Monday, August 22, 2011

False equivalencies

One of the things the right wing likes to do is false equivalences. This ties into the so-called media's propensity to report on "both sides" of a story even when there isn't another side. If the Flat Earth Society held a press conference, our lame-stream media would dutifully report "the Flat Earth Society today presented scientific proof that the Earth was flat. Other opinions differ." Err, except it's not an opinion, the Earth is *round*. Or at least sorta ovaloid.

So anyhow, a lot of us have pointed out that the Teabaggers and their poster child, Michelle Bachmann, are, to put it bluntly, batshit crazy. I mean, what else can you say about people who go around ranting "keep your government hands off my Medicare"?! So the teabaggers fire back and say that calling them crazy is exactly the same as calling Barrack Obama a nigger.

Uh, excuse me? Err... yes, Barrack *is* black. And that matters... why? In the meantime, the fact that Michelle Bachmann is nuttier than a bag of peanuts does matter. Saying that President Obama has curly hair is focusing on something irrelevant to his ability to perform the duties of the Presidency. Saying that Michelle Bachmann has crazy ideas utterly divorced from reality is focusing on something very relevant indeed to her ability to perform the duties of the Presidency. To say that calling attention to the color of the President's skin is exactly the same as calling attention to Michelle Bachmann's tenuous connection with reality is like comparing the fact that Charles Manson is a murderous creep to the fact that President Obama has big ears. The former fact -- that Charlie is a deranged lunatic who wants to kill people -- is quite important in making a decision about what his proper fate should be. The size of the President's ears... uhm, what does that got to do with anything?

Yet the Republican Party commissars keep spitting out these false equivalencies, and the lamestream media dutifully reports "Democrats claim that Michelle Bachmann is crazy, while Republicans point out that Obama has dark skin" as if those are equivalent statements. They're not. One statement directly addresses Bachmann's fitness for office. The other is irrelevant to anybody except racists and bigots. And you'd think that people would quit falling for these false equivalencies, but, alas, 50% of all people are below average, and average ain't so smart nowadays...

-- Badtux the Equivocal Penguin


  1. You're right, and it's scary. They vote.

  2. Karen, not really. Stupid people rarely vote. That's why the GOP has to work so hard with the scare tactics to scare them into voting.

    - Badtux the Voter Penguin

  3. What's worse, Karen, is that they breed. Early, often, and occasionally with immediate family members.

  4. What I keep wondering is WHY the meeja keeps playing the false equivalency game?

    As a former newspaper reporter, I know the doctrine of "MUST BE NEUTRAL" runs as strong as religious faith. At the end of my time as a writer, I remember having intense arguments with a lawyer who said I was being biased by taking the unbiased route. This involved a case where an innocent black man had been imprisoned for 21 1/2 years as the result of a rigged case by a crooked white sheriff. I knew the guy was innocent and the sheriff was dirty, thanks to evidence uncovered by the lawyer.

    I defended myself to the lawyer by saying that I implied as strongly as I could, within the ground rules of neutral journalism, that the sheriff was wrong. But I still thought it was not my place to write actual value judgments. Plus I was convinced the editors would take them out if I did.

    But that was 20 years ago. Journalism has gotten more advocacy-torial since then, and there's been SO much written about the myth of "non-bias." I don't think the reporters and editors of today are so stupid that they ignore that.

    So it's gotta be a viewpoint that comes from the top down, to give false equivalence to right-wing lunatalking points. You don't see left-wing, pro-science or labour union positions get the same treatment, do you? So what's making management give the subtle reinforcement to "conservative" positions?

    Besides the interests of corporate fascism, that is. I guess that's enough.

  5. Yep, the Bachmann is good at falsie equivalencies.

  6. For a while i thought one of the pillars of conservatism was false choice. Then I realized that false equivalence was just as prominent. With a little more thought it became clear that the real pillar was generalized falsiness, of which those two are simply special cases.



Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.