The Widdershins

Falsies and their equivalents…

Posted on: December 2, 2015

MB couldn’t have been “righter” with her post Bring Back the Fairness Doctrine and I mean “righter” in the sense of being “correcter” as opposed to the soul-corrupting, philosophical miasma of “righter”.  Without turning into an out-of-control MB fan boy, here’s where I want to take our conversation – false equivalency.

Global warming? Burn an atlas.

Global warming? Burn an atlas.

First, what is a false equivalency?  It is the “practice of giving equal media time and space to demonstrably invalid positions for the sake of supposed reportorial balance – it is dishonest, pernicious and cowardly.”  It is the inculcated journalistic practice of giving legitimacy to things like the three percent of Irwin Corey wannabes who believe there is no such thing as climate change – essentially the same number of scientists who believe Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were vacationing outside of Phoenix during the moon landing.

The most aggravating argument advanced in the promotion of false equivalency is the intellectually lazy “Both Sides Do It” tactic.  It’s a maneuver to deflect a valid argument with an over-generalized parry built upon clay feet of pre-existing temperament.  You never get to the merits of an argument if you cleanse it with an absolution of someone else having done something equally or more egregious.

For instance, you will hear it is perfectly fine for Obama to be criticized because Dubya was criticized.  Both sides do it, don’t they?  Let’s break that down shall we?  As the Propaganda Professor puts it:

Whenever you draw attention to the right’s deranged, irrational hatred of President Obama, you’re likely to hear someone remind you that the Left was rather vitriolic toward George W. Bush. True, but the context couldn’t be more different. Bush got into office by very shady means, and once there he left the nation open to the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil; and he used that attack as justification for a dishonestly supported invasion of a nation that had no involvement in it. Even if you’re a loyal Bushnik and you wholeheartedly support these (and other) actions he and his administration undertook, you must admit — at least if you’re intellectually honest– that “liberal” animosity toward Bush was based on things he actually did.

But if you ask Obama haters why they’re Obama haters, they’re likely to tell you that it’s because he’s a socialist, or he’s a fascist, or he’s a Kenyan, or he’s a Muslim, or he’s an atheist, or he’s the Anti-Christ, or he should have given Bush the credit for nabbing bin Laden, or he’s trying to take away your guns, or he wants to outlaw fishing, or he’s let the United Nations take over our national parks, or he’s had the IRS target “conservative” organizations, or Benghazi something or other Benghazi. This is not to suggest that the current president is flawless; it’s just that the attacks against him rarely are rooted in reality. (If you want an honest and sane assessment of Obama’s shortcomings, you’d be better off turning to his left-wing critics than his right-wing attackers.)

Point well made...The thing that always amazes me is how cocksure Fox viewers are about what is being covered and said on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, and the BBC.  As the research proves, the vast majority of Fox viewers rely upon one news source and that is Fox for all their news.  Their suppositions are based upon their preconceived notions of what they want to hear and ingeniously bolstered by their one news source.  There is an enemy and that enemy is the degenerate, unclean, unchristian liberal hordes who fail to share their world view.  When you live with such fantasy, it is possible to conjure a perfect world of animus for the victimhood they covet and their self-proclaimed saintly righteousness.

There are many fetishes in the world of false equivalence – there is the few is the many – meaning one person spouting fringey pap means that person speaks for all.  There is the specific versus the general which means taking a specific criticism of one person on one issue and equating it with the thinking of all liberals.  Ann Coulter is a maestro at this – one person said something unkind about a conservative, therefore all liberals are of a similar mind.Bill Nye

For fun, quick, name a liberal equivalent to Ann Coulter, or Michelle Maulkin, or Sean Hannity, or Rush Limbaugh, or Bill O’Reilly, or Mark Levin, or Glenn Beck.  You can’t do it can you?  What’s more, the few liberal pundits there are tend to always use facts upon which to base their spiel, not so in the conservative world.  Their world is colored by pre-conceived notions which they must reinforce to give their listeners a safe place to flourish without challenging their world narrative.

Tell me – when was it you last heard someone say the equivalent of, “Changing the president will make it possible to once again burn more expensive and polluting coal.”  Or when have you heard, “Let’s embark on an economic and tax policy that has never once worked in the half-dozen times it has been tried.”  Or this one, “We need to round up and deport at least 11 million people.”  How about, “We need to close Mosques.”  Or, “The Supreme Court’s recognition of marriage equality spells the end of the country.”  Or the fact not one Republican candidate will dare utter support for keeping people who are on the Terrorist Watch List from having the ability to buy guns when we have had 355 mass shootings in 336 days this year.  (Updated pursuant to the San Bernadino mass shooting today.  This is the third mass shooting since last Friday.)

TysonOr Ann Coulter again, “Is your tape recorder running? Turn it on! I got something to say…My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”  Now just for a moment, a nanosecond, what would have happened had a liberal said something one-tenth as odious?

There is a pattern and that pattern is robust in the land of the Fox where so many revel in ignorant bliss.

Tomorrow, I’m going to delve into the “why” of this dichotomy.  In the meantime, enjoy your Wednesday and as always, take this conversation in any direction you might want.


35 Responses to "Falsies and their equivalents…"

Outstanding post!

@1, thank you Sophie.

