You know how kids will use this excuse when caught doing something wrong? Maybe you used it as a child once or twice. Maybe you have children and you’ve heard it from them. Has it ever been a good excuse? Does it justify anything? I don’t think it does and I doubt I have to convince anyone of that.
Have you noticed though how often it is used by adults? Perhaps it’s simply an aspect of getting older but I seem to notice it more and more not just among everyday adults, but in our politicians and in our media.
Take for example the case of one presidential candidate turned FoX correspondent, Mike Huckabee. Occasionally he’ll come onto The Daily Show and speak with John Stewart. I remember one time watching John Stewart attempt to get this man to admit to having demonstrated provable bias and misreporting. His response was to keep saying, “But liberals do it all the time.” Leaving aside the truth of this statement, John kept pressing him on the issue saying that yes, that’s very likely, but he’s not talking about them right now.
I do use FoX News because they’re a very obvious example of this kind of thing. They regularly justify their bias by saying things like, “We report the other side,” and by pointing out how biased all the other media outlets are in the other direction. Of course, if you’ve read my earlier blog about self-justification and cognitive dissonance you might see how they can fall into actually seeing this as a legitimate reason to lie and distort the truth when reporting. They even go so far as to excuse their behavior by saying they are an entertainment company, not a news company when caught red handed in knowingly telling lies…as if this could justify the act of saying something you know is not true in such a way as to get others to believe that it is.
They’re far from the only ones though and Republicans and other conservatives do not have a monopoly on public displays of childish behavior. Keith Olberman for example, though maybe at one time a good journalist with integrity, became nothing more than a verbose blowhard serving the very same role as O’Reily and Beck under the liberal banner. His Worst Person in the World segment was one of the most vulgar displays of the worst kind of punditry I’d ever seen. I was glad to see him go.
Though I cannot come up with any example of an obviously liberally biased “reporter” excusing their behavior with, “But they do it too,” like FoX, I do recognize that this is probably due more to my own blind spots and biases than the truth. I’m sure they’re out there. I also recognize and see that many liberal “talking heads” are obviously made to be counterpoint to FoX’s commentators and others like them.
I’m not trying to say that one “side” is innocent in this, I’m simply hoping to point out something that once pointed out in this manner may get people to reconsider their support for these kinds of people. I really think we need to stop accepting these blowhards as legitimate sources of information no matter what side of the political spectrum we fall on and no matter whether they’re saying the things we like to hear or not. People like this, shows like this, and networks like this are creating a vision of more divide between the people and politicians in this country than there really is or should be….and it’s having an effect on our politicians, who do whatever it takes to get reelected, even if that means destroying this entire country because of lines drawn in the sand between parties.
It’s time for us to stop accepting it and making excuses. When a Republican politician does something disgusting or a conservative news network lies then Republican supporters need to start calling them on it. When a Democrat politician or “news person” does the same we liberals need to stand up and say, “Dude, you’re being an ass.” Whenever anyone says, “But they do it too,” we all need to stand together and say, “You’re a fucking child. Admit your mistakes and grow the fuck up!”
Sure, maybe you’ll still vote for them as, “…the lesser of two evils..,” but at least maybe we can all begin noticing that we’re really not all that different, neither “side” is actively trying to destroy this country or burn The Constitution. We all simply have different ideas of what needs to be done, how, and why.
It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things. — Terry Pratchet, Jingo