Poisoning the well (or attempting to poison the well) is a logical fallacy where adverse information about a target is pre-emptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say.
I ran across the poster child for this fallacy on the Internet on a web site called Right Side News (et al) in an article by Joan Swirsky. Here’s the quote:
After a recent article I wrote, My Mother’s Birth Certicate – And Obama’s, a number of people e-mailed me with FactCheck.org’s “proof” of the certificate. But let’s not forget that FactCheck is owned by the Annenberg Foundation, the same foundation that gave millions of dollars to Obama and his unrepentant terrorist pal William Ayers for an “education” project. To me, that makes FactCheck ipso facto the least credible source of factual information.
She’s saying, ignroe FactCheck.org; pay no attention to the photographs of Obama’s birth certificate; don’t look at the links to the US State Department web site; don’t pay the slightest attention to their well-reasoned arguments. They’re damaged goods, the “least credible source” because Annenberg also funded something that became related to Barack Obama, and by the way, TERRORIST, run away!
In fact, and you can verify this for yourself, FactCheck.org is probably one of the most credible sources on the Internet, even to the point of being cited by other “fact checking” web sites like Snopes.com.
The Annenberg Foundation back in 1995 did give a grant to start an education (no need for quotation marks) project to help children in Chicago schools. Barack Obama was selected to chair the board of directors of the project and William Ayers, respected educator and former domestic terrorist, was involved in the project too. The Annenberg Foundation funds all sorts of projects to the tune of over half a billion dollars. FactCheck.org itself is a project of a Annenberg-funded project at the University of Pennsylvania.
Walter Annenberg died in 2002. His wife, Leonore, donated over $100,000 to John McCain and the Republican National Committee between 2000 and 2008. Search for her by name at the Federal Election Commission web site.