Every day, the President gets up to debrief the country on the latest pandemic news. However, audiences quickly found that the briefings were not a source of credible information. In fact, they became fearmongering sessions full of outright lies and several fallacies.
For the teachers out there looking for a source on the fallacies the President commonly uses, look no further. This series will be updated throughout the pandemic, or until the adults start delivering the daily briefings to Americans.
Fallacies are statements created from a nugget of truth that manipulated to reach a false conclusion. Fallacies are not harmless, they do damage. Each fallacy here is divided to show the nugget of truth and the damage done by fallacy. For some, the damage from the President’s fallacies have been devastating.
The Red Herring
“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing. And we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion.”
In a March 6 briefing, Trump blamed the delays on his predecessor Barack Obama. It’s not the first time, but this time, the statement not only deflected blame from Trump, but it also gave hope that tests for coronavirus would become freely available.
The Truth: The truth in this fallacy is that Obama did try to push regulations on lab-developed tests like the one for the coronavirus. However, the regulations never passed, and even if they had, Trump could have overwritten them at any point without much difficulty. He’s already done so to several Obama era regulations. So, the one true part of this fallacy is a regulation that never passed.
The Damage: The New York Times recently detailed the reasons why the US official count of COVID-19 cases and deaths are understated. Among them is the lack of available tests for the virus. The story quoted doctors and even coroners who say they can’t determine if a death was coronavirus because they were denied a test upon request. There weren’t any available. We truly will not know just how many people have contracted the virus.