One of my huge pet peeves is when people rely only on their own side for knowledge of their opponents' positions. The inevitable result of this is that there is a lot of debating against straw men.
As an aside, this is why I really like Bryan Caplan's ideological Turing test. If you are going to seriously debate someone, you need to be able to state their arguments in an unironic way such that that person's supporters would mistake you for one of their own. If I were to teach anything at all political, I would structure the course in a way that folks would debate and advocate both sides of a question (that is, of course, if any university would allow me to ask, say, a minimum wage advocate to take the opposite position without accusing me of creating an unsafe environment).
Anyway, a while back I asked if the folks who were protesting the showing of American Sniper on campus had actually seen the damn movie. I suspected they had not, or at least really interpreted film differently than I do. Though perhaps pro-soldier, I read the movie as having a pretty stark anti-war message.
Anyway, American Sniper has become a favorite target for banning within our great universities the purport to be teaching critical thinking. This is from one student group's (successful) appeal for a ban on showing the movie on campus:
This war propaganda guised as art reveals a not-so-discreet Islamaphobic, violent, and racist nationalist ideology. A simple Google search will give you hundreds of articles that delve into how this film has fueled anti-Arab and anti-Islamic sentiments; its visceral "us verses them" narrative helps to proliferate the marginalization of multiple groups and communities - many of which exist here at UMD.
This is not the language people would use if they had actually seen the film. Instead of taking specific examples from the film, they refer to Google searches of articles, perhaps by other people who have not seen the film (as an aside, this has to be the all-time worst appeal to authority ever -- I can find not hundreds but thousands of articles on the Internet about anything -- there are tens of thousands alone on the moon landings being faked).