Use of Authority and Appeal To Emotion In One Convenient Opinion Piece

Ruben Orduz
Aug 19 · 2 min read

Recently while browsing the news I bumped upon Tara C. Smith’s opinion piece on NBC News’ THINK. As I read through the article I sincerely could not believe my eyes. Why would a scholar who knows well how science and logic work, would lower herself to this fallacious rhetoric? First and more prominently, she uses her ample academic credentials to establish authority. The problem is she knows little to nothing about the cruise industry and she’s making a very damning argument against it. She then goes on a scare-mongering tirade with very little basis on empirical data. Finally after “handpicking” data that fits her argument and that data being weak at best, she then throws up/vomits every possible causes of death or illness possible while on board a cruise ship.

The author conveniently didn’t dig into the CDC records breaking down the data by illness, cruise line, region, etc. For example Disney Cruise Line, which was the main target of this so-called article, has an impeccable record in terms of health inspections. With a few exceptions, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines also have an excellent record in terms of passenger illnesses on board.

It’s disheartening seeing this sort of reckless use of a “soap box” in order to put forth biased opinions which would otherwise be ignored were it not for the fact that the person who wrote it is a scholar.

Full disclaimer: I don’t know any financial interests in any cruise line, I’m in no way directly or indirectly connected with the industry or any of the cruise line herein. I work in the tech sector and have no interest on the outcome one way or the other.

Ruben Orduz

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Developer, hi-fi audio enthusiast, FOSS commentator.