Emotional Language: Appeal to pity (argumentum ad misericordiam)
We can find individuals or companies that try to get hold of our sense of compassion and pity. Especially many charity oriented organizations use this mean to emphasize the need for financial attention to their problem. We are here often presented a picture of extremely sick and dirty child somewhere in the middle of a junkyard, out of which we can almost feel their dreadful perspective on life. This often stirs remarkably strong emotion of empathy which tenders our heart and is followed by a merciful emptying the content of our wallets.
However, there is really nothing wrong with this appeal in itself. It is only important that we are aware of this element and when we really want to feed starving children we ought to make sure that most of our donation will actually reach these people. For that purpose we need to deal with real facts and ask questions like: “How much of my donation will be used for administration? How much will go on other advertisements? How much will get the people that work with it?” Sometimes organizations that have fanciest commercials and well-known programs use a significant amount of donated money just on that purpose…
All in all it is important that we have compassion with people who suffer! And when this triggers an impulse in us to do something about it, this emotional impulse should not fall for the first cheap offer on the market, but should be accompanied by a reasonable thinking that will assure that we will sense the nonsense around us, do our homework and trace the best possible way of delivering the money to the purpose we have intended them for in the first place.