The Straw Man fallacy is committed when one ignores a claim or argument and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of that claim or argument. This sort of “reasoning” has the following pattern:
Premise 1: Person A makes claim or argument X.
Premise 2: Person B presents Y (which is a distorted version of X).
Premise 3: Person B attacks Y.
Conclusion: Therefore, X is false/incorrect/flawed.
This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a claim or argument does not constitute a criticism of the position itself. A Straw Man can be effective because people often do not know the real claim or argument being attacked. The fallacy is especially effective when the straw person matches the audience’s biases or stereotypes—they will feel that the distorted version is the real version and accept it.
While this fallacy is generally aimed at an audience, it can be self-inflicted: a person can unwittingly make a Straw Man out of a claim or argument. This can be. . .
News source: A Philosopher’s Blog