Yes, excellent and well said! Prolix, sorry I haven’t been around much. I work a lot in December.

We’ve had an insane mass shooting today in San Bernardino, Calif. 3 gunmen shot up a facility that helps disabled people!?! 14 dead, at least 17 injured. The suspects fled, the cops chased them, there were pipe bombs thrown! There was a shootout between the shooters and the SWAT, and two shooters shot–a man and a woman! They took a thir person in custody where it was hding in a house and there was a crazy standoff for hours. The neighbors had to be removed from their homes and businesses. Just insane, been going on since 11am. Oh they just announced that one of the shooters name is Syed Farook. wtf.

@3, Annie, it is all over the news. It has been wall-to-wall coverage since it started or shortly thereafter.

Wonderful post Prolix. You destroy the right with your sheer logic.

After the obergefell decision there was another meme on the right which was “So who gave 5 unelected people the right to make that decision? Uh…the Constitution?

The shooting in San Berdoo was one of the reasons I’m late getting here. I’ve been watching it probably more than is healthy to do.

@5, and have you ever noticed the Right loves activism on the Supreme Court as long as it is activism promoting their social views. Obergefell fell (pun intended) outside the 1950s social order modeled after Ward and June Cleaver’s household, but Heller, overturning 100 years of constitutional case law and supplanting local control with a federal mandate was just fine with them. Funny how that works out.

I got something to say…My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.

I don’t recall that but oh how I wish she had been called in by the F.B.I. :
“Ms. Coulter, are you in agreement with what Mr. McVeigh did and are you making terrorist threats?” or just something along those lines. Of course it would have given her even more undeserved publicity and reasons to foam at the mouth in public.

Annie, so terribly sorry about the shooting. This insanity has become an epidemic in America…it’s almost as though it’s catching, like a virus.

Prolix, great post. Not to worry, we have all followed each other at one point or another! I love the way you framed it.

I have another abhorrent right wing meme for you: If the victims of the mass shooter in California were all armed, they would have been able to defend themselves. What a bunch*p!

@8, Coulter has since tried to modify and qualify her comment. A contortionist, even a verbal one, can only bend so far.

@9: Oh good one! Well, you know what I mean.

@9, Thanks MB.

And yes, I expect LaPierre to be out sometime this week to start the meme, “The disabled need to have guns just like everyone else to guard against such attacks — whether they be mentally or visually challenged, they need guns.”

@10: Sorry Ann, you own it.

Prolix, sad but true.

Listening to a former FBI agent on CNN. Basically, they don’t know squat.

There’s no better example of false equivalency’s vile nature than tonight’s Fox coverage. They dare to put on Mark Fuhrman whose racism allowed OJ Simpson to go free as their expert. The same Mark Fuhrman who skulked off to Idaho where he can “bigot and boil” amongst survivalist doomsday preppers. He basically has solved the crime based on the name Farook.

Fuhrman and Fox are giving their viewers exactly what they yearn for — simple, unadorned, uncomplicated plain opinion masquerading as fact that fits their biases and prejudices.

It is the perfect symbiotic relationship. Just like a remora on a shark — the remora eats the parasites off the body of the shark and flourishes while the shark profits from a clean body — it is the Fox business model.

@16: To use that old term, I’m simply gobsmacked at that idea. Fuhrman…smh.

The right wing nuts will go ape sh*t over this.


@18, Mort Zuckerman has declared war on Rupert Murdoch — the Pissing War of the Oligarchs.

@19: LOL!! 😆

@18, good! The democratic candidates are all screaming for gun control and the repubs are sending their “prayers”. Yeah, that’ll help.

Ann Coulter is utterly vile. I can’t even look at her.

@21: But Prolix is right annie, two oligarchs going after each other.

Re Coulter – I think she’s got an eating disorder. She looks like a walking, talking skeleton.

@22, Re Coulter – I think she’s got an eating disorder. She looks like a walking, talking skeleton.

Skeletons are spinning on their stands from the insult of such a comparison.

Skeletons are spinning on their stands from the insult of such a comparison
Hilarious, Prolix!

@18, Fredster, you couldn’t have been “righter” on the DN headline. Several of the RWNJ have almost reenacted the head exploding scenes from Scanners.

@23: Well…guess i could have used a comparison to cadavers on the dissecting table in med school. That one kinda works too. 😉

annie@25 Yes I did see that. “Doxie love”. 😆

Prolix@26: How delightful. 😉

I caught part of morning schmoe with him holding up that DN front page and he mentioned people were not happy with it. He also said that the DN had been on a crusade with this issue and doing similar things ever since the Newtown shooting,

Well what do you know: Just in time for the release of the new Star Wars movie, Darth Cheney is gonna go bust. Or at least a bust of him will be debuted today in the Capitol Visitor Center. Well just…yay.

@29, Mort Zuckerman has been outspoken about guns since Newtown. He’s a regular on the McGlothlin Dementia Group and he’s taken unmerciful heat from rabid right on the show about his stance.

@30, wonder why they want to scare people at the Visitor Center? Interestingly, the marble bust will have the exact same heartbeat as Cheney without the assist device.

@prolix: Well you’re certainly on a roll today! 🙂

@31, I didn’t know that about Zuckerman.

@32, LOL!

Prolix has a new post – part two up on the topic.

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