2008). “Graphic images of several people burned to death is shown to a US jury.” This incident occurred during the attack on the Pentagon on 11 September 2001. In this case, the jurors have to decide whether the plotter of the event, Zacharias Moussaoui should be jailed or executed. Hopefully, the prosecutors believe the jury will be persuaded by the emotional evidence to opt for the penalty of death.

Even though some of the potential audience may fail to notice the fallacy in such statements, the argument is fallacious. In fact, the emotional responses of the audience cannot always act as the best guide for truth. For example, emotions are likely to cloud instead of clarifying issues. Beliefs have to be based only upon reasons (Gracia, 2012).


Bardone, E., & Magnani, L. (2010). The appeal of gossiping fallacies and its eco-logical roots. Pragmatics and Cognition, 18(2), 365-396. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/pc.18.2.06bar

Floridi, L. (2008). Logical fallacies as informational shortcuts. Synthese, 167(2), 317-325. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11229-008-9410-y

Gracia, E. (2012). On the Power and Weakness of Rational Expectations: Logical Fallacies, Periodic Bubbles, and Business Cycles. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2087932

Kreider, A. (2016). Informal Fallacies as Abductive Inferences. Logic and Logical Philosophy. http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/llp.2016.001

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