On Fox News's imaginatively named The Five program, which airs weekdays at 5 p.m., a five-person panel took on Seattle's kayaktivists this week with the network's trademark wit and intelligence.
Hide your children, then behold:
"Kayaks swarmed an offshore oil rig in protest," says The Five's ringleader, Greg Gutfeld, in monologue. "The protesters, floating more on hypocrisy than water, likely forgot that the kayaks are often made with petroleum."
I wrote about attempts to turn this into an online meme last week. But it turns out that this kind of argument is so well worn and baseless on its face that it's been given its own name in the annals of logic and rhetoric: The tu quoque fallacy.
It's Latin and pronounced "too kwoh-kway." This occurs when someone attempts to appeal to hypocrisy by focusing on the acts of the person making the argument, instead of addressing the merits of the argument itself. Read more about it here, and next time someone does it, point at them and yell, "That's a tu quoque fallacy!"
Another Fox panelist offers this fabulous theory: "Seattle is jealous. Canada has oil. Alaska has oil... There's fracking in the Midwest. Seattle has basically nothing... They have water, they have rain."
Equating water, a thing that enables life to flourish on this planet, with "basically nothing" strikes me as misguided.
Back to Gutfeld: "I love Seattle. I'm a huge fan of Frasier... Best thing that ever came out of Seattle... I would support the protesters if they made a pledge that they rejected everything around them that was in any way affected by fossil fuels."
At this point, Dana Perino, who—true story—used to be the press secretary for the President of the United States, chimes in, as if she hasn't been sitting there the whole time: "I think it's funny that they're in the kayaks because where do you get plastics from? From petrochemicals."
AMERICA. FUCK YEAH.
By the way, this fallacy can be applied to anything, as author Nathan Deuel notes on Twitter: "You are made of molecules so no tsk tsking about atoms colliding above Hiroshima."
Congrats, Fox News panelists. You spent several minutes of airtime on national television in a discussion based upon a logical fallacy that has its own Wikipedia page.
Now go read Sydney on the latest mark by local regulators against Shell's drilling rig, which—much to the satisfaction of The Five, I'm sure—still plans on heading northward to begin exploratory drilling in the Arctic next month.