Class: Evade > Moving the Target
Choosing phrasing that seems to mean
one thing but could mean another if
you need to wiggle out of it.
Able to twist and turn through tight spaces like a weasel.
People are saying she’s actually a Russian spy.
That’s absurd. How can you believe that?!
I didn’t say I believe it. I’m just saying people are saying that.
If I did anything wrong, I apologize.
So you admit you were guilty?
I said “if” I did anything wrong.
How do we know that was not a UFO? What are they hiding from us? Why would they keep it a secret?
You think they’re covering up a UFO?
I’m not saying that. I’m just asking questions.
In some respects, if you look at recent events, there has been much progress and women no longer face any sexism.
How can you say there’s no more sexism?!
I said in some respects.
Foolacy vs. Fallacy
Surprisingly there is no traditional fallacy for this. Ambiguity Fallacy and Equivocation are very specific cases of using multiple meanings of words or phrases to your advantage. Accent Fallacy is a very specific case of simply changing which word is emphasized when you quote someone. But there is no broader fallacy for intentionally wording statements to be misleading. Since this is such a common tactic, especially for politicians, it deserves its own foolacy.
Weasel Words is a more specific type of Moving the Target