Sometimes people make insincere arguments to justify an action (or inaction), based upon the impact to a particular group.
For example, a person might say "Building that sports arena near my house is irresponsible! Think of how many homeless people we could house with that money!" In truth, the person does not want the arena near his or her house, and does not really care about whether homeless people are housed or not. What is the term used to describe the homeless people in this situation?
Another example might be large industrial agriculture organizations defending government policies "to protect the family farm" when these organizations are not family farms and do not care about protecting family farms. What is the term used to describe family farms here?
The best term I can think of is "smokescreen", as in "Homeless people are being used as a smokescreen to hide other concerns about the sports arena" but this seems informal, and there are probably better phrases (formal or informal). What are they?