Red herring

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Concept.png Red herring  InfogalacticRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Red herring.webp
Founder(s)William Cobbett
Something to distract from something else.

A red herring in conversations is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question.

It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences toward a false conclusion.

When it comes to rhetoric, the use of red herrings is operationalized through the concept of the red herring fallacy. The red herring fallacy is a logical fallacy where someone presents an irrelevant piece of information in an attempt to distract their opponent and the audience from the topic that is being discussed, or to shift the discussion in a new direction.

For example, if a politician is asked in an interview to explain how they feel about a certain policy, they might use the red herring fallacy by saying how they feel about a related topic instead, without actually answering the original question which they were asked.[1]


A dead red herring was often used to confuse or test the scent of a hunting dog.

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