"Rightwing propagandists depend upon their audience's combined ignorance and hypocrisy to perpetrate their lucrative racket."

C. W. Griffin, author and freelancer for such publications as The Nation, The Progressive, and the Washington Post, believes that rightwing political leaders and media pundits manipulate the facts to keep their ardent followers hanging on. He enumerates some logical fallacies with which these characters defend their carefully crafted myths, including reversing the burden of proof, the slippery slope, the straw man, red herrings, and language perversion. Griffin heaps scorn on such conservative icons as Karl Rove, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Bill O’Reilly, while saving his most scathing remarks for radio host Rush Limbaugh. The author picks apart current contentious issues, showing how Republican conservatives have utilized false logic and underhanded tactics to distort the facts in each case. The title references his conviction that to ignore what these ideologues are up to is dangerous, comparing it to what happened when people chose to ignore Hitler’s rise to power: "One explanation for extremists' astonishing success in politics… is the inability of… reasonable people to believe that fanatics are really serious."

Griffin launches into his subject with little prologue or politesse. His description of Tea-Partiers includes labels such as "fanatics" and "homophobic"; Limbaugh is "quivering," "self-pitying," a "megalomaniac." The work of novelist Ayn Rand is "tinged with hysteria." His criticism of media manipulation extends to the rightwing only; readers will find no portraits of left-leaning ideologues perhaps employing the same strategies. Given that his purpose is to damn, not to praise, American conservatism, in defense of American liberalism, he has accomplished it admirably. Fatal Fallacies presents compelling information by a writer with wide interests, an undiluted viewpoint, and much to say.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home