If you’ve been following the insiders spinning the controversial Music Modernization Act, you will probably have heard them say things like this about the closed door negotiations leading up to the introduction of the bill: “Don’t blame us! Not everyone can be at the table! But…NSAI, SONA, ASCAP and BMI were at the table representing “creator interests” and endorse the MMA as well as the Songwriters Guild, Society of Composers & Lyricists, NARAS, AIMP and A2IM. So trust me!”
Remember English 101 and logical fallacies? This particular piece of rhetoric is a threefer–let’s start with the fallacy of reductio ad absurdum. No one ever said that every songwriter should have been at the table, just that the negotiations for the bill should not have been behind closed doors. How about getting public comments, consultations, or even posting a link to a copy of the bill that you were trying to get petitions signed in support of–before you sent the petition or introduced the bill? Or maybe giving members of these august organizations a chance to comment or suggest changes before you ask them to sign a petition that is premised on a bunch of glittering generalities strung together in a cover letter. (Remember the “glittering generalities” fallacy? Maybe it’s a four-fer.)
Then there’s that old reliable, the “bandwagon” fallacy. This is the “everyone else is running off a cliff, why don’t you?” fallacy.
And don’t forget to ask exactly how these organizations were empowered to “represent” their members in a negotiation that the members knew nothing about that produced work product they never saw until it was too late.
There’s one more fallacy in the statement–extra points if you can spot it.
There’s a reason why you studied fallacies in English comp–logical fallacies are arguments designed to lure you into agreeing with something or in this case supporting a bill that you don’t really understand.
Fortunately, MusicAnswers is not afraid to speak truth to power and to take on the threats and whisper campaigns. This video is fallacy free: