Red herring

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A "Red herring" is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to "win" an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic.

For example, during an election campaign, a politician who is weak on the economy might make a speech attacking a rival on a much more trivial issue, such as a politically incorrect remark he or she may have made some time ago. The hope is that the electorate and the media will focus attention on the red herring and overlook the campaigner's poor economic record.