Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for Big Tobacco companies uses rhetoric to persuade his audience that smoking is not as unsafe as perceived by the society, by shifting its dangers to unimportant issues. As the lead campaigner for Big Tobacco Companies, he is hired to create a positive image of tobacco thereby maximizing profit for these companies. In the movie “Thank you for smoking,” Naylor employs various fallacies to demonstrate how arguments can distract an audience from their original values, beliefs and concerns.
A common fallacy used by Mr. Naylor in the movie is the red herring fallacy. Here, the debater deliberately throws a discussion off course and create a different vision of the ...view middle of the document...
Naylor successfully introduces the issue of freedom and responsibility which appeals to the beliefs of the American people. Again, at the Jenny Jones talk show, Joan introduces Robin Wiliger ,a 15 -year-old fresh man from Wisconsin who has been diagnosed with cancer and when Joan seeks Naylor’s opinion on this issue ,he quickly flips the table around on Ron Goode, the spokesman of the senator of Vermont who was present in defense of anti-smoking .In his argument ,he states that “the Ron Goodes of this world... want the Robin Willigers to die,” only so “that their budgets will go up.” He strategically diverts the issue from teen smoking and makes it about money making the government appear as the traitor who is trafficking in human misery and profiting from citizens who die of cancer on a daily basis.
Another technique used by Mr. Naylor to sway his audience and his opponents about his pro smoking stand is the hasty generalization fallacy. This fallacy is illustrated in the opening scene during the debate with Joan Lunden, the commentator. In this scene, Nick Naylor announces the credibility of Erhardt Von Grupten Mundt, the man whom Academy of Tobacco Studies relies on. He says,
“This is where I work, the Academy of Tobacco Studies... These guys realized quickly if they were going to claim that cigarettes were not addictive, they better have proof. This is the man they rely on, Erhardt Von Grupten Mundt... He's been testing the link between nicotine and lung cancer for 30 years and hasn't found any conclusive results. The man's a genius.”
Nick tries to coax his audience by making them understand how long years of scientific effort could not prove a consistent tie between lung cancer and smoking; however, his conclusive assumption is flawed because of lack of inadequate testing. Naylor successfully used his incorrect information which sounds like truth to try and sway his audience from their beliefs.
At the congressional hearing, Nick Naylor also employs a weak analogy to appeal to his audience. To gain advantage over his opponents, he concludes that if cigarettes packets need display warning signs, like skulls and crossbones label, then all other products that are potentially harmful, such as cheese, planes and automobiles should carry the same warning label. He retorts when asked about his opinion on warning labels, “Well, the real...