False Equivalence Fallacy Examples in Media, Real Life, Politics, News & Ads
False Equivalence Fallacy
False Equivalence Fallacy Definition
False equivalence fallacy is a logical fallacy in which two things are presented as being equivalent when in reality, they are not. This fallacy occurs when two items are compared or contrasted, but they are not the same.
It often takes the form of “Person A did bad thing X and person B also did bad thing Y.” This ignores any other differences between the two people, such as their intent, responsibility, or circumstances.
True and False Equivalence
The difference between a false equivalence fallacy and a true equivalence is that the former is an argument in which two things are presented as equivalent when they are not.
An example of this would be to say that because both sides of the political spectrum have their own beliefs, then those beliefs are equal.
This does not take into account how one side may be more credible than the other or how there may be significant differences in opinion.
False Equivalence Fallacy Examples
False Equivalence Real-Life Examples
False Equivalence Fallacy in Real Life:
The false equivalence fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when two things are assumed to be equivalent because they appear similar or share some characteristics. Still, in reality, they are not the same. This fallacy often takes the form of “X and Y have both A and B, so X must be as good as Y.”
For example, if someone has an iPhone and also has a Samsung Galaxy S5, we might say that this person’s opinions about smartphones would be just as valid as anyone else’s opinion on iPhones.
However, while both phones may have many common features (such as being touch screens), there are also key differences between them (e.g., one phone is more expensive than the other).
False Equivalence Examples in Media
Examples of False Equivalence Fallacy in Media:
- The New York Times published an article on the recent protests in Iran but failed to mention that they are a result of economic inequality and not just anger at Trump.
- CNN reported on how Russia is hacking into US power grids without mentioning that it’s only because we’re leaving them vulnerable by refusing to update our software.
- Fox News ran a story about how Obama was wiretapping Trump Tower without noting that this is illegal.
False Equivalence Fallacy Examples in Advertising
False Equivalence Fallacy in Advertising:
This type of false equivalence can be seen in advertising all the time- for example, by comparing an expensive product with a cheaper one and making them seem like they’re equal products.
A prime example of this is by using celebrity endorsements to make people think that buying their product will give you the same results as someone who has already achieved success.
False Equivalence Fallacy in Politics
Examples of False Equivalence Fallacy in Politics:
The false equivalence fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when two things are asserted to be equivalent, but in reality, they are not. This can happen if the person making the argument does not have enough information about one of the things being compared or has an emotional attachment to one side of the comparison.
An example might be comparing President Trump’s actions with those of other world leaders without taking into account how different their situations and goals are.
False Equivalence Fallacy example in Philosophy
Examples of False Equivalence Fallacy in Philosophy:
- “I’m not going to say that the world is fair because it isn’t. It has never been, and it never will be. But I do know this: Life is not a zero-sum game. You can win without someone else losing.”
- “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
False Equivalence Fallacy examples in Movies
Examples of False Equivalence Fallacy in Movies:
The movie “The Shawshank Redemption” is often cited as one of the best movies ever made. Still, it has a false equivalence fallacy in that it depicts people who are wrongly convicted and imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.
There are many other movies with this same theme, such as “A Few Good Men,” which was released in 1992 and starred Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson.
False Equivalence Examples in Literature
Examples of False Equivalence Fallacy in Literature:
- The author of the article is not impartial and is only presenting one side of the argument.
- The author does not provide any evidence to support their claim.
- There are two different perspectives on this issue, but they are both presented in a biased way.
False Equivalence Examples in News
Examples of False Equivalence Fallacy in News:
The recent conflict in Syria between the Syrian government and rebel forces is an example of a false equivalence fallacy because there are two sides to this story.
False equivalence can be seen when a news article states that “both sides” have been involved in violence, even though one side has committed most of the violent acts.
False equivalence is often used by journalists who want to make their stories more interesting or controversial.