“Both sides do it” journalism is a scourge because it starts from a false premise — that everyone’s exactly alike and does things for the exact same reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth. If Democrats could march in lockstep with each other, they’d be Republicans. And if Republicans could care about people over money, they’d be Democrats. All you have to do is listen to a progressive speak to appreciate that their aspirations are hopeful, wanting as much happiness and success for as many people as possible. Listen to a conservative and you get cynicism. Expect the worst of people (meaning non-white, non-Christian people) and legislate accordingly. Meanwhile, suck up every dollar you can.
A rapist and his victim both have stories to tell. The rapist