Media Examples

 Appeal to authority examples are frequently found in the media.  Celebrity and professional endorsements in TV commercials, and magazine & newspaper advertisements are extremely common.  Marketers use these these 'authority figures' to create a sense of establishment and reliability.  As a result, viewers and readers will often make illogical purchasing decisions.

  Doctors and dentists are good authorities on health.  However some are significantly biased by large financial gains.  The Federal Trade Commission claimed that in 2003 cigarette companies spent $15.3 billion on advertising and promotion.

American Tobacco alone paid the stars who endorsed Lucky Strike cigarettes US$ 218,750 in the late 1930s, equivalent to $3.2 million in today's money.


"Most doctors choose Camel" - Vintage TV Commercial


Appeal to Authority - God Bible Bowels

How are your Bowels?

In ancient times, people did not say "How do you do?" They said, "How are your bowels?" The ancients thought that the bowels were the seat of the emotions.  We find in the Bible, the expression -"Bowels of Compassion."  Today the same writer would probably say -"Heart of Compassoin." 

  The advertiser tries to sway us by citing the Bible as an authority on the importance of bowels.   Today's healthcare is far more effective than it was in biblical times as our current life expectancy is far greater than it was when the Bible was written.  

The mean life expectancy of kings of Scotland and England, reigning from 1000 A.D. to 1600 A.D. were 51 and 48 years, respectively. Their monks did not fare as well. In the Carmelite Abbey, only five percent survived past 45.

[In Ancient Egypt] Water-borne diseases, tuberculosis and other infectious illnesses against which the best physicians of antiquity were mostly powerless, were endemic

According to Andreas G. Nerlich of Munich who investigated New Kingdom and Late Period tombs at Thebes the main age of death was between 20 and 40 years, peaking between 20 and 30. Infants and children constituted about a quarter of the buried.

  The disparity between ancient and modern life expectancy shows that the Bible possesses outdated information on healthcare, and thus is a weak authority on the bowels because of insufficient expertise.

"Proceedings of the Royal College of Physicians" W. I. Sellers

Appeal to Authority - Music & Medicine
Appeal to Authority - Baby Coca Cola

  The Soda Pop Board of America claimed that laboratory tests have proven that babies who start drinking soda early have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and 'fitting in' during the preteen years.

Appeal to Authority - Bill Cosby Calculator

  Bill Cosby promotes the TI-59 calculator in his graduation uniform.  Many people in advertisements wear costumes to appear more authoritative.    

Appeal to Authority - Vincent Price Raisins

  Horror film star Vincent Price says "Around my kitchen this is raisin time of year... because raisins are good, and good for you."