| Comments 
| Category: John McCain
| 9/14/2008 9:00:46 PM CT
In spite of what you see...in the newspapers, and on shows like The View--I don't know if any of you saw The View yesterday, they picked our bones clean--in spite of what you see, that's not what the American people are saying and what they are believing....They are now seeing a clear difference with these candidates, and they are seeing who is going to make the best president, and that's why we're pulling ahead.-- Cindy McCain
Cindy's paradoxical rant on the media's sudden bias against her husband is one of the poorest pieces of persuasion I have ever seen. Period. In two sentences she manages to present two contradicting arguments that make no logical sense, and I literally mean no logical sense. I'm going to take a mathematical approach and destroy her logic. I'll start by looking at her first sentence. After I parse out her sixty-four references to The View and her repetition of "In spite of what you see" her statement essentially reads like this:
"People see things in newspapers and people driven TV shows but that's not reflective of what the American people are saying and what they are believing."
If I let the first portion that reads "People see things in newspapers and people driven TV shows" refer to the variable P and the second portion which reads "The American people are saying and what they are believing" as Q. The statement can then be mapped as follows:
P implies not Q:
"People see things in newspapers and people driven TV shows" which implies that "the American people are not saying [those same things] and that they are not believing them."
Here's where it gets wacky: using the idea of contrapostion the statement can be rewritten as Q implies the opposite of P and the statement should still be valid:
"The American people are saying [things] or they are believing [things]" implies that "people see [these same things] in newspapers and people driven TV shows."
Using a truth table for implication and going through the various possibilities for the previous statement we run into a fallacy. Cindy has worded her response so poorly that her argument essentially breaks down to "People can only believe things that are told to them by other people," which of course is not true. As an aside this perception seems to highlight the entire McCain campaign's strategy:
"Vote for McCain because I tell you to."
Her second erroneous statement boils down to a classic AND (&) structure in which all fragments must be true for the statement to be true, (A & B & C = true means that A, B and C must all be true). The breakdown goes like this:
A = "[The American people] are now seeing a clear difference with these candidates"
B = "[The American people] are seeing who is going to make the best president"
C = "we're pulling ahead."
This should be much easier than the prior result because I only have to disprove one statement. I've already disproved B based on the result of Cindy's first point so I'm essentially done. The easy refutation to B reads as follows:
If "[The American people] are seeing who is going to make the best president" then the media should also see who is going to make the best president. We know the media does not think John McCain will be the best president because shows like The View and newspapers are sticking it to him, as Cindy pointed out earlier. Therefore B invalids Cindy's second statement and serves to highlight the point that the McCain entourage has yet to realize that American people are represented in the American media.
The common thread running through all of this discussion is that the entire McCain campaign is devoid of logical thought.
Update: I had a bad equivalence relation that was not sound (as a commenter pointed out), but it didn't affect my fundamental argument. The erroneous statement was meant to serve as a segue between the math and the exact wording; but my attempt to increase comprehension in effect decreased the quality of my logic. The error has been fixed and hopefully my argument is now mathematically valid.
Cindy McCain's Fallacious Rebuttal
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