Amit Varma commits four logical fallacies in a two-paragraph long post
"What is the role of logic in an argument?" asks Amit Varma.
Well, I'll demonstrate it my way.
Read this post by Amit. It's so short I'll paste it here:
"Do we really need 24/7 rolling news?" goes the headline of a piece in the Hindu by Hasan Suroor. I find that a rather strange question. Who is "we", and what is meant by "need"? If there is a market for 24/7 news, then it'll exist, as it should. If not, it won't.
Mr Suroor seems to be trapped in the socialist mindset in which the state is mai-baap of everyone and decides what is right for its subjects, as its intellectuals pontificate self-importantly on these matters. Well, none of the major 24/7 news channels spend tax-payers' money, nor do they infringe on anyone's rights. Whether they deserve to exist or not will thus be decided by the people -- or, to use the term the Left uses as a pejorative, by the market. That is how it should be.
(Link via email from MadMan.)
I'll respond to Amit's post in two ways: with and without logical fallacies.
a) With logical fallacies:
1) In the first paragraph, Amit dwells only on the headline and completely ignores the content of the article. By doing so he is committing the logical fallacy of cherry picking.
2) nowhere in the article is Hasan Suroor arguing that 24x7 news channels use tax-payers' money or that they infringe upon anyone's rights. He is not even saying that the market should not be allowed to determine the existence of news channels. In implying so you are building a strawman here. Strawman means, "Present a misrepresentation of the opponent's position, refute the misrepresentation, and pretend that the opponent's actual position has been refuted."
3) By alleging a "Socialist mindset," Amit is indulging in an ad hominem attack.
4) He is also committing the logical fallacy of non-sequitir. Just because Suroor think we don't need 24x7 live news on TV, it does not follow that Suroor has a Socialist mindset.
b) Without logical fallacies:
I think you are being a little unfair to Hasan Suroor. He's simply arguing that 24x7 news channels are unnecessary and sensational - that is indeed the consensus amongst media critics throughout the world today. He's saying that we don't need them 24x7, live, because almost no events happen in the night, for instance. It is true, though, that he should realise that people may want to watch TV news after a hot session of sex! Nowhere is he saying that news channels should be nationalised the way Indira gandhi nationalised banks. If he was arguing that it would have been fair to allege that he has a Socialist mindset. But so long as there is no Socialism, I can't see how Suroor has a Socialist mindset. In fact in the end of the article he admits that 24x7 news may have some uses. In a sense Suroor is just being a critic of television news.
Now Amit, which response do you prefer. You can take both if you want. But I prefer the second one because I think it is better at furthering the discussion on the subject of the nature of TV news - which is what Suroor wants to talk about.