The long-standing saga of politics of the last two and a half years in North Adams just keeps moving forward. After reading Mr. Donovan’s well-written and on-point commentary on Thursday, July 19 and the mayor’s response on Tuesday, July 24, it appears to this reader to be a tale of two cities -- nothing more than smoke and mirrors on the part of the administration. It’s fast and loose to manipulate principles, facts, rules, etc., or could it be more about the former Mayor John Barrett III, policy and style, or just a political personal attack?
Generally a personal attack is committed when a person substitutes remarks for evidence when examining another person’s claims or comments, lifestyles, convictions or principles, and use it as a debate tactic or as a means of avoiding discussion of the relevance or truthfulness of what the person said. It works on the reasoning that by discrediting the source of an argument, the person making it, the argument itself can be weakened.
This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because the attack is directed at the person making the claim and not the claim itself. The true value of a claim is independent of the person making the claim after all, no matter how morally repugnant a person might be, he or she can still make the claim.
On the other hand, illuminating real character flaws and inconsistencies in the position of an opponent is a vital part of the public political
Use of personal attack in a logical argument constitutes a logical fallacy called "ad hominem," a term that comes from a Latin phrase meaning "toward that man."
Just my personal thoughts.