Friday, January 23, 2015

Appeal to Authority Examples: 2009

EXAMPLES AND ANALYSIS: 2009 Appeal to Authority
"It seems Barack Obama’s address before 150 supportive doctors yesterday was just a wee bit contrived for the cameras’ benefit. The White House had asked the physicians to show up in their iconic white coats, just to be sure the viewers at home got the message: Doctors support health care reform. The only problem? Several doctors missed the memo or just plain forgot, and showed up in suits or dresses, the New York Post reports. Undeterred, the White House scrambled around for extra whites, which the physicians hurriedly donned over their formal wear."
-- October 6, 2009, story from Newser regarding President Barack Obama's October 5, 2009, speech to doctors at the White House Rose Garden.

Comment: This was a visual attempt at an appeal to authority, to get people to see that it is doctors who support Obama's heath care reform proposals.

"In addition the organizations that are represented here today: the American Medical Association [AMA], the National Medical Association, the Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the Doctors for America, American College of Pediatrics, and American College of Cardiology. I am thrilled to have all of you here today and you look very spiffy in your coats. … I think what's most telling is that some of the people who are most supportive of reform are the very medical professionals who know the health care system best -- the doctors and nurses of America. These men and women here would not be supporting health insurance reform if they really believed that it would lead to government bureaucrats making decisions that are best left to doctors.Instead, the reason these doctors are here is because they have seen firsthand what's broken about our health care system.So these doctors know what needs to be fixed about our health care system. … And I want to thank every single doctor who is here, and I especially want to thank you for agreeing to fan out across the country and make the case about why this reform effort is so desperately needed. You are the people who know this system best. You are the experts. Nobody has more credibility with the American people on this issue than you do."
-- President Barack Obama's October 5, 2009, speech to doctors at the White House Rose Garden.

Comment: But, aren't there doctors and nurses who oppose Obama's reform proposal? Would they oppose it if they thought it were a good idea? Doesn't their expertise count? And when these groups disagree with Obama on health care policy, does that mean that Obama is wrong? More, the AMA used to oppose Medicare, but now opposes cuts to Medicare. Since the AMA is made up of "medical professionals who know the health care system best", was the AMA right on both points? Beyond all this, doctors -- in or out of their lab coats -- are experts on the medical care of individuals, not necessarily on the economics of health care or on public policy regarding health care. And, at any rate, experts still need to defend their position just as much as anyone else.

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