Pathos is an appeal to the emotions. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of that is the ASPCA commercials where the dog looks out at the viewer from a dirty kennel with the saddest eyes you have ever seen, while Sarah Mclachlan sings in the background. If you don’t immediately flip the channel to avoid the onslaught of tears, you see many more sad animals and are asked to donate. This could be seen as both good and bad; good, because if you donate, those sad animals are one step closer to receiving the proper care they need. Bad because this organization is pulling at the heart strings of people like myself that can’t resist the puppy-eyes.
Another example I think of that leans toward the darker-side is the Susan G. Komen foundation*. They use advertisements that show breast cancer survivors and talk about how hard their fight was, or appeal to the viewer by asking them to think about their children. This can cause the viewer to want to donate. The foundation only donates about 25% of their donations and proceeds to charities and research. By using pathos they are getting people to donate to their cause. Some people may be under the impression that most, if not all of the money is going toward research. This is where pathos can be used for evil.
*I am not an expert on this. This is just going off of some of the things I have read and been told.