If You Present Me With Appeals Like This, You Will NEVER Have My Support

I’ve been presented with dozens of these obnoxious things with their false dichotomy tricks in recent years, including many from political candidates. I have intended to post about it for quite a while, but I was waiting for one that especially annoyed me, and yesterday the conservative news aggregator The Blaze won the metaphorical Kewpie doll.

This approach insults anyone who chooses not to accept a an offer, giving them a choice between “yes, sure, junk up my in box with even more emails than I am getting already” and a self-confession of moral and intellectual inadequacy. There really is no difference between the Blaze’s “no” option and an outright attack, as in “If you don’t agree to sign up for our stories (and also allow us to sell your data to God knows who), you are obviously a gullible tool who is responsible for the sorry state of American society.”

Apparently this device works, which is why so many websites use it. That in itself is disturbing. When did Americans become so easily shamed and intimidated? I’ve received subscription offers from supposedly reputable newspapers that gave me the choice between “Sign me up!” and “No, I don’t care about award-winning journalism that will keep me informed about the news every responsible citizen needs to know.” That literally means, “If you don’t want to subscribe to our paper, you’re an irresponsible, apathetic, uninformed citizen.” No, I’m not, and you and your desperate, arrogant publication can bite me.

After that, I wouldn’t subscribe if it were the last newspaper on earth.

9 thoughts on “If You Present Me With Appeals Like This, You Will NEVER Have My Support

  1. 5 minutes looking at The Blaze will also let you know that you don’t want anything to do with the website. Visit and you’re going to get a fill of the same style of endless overstated headlines wildly overstating the reality of the story.

    They’re after a legitimate audience, those that seek an alternative to the wildly biased mainstream media. Their problem is they are the yang to the ying of NYT/WaPo/CNN. Equally biased and unreliable, just leaning right instead.

  2. It reminds me a lot of those “I bet you won’t post this story” that come across my facebook feed. Those bets are absolutely correct. I refuse to be guilt tripped into posting, and I resent it when my friends and family post such things, although I bite my tongue about it.

  3. The Blaze and its founder Glenn Beck are the worst kind of “conservative” voice, not unlike Breitbart. He has become 99% attention addict and 1% responsible media person. It and he are sad and perform a 24/7 disservice to responsible and reasonable people to the right of AOC.

    Additionally, if I were a LDS member, I’d be thinking about finding ways to kick him out. Yuck.

  4. Classic “hard sell” tactics. Kaplan LSAT preparatory courses used to have a poster with a rabbit’s foot on it, saying “something for the people who won’t be taking the Kaplan prep course,” and ending “Take Kaplan or take your chances.” PMBR bar review same thing, “Should you take our course? Do you want to pass or not?” They play on fear (am I doing all I can) and shame (if I don’t do this and don’t pass, what then?). It’s a choice between paying $1,500.00, which is hard to afford for an already cash-strapped student, and failing the last test you must pass before you can be admitted to the profession you just spent three years and a lot more money studying to join. Those looking to get more clicks or relieve you of any spare cash that may be weighing you down are masters of playing on both:

    – The romance scammer who flirts with you, and then says she needs your help for home repairs/medical bills/to bail someone out of jail, so could you wire her 500 usd? No, there isn’t time to think it over. If you won’t help, then you don’t love her and you’ve been deceiving her.

    – The Center for Missing Children, who telephone or stop by your office (they usually ignore “no soliciting” signs) and ask if you can help them out in their Very Important Work. If you say no, they ask if you would want your child back if she disappeared.

    – Any number of charities, who write things like “You are lucky. You live in a part of the world where you have a decent place to live, clean drinking water, and no worries about your next meal. You can afford to give up one of your luxuries, like that daily cup of coffee out or a day of your vacation, to help someone not as lucky.”

    – Any number of worthless relatives, who never stop by unless it’s to ask for a favor or invite you over except to do them a favor, but somehow they always know when you’ve gotten a raise of a bonus and are right there with their hands out. If you turn them away they act all hurt and threaten to tell everyone else at Thanksgiving that you are too cheap to help a relative in need so you could get that new car or go to Europe. Your old car doesn’t need to be replaced right now and Europe will still be there next year.

    – How about these folks who go around posting on social media that if you want these lockdowns eased you should have to sign a card saying you refuse treatment for the virus, or, on the flip side, if you want them to continue, any source of income you have should be stopped until the economy reopens?

  5. For a while now I have noticed that there is a trend (especially among evangelicals) to share things on Facebook that state something like: I bet this won’t even get one share or share if you like Jesus, skip if you want Satan to win. As a Christian and a minister 100% of the time I will not share it or like it at all. That does not made me a bad or callous person. As a human I am emphatic and sympathetic about the plight of the sad kid in a third world country on the post. As a Christian not only do I not want Satan to win, I know he has already lost. So what’s the problem? Why won’t I share?

