(A good source for more information: Fallacy: Bandwagon)

The "bandwagon" approach encourages you to think that because everyone else is doing something, you should do it too, or you'll be left out. The technique embodies a "keeping up with the Joneses" philosophy. The basic theme of the Bandwagon appeal is that "everyone else is doing it, and so should you."

The Bandwagon is a fallacy in which a threat of rejection by one's peers (or peer pressure) is substituted for evidence in an "argument."

This fallacy is commonly used by politicians to influence people to vote for them.. TV ads are also rife with images that illustrate the bandwagon appeal, for example shots of many people wearing the same type of jeans, or shoes, or using the same cleaning product. The implications here is that if you don't jump on the bandwagon, the parade will pass you by.

Since few of us want to be left behind, this technique can be quite successful. However, as the IPA points out, "there is never quite as much of a rush to climb onto the Band Wagon as the propagandist tries to make us think there is."

When confronted with this technique, it may be helpful to ask ourselves the following questions:
  • What is this propagandist's program?
  • What is the evidence for and against the program?
  • Regardless of the fact that others are supporting this program, should I support it?
  • Does the program serve or undermine my individual and collective interests? 

  • Gerry McCann (on CNN): "“We have been assured by the authorities that what we did fell well within the boundaries of good parenting. We have been advised our behaviour was legally well within the bounds of responsible parenting and have been assured no action will be taken. We were essentially performing our own baby-listening service. What Kate and I did was at worst naïve”"
  • Gerry McCann (on Good Morning America) “We didn’t think we needed a babysitter. We are good parents and what we did felt perfectly reasonable at the time. Clearly we couldn’t have predicted what was to happen.” 
  • (See: Looking back at the McCann Case - A Duty of Care: Criminal Negligence, Bad Parenting or Just Naïve?)
  • In the McCann case, the British media has done a superb job attempting to convince the British public that the majority of British citizens "support the McCanns".
  • By removing discussion from news sites, the voices of those questioning the McCanns were silenced and in the void, the media continued to print articles inferring or outright stating that the majority of people supported the McCanns.
  • As the former head of "Media Monitoring" for the British government, Clarence Mitchell has used this technique with a great deal of success. (See: McCann Family PR Offensive)

Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors