Falsies and their equivalents…
Posted December 2, 2015on:
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
Or 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.
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