Build Your Own Baloney Detector

A tool-kit for avoiding being fooled

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Weasel Words, Caught in the Wild

But like it or not, lots and lots and lots of Americans need large vehicles for their jobs, their families, and their lives.

— From an article on gas mileage in cars

Here’s a great example of weasel words in action. “Lots and lots”? How many is that? Or, a better question: what percentage of vehicles? Sure, a million vehicles (to pick a number) is a lot by almost anyone’s standards, but that’s less than 1% of Americans. So, since the author is arguing the case for people having big cars, what’s the percentage and how does it compare to how many large vehicles are actually out there? I don’t know the answer and, in fact, I don’t even know how to adequately quantify “need”. I’ll bet the author doesn’t, either, but it’s not stopping him from using this would-be datum to make a point.

posted by John Weiss at 21:25  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Powered by WordPress