Spotting Propaganda, Disinformation, and Fraudulent Arguments on the Aleppo Front

Independent journalist Eva Barlett (fresh from a videotaped exchange in which she skewered a befuddled Norwegian Aftenposten journalist) was invited onto RT Live for a debate with Dilly Hussain, deputy editor of 5PillarsUK, about the situation in Syria, with a focus on Aleppo.

The debate was extraordinary for the professionalism of Bartlett and Hussain’s lack of dignity and professionalism, as well as poor moderation by the unnamed RT personality.

Why is Hussain unprofessional? Because he engaged in ad hominem attacks on Bartlett and also against the media outlet he was appearing on. He serially interrupted Bartlett while she presented her facts (and Bartlett, after pleading for the courtesy to make her points uninterrupted, finally — out of apparent exasperation — interrupted Hussain, albeit on far fewer occasions).

First, ad hominem should have no place in any discussion. It is irrelevant to the facts of the matter, and it should serve as a loud warning that the name caller has a poor grasp of the facts or, even worse, wishes to present a case he knows is contrary to the facts. Second, interrupting an opponent is not only extremely rude, but it is underhanded in that it serves as a device to throw off the opponent: causing a pause in the flow of an opponent’s argument, the loss of a train of thought, unnecessary repetition, or causing an unwary debater to become flummoxed and unfocused. These tactics of Hussain are rude, unethical, and speak poorly to…

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