Populism and Informal Fallacies: An Analysis of Right-Wing Populist Rhetoric in Election Campaigns

Argumentation 33 (1):107-136 (2019)
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Abstract

Populism is on the rise, especially in Western Europe. While it is often assumed that populist actors have a tendency for fallacious reasoning, this has not been systematically investigated. We analyze the use of informal fallacies by right-wing populist politicians and their representation in the media during election campaigns. We conduct a quantitative content analysis of press releases of right-wing populist parties and news articles in print media during the most recent elections in the United Kingdom and Switzerland in 2015. The results show that fallacies are used in more than a third of all analyzed texts and overwhelmingly co-occur with populist key messages. Moreover, fallacies occur more often in populist parties’ press releases than in news articles and are more common in Switzerland compared to the United Kingdom. This study confirms the argument that populist actors use fallacies in combination with populist claims.

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References found in this work

Fallacies.C. L. Hamblin - 1970 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 160:492-492.
On Populist Reason.Ernesto Laclau - 2006 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 68 (4):832-835.
A Pragmatic Theory of Fallacy.Douglas Walton - 2003 - University Alabama Press.
Ad Hominem Arguments.Douglas Walton - 1998 - University Alabama Press.
Fallacies and Argument Appraisal.Christopher W. Tindale - 2007 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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