Red Herrings


When someone suddenly raises an issue that seems unrelated to the main subject, he or she is trying to throw you off the track.

History in Scandinavia… to get a dog off the scent, drag a ripe fish over the trail... a "red herring."


Example quote: "The biggest bait-and-switch move of this whole administration has been to substitute Saddam Hussein for Osama bin Laden. Iraq had nothing to do with the acts of terrorism perpetrated against the United States. The real villains, both Al Qaeda and the Taliban, are now regrouping in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, while we're stuck in the quicksand in Iraq" (Ivins, Molly. "The $87 Billion Question." The Texas Observer, 9/26/03, 10).


"..Southern whites have been victimized by conservative bait-and-switch tactics -- losing ground on jobs, wages, healthcare and retirement security while being polarized on racial issues and diverted on cultural issues" ("Blue States, Latino Voters." The Nation, Jan. 5, 2004: 5).


Colby Glass, MLIS