Word of the Week: Contextomy Taking things out of context to mislead interpretation.

Word of the Week: Contextomy

Contextomy is an informal fallacy we find in a lot of news articles (particularly headlines), memes, and social media posts.

Plainly: Taking things out of context to mislead interpretation.

Contextomy refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original linguistic context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning, a practice commonly referred to as “quoting out of context”. The problem here is not the removal of a quote from its original context per se (as all quotes are), but to the quoter’s decision to exclude from the excerpt certain nearby phrases or sentences (which become “context” by virtue of the exclusion) that serve to clarify the intentions behind the selected words. Comparing this practice to surgical excision, journalist Milton Mayer coined the term “contextomy” to describe its use by Julius Streicher, editor of the infamous Nazi broadsheet Der Stürmer in Weimar-era Germany. To arouse anti-semitic sentiments among the weekly’s working class Christian readership, Streicher regularly published truncated quotations from Talmudic texts that, in their shortened form, appear to advocate greed, slavery, and ritualistic murder.[3] Although rarely employed to this malicious extreme, contextomy is a common method of misrepresentation in contemporary mass media, and studies have demonstrated that the effects of this misrepresentation can linger even after the audience is exposed to the original, in context, quote.[4][5]

Source: Quoting out of context – Wikipedia

Additional source: https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/225/Contextomy

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