Faulty Premises

In an example of both bad logic and a faulty premise, Bill Maher tries to distinguishes his demeaning of Sarah Palin from Rush Limbaugh’s demeaning of Sandra Fluke. First, I shall assume that Mr. Maher is unaware of the operational definition of a “public figure.” A public figure is one that injects himself or herself into the public discourse. It is true that Sarah Palin injected herself into the public discourse nearly four years ago. But it is equally true that Ms. fluke injected herself into the public discourse by choosing to testify before a Congressional hearing, complaining about her Catholic school’s refusal to support her admittedly promiscuous lifestyle. Oops, sorry, about the Catholic school’s unwillingness to pay for her contraceptives.

Second, there is no equivalency between Mr. Maher’s profane description of Ms. Palin and Mr. Limbaugh’s tamer, though equally repugnant, description of Ms. Fluke. Mr. Limbaugh’s used words that can be repeated, if anyone should so choose, while Mr. Maher used an expletive to describe Ms. Palin. By his own admission, as well, his expletive was “carefully planned,” while Mr. Limbaugh’s comment was, more or less, off the cuff. Mr. Maher planned to refer to Ms. Palin by an expletive, and did so to draw out a favorable reaction from his audience, while Mr. Limbaugh used a poor, and ill-advised, combination of words. Let me ask you, which is the more offensive to women, an off the cuff remark based on Ms. Fluke’s own testimony, or an uncalled for, unwarranted and highly planned expletive?

Both Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Maher made their comments to the public (in the sense that the statements were knowingly made to groups of people), so Mr. Maher’s logic is flawed when he justifies his statements stating that his remarks were different because Mr. Limbaugh had a larger audience.

Mr. Maher’s logic cannot stand. His premises are faulty, but such flawed reasoning is commonplace when a person knows he stands at the loosing end of a proposition. Take Mr. Maher’s reasoning as a lesson. When your opponent starts making “equivalency” arguments, you have beaten him.

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