The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Snake Oil

In last week’s Takimag column, Dr. Dalrymple considers the role of celebrity endorsements on product sales after President Trump’s COVID-19 medical treatment.

The problem is not so much a cognitive one as emotional. The person apparently taken in by such endorsements is more the victim of false hope than of misleading information. He hopes by some magical process to be more like the endorser if he buys what the latter has endorsed. Endorsements by admired persons appeal to the Walter Mitty in people who lead lives of quiet (or even noisy) desperation.

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