A prime example of a false equivalency appeared in my last article, which made me realize I haven’t done justice to this subject, or any other subject for that matter. False equivalencies are a prevalent tactic for the GOP. It’s the cognitive distortion of choice for a group who keeps trying to make the argument that they still have an argument. Today’s obvious example is Trump V Hillary. “Say what you want about Trump, but that Hillary is just as bad!” On what fucking planet? Benghazi Colony IV? They really believe they’re equally incompetent/evil. In reality one would preside over a third Obama-like recovery and the other would bomb Canada. Get to the escape pods! The Benghazi Colonies are under attack from the Decepto-neocons!
Last week I discussed a poll wherein nearly a third of our rightwing participants reported the desire to want to bomb Agrabah (a fictional Disney city). The Breitbart.com people then rolled out their own poll showing how 43% of liberals would accept refugees from Agrabah, which to them is, “Even more embarrassing!”
This is a prime example of a false equivalency. The majority of Americans may not be able to find Agrabah from the monorail, but that’s not the story. The story is: a large percentage of right wingers are sociopathic enough to want to bomb a group out of existence …that don’t even exist! This is the height of xenophobia (which, if elected, Trump promises to get a better trade deal with Xenophobia and Agrabah). Arm the xenophoton torpedoes, captain! Alladin off the starboard bow!
There is an equal amount of unfavorable press for both R and D, but the examples are rarely equal. In a misguided attempt to appear balanced, certain media outlets allow this shit to happen each and every news cycle. CNN is the worst offender. Their inability to call out bullshit is legendary. They are part of the reason why nearly half our country now resides in the TwiRight Zone.
These false equivalencies crop up for every major issue of our time:
Liberal: 97% of all climate scientists believe the climate is changing.
Republican: What about Climate-gate! How about that one guy who fudged the numbers!
(Actually fixing the numbers is scholar-speak for cleaning the data of outliers and, even if you’re right—and you never are—how does a single faulty study discount thousands of others? Raise shields! It’s the Propogandulons!)
Fun Fact: Republicans are the only large group of climate deniers left on Earth. So technically they are outliers …outliers that ironically can’t be fixed.
As I’m writing this article Drudge just linked to: Sea levels are now reducing in the “hotspots of acceleration” of Washington and New York. Sadly, I took the bait. Here’s a graph from that same 5/30/16 article:
This shows sea level rise in DC, but follow the arrow to the little red dip at the far right of the chart. That is indeed a dip so, to a Republican adept in the false-equivalency-arts, this chart shows no coastal sea rise whatsoever.
Here, let me help you with this graph:
See? Just use the skew function on your Adobe Photoshop program and those sea levels will just stay steady throughout the Trump Administration. …Oh, you already have a skew function. Got it. That’s not water in the basement, Johnny, that’s the salty foam of freedom.
And, my favorite:
Liberal: Climate change is happening as 84% of our mile-thick glaciers are retreating.
Republican: Climate change is not happening as today there’s 30% more inch-thick sea ice across the globe.
Liberal: Obamacare saves an estimated 24,000 lives each year and has leveled healthcare costs for the first time in decades.
Republican: Yeah, tell that to the guy facing those death panels!
The War on Error
Liberal: George W. Bush lied us into war and got thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of innocents killed. He helped create ISIS through a botched occupation and is technically a war criminal for torturing people for his own tortured logic.
Republican: (Say it with me, folks) Benghazi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They couldn’t resist this one, because the Benghazi attacks fell on the same date, years later. Same date means same magnitude. Scam Andreas’s Fault? I know it sounds incredibly ridiculous, but so are they.
Liberals: Those in the U.S. illegally need some type of pathway to citizenship as busing out millions of people is fantasy (actually it’s more like a nightmare). The fact remains they commit less crimes per capita than our own citizens.
Republicans: Tell that to the little old lady from Pasadena who was just gang raped by Agrabaharians!
And how could we end a discussion of false equivalency without discussing Obama V Bush? I wanted one more example and, lo and behold, this just broke on Drudge as well (5/30/2016): Just 1% Russians approve of U.S., Obama, far worse than Bush. Ha! Anytime you can say the words worse than Bush, you know it’s probably a badge of honor. Understand that if one day a President Trump received a similarly poor approval rating, Drudge would simply link to something like: Trump’s Tough Stance On Russia Not Popular With Locals. So this is how they make everything “even”, regardless of what actually happens in a given news cycle.
Republicans desperately needed President Obama to be worse than W., but had Obama actually failed the Fed would have collapsed. This shortsightedness is at the heart of the “patriots” among us.
“You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land, the common clay of the new West. You know… morons.”
—Gene Wilder (Blazing Saddles)
I realize name calling isn’t nice, but Republicans are wrecking my country in the guise of trying to save it. We have, as Andrew Sullivan asserts, entered “late-stage democracy.” At this point it’s terminal, so all bets are off and so are my gloves.
Here’s the link to my old feature on some other commonly used political cognitive distortions.