Most people are in awe of those with power, celebrity, or status. In
addition, there are many sacred symbols (flags, religious images, sacred
words, etc.) to which people feel intense identification and loyalty. Though
power, celebrity, and status rarely correlate in any way with knowledge and
insight, people are mesmerized by them.
Demagogues that successfully manipulate people know that most people
are readily tricked in this way. So they wrap themselves in the flag and
associate themselves with power, celebrity, or status (in any way they can).
This includes looking for scientists and other “knowledgeable” persons to
“support” their views.
PAUL, Richard, ELDER, Linda. "The Thinker's Guide to Fallacies: The Art of
Mental Trickery and Manipulation." Foundation for Critical Thinking (2004)