    Well before I answer that, I want to back up here. Why do people share things on Facebook? A survey done by the Fractl marketing agency said 48% of post were done because others will find them interesting. The other 52% focused on things they were thinking or feeling about. Only 11% of that information was used to educate others (and we all know how that is going). While it wasn’t mentioned in the survey it was also clear that 100% of post were about the people themselves posting them. Therefore everything being stated by the person (even if it had nothing apparent) related to the person in some way. I don’t think that is a bad thing, in fact, I’m pretty sure that is Facebook’s sole purpose. So when a person shares that picture, in some way they are saying they themselves are Christian or hey this is an issue I care about. However, I find this issue highly problematic.

    The first way relates to the post above. One of the reasons this marketing campaign is so successful because people are gullible, weak minded, or proud. You challenge them on an issue that attacks them in someway, they feel like they have to respond. It reminds me Marty Mcfly’s shortcoming in the Back to the Future movies. He couldn’t back down when someone called him a chicken. It was Doc who had to tell him if he didn’t learn to walk away, he was going to suffer the consequences for it. The second movie shows us the future where he life will be ruined because he got in a car accident over the issue of being called a chicken. This is erased in the third by him finally learning to back down. While I doubt any of our sharing or agreeing will have any lasting consequences (other than a flooded email box) I wonder if they build up to something bigger (I know slippery slope).

    But they are attacks on my character. I don’t want people to think I’m a lemming to the main stream media. I don’t want people to think I’m not empathetic or sympathetic to the kid’s plight. I don’t want people to think I’m not a Christian. So part of me wants to share that post, or click on that link. but when I do, they get exactly what they want and not because they care about me.

    The second reason I think it’s problematic is it can actually be harmful to use these vices. In Jack’s example they are trying to get you buy there content. However, like the Facebook post, they are doing it through virtue signaling. Philosophers Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke believe virtue signaling (they call it moral grandstander) perverts the function of public moral discourse. They argue:

    “Public moral talk aims to get others to see a moral problem they hadn’t noticed before, and/or to do something about it. But, instead, virtue signallers display themselves, taking the focus away from the moral problem. Since we often spot virtue signalling for what it is, the effect is to cause cynicism in the audience, rather than to induce them to think the signaller is so great. As a result, virtue signalling ‘cheapens’ moral discourse.”

    While they offer no evidence to back up there claims I believe they are correct. At the very least, Jack’s whole post is a perfect example of it. In 2014 when 276 girls were kidnapped there was a virtue signaling campaign called bring back our girls. A prominent example here was Michelle Obama. Did Michelle Obama holding up a sign #bringbackourgirls actually bring back any of the girls? No it didn’t. She was married to the most powerful man in the world at that time. Did he do anything about it? A month after it happened President Obama sent 80 military personal to help with the issue, however they didn’t not stay long. As of two years later, 219 of the 276 girls were still missing. Yana Galang (the mother of one of the missing girls) is quoted as saying the online outrage hasn’t helped her. in 2016 Congresswoman Wilson was trying to use the campaign slogan to raise funding to find these girls. she was largely unsuccessful.

    So the answer to the reason I don’t post is I believe it is counter-intuitive. I believe it cheapens the subject matter and creates lazy thinking. If I as a Christian role my eyes at the Jesus post, I can only imagine what non-Christians are thinking.

    • JP said:

      or a while now I have noticed that there is a trend (especially among evangelicals) to share things on Facebook that state something like: I bet this won’t even get one share or share if you like Jesus, skip if you want Satan to win.

      I know, I see that crap too. It always makes me laugh.

      I’ll bet Jesus laughs at those, too. There were plenty of fools in his day, I’m sure, just like in ours.

  6. When did Americans become so easily shamed and intimidated?

    Helluva question. I’ve been asking it every day since the Wuhan Flu sent everyone over the edge. Or maybe it exposed how many people have been over the edge all along. What the hell?

    • The first part of that question is: Since social media made it easy and painless for the mob to shame others. And it’s always a mob — people love jumping in to an attack in progress to prove how good and virtuous they are.

      The second part is tougher. Average people have pretty much always been subject to intimidation. I think maybe it makes sense to wonder why that continues in this day and age with so much information available.

  7. That’s so obnoxious.

    Both sides think the other has a monopoly on fake news. Worse the add is a direct appeal to pro-Trump confirmation bias.

    It’s sad that these sort of appeals appear to work, because they only reason they keep showing up is that they apparently do. Those among us capable of critical thought can only cringe, and put it down as a strike against the publication using it.

    You said: “If you don’t want to subscribe to our paper, you’re an irresponsible, apathetic, uninformed citizen.” No, I’m not, and you and your desperate, arrogant publication can bite me.

    Amen.

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