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ID: The illustration features three characters: a hound, a fox and a red herring. The hound is sniffing the red herring and red waves travel from the fish to the nose of the hound. In the background the fox hides behind a log. The text reads MISINFORMER TACTIC: RED HERRING


A red herring is a misdirection used by mystery writers and misinformers alike. This logical fallacy uses parallel arguments that sound relevant, but are meant to lead you off the trail.

Here is an example of a conversation that includes a red herring argument:

Science Up First: “the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective,”

Misinformer: “If you cared about safety you would recommend ivermectin”

Red herrings can distract from the point at hand (vaccine safety) to redirect the conversation (ivermectin).

Think you’re being misdirected? Ask yourself if the information provided is relevant.


Thanks to Jordan Collver for collaborating with us on this post. Jordan is an illustrator and science communicator specializing in using the visual and narrative power of comics to explore themes of science, nature, and belief.

We’re working on a series of misinformer tactics with Jordan so stay tuned for more.

Check out his work on his website and on Twitter.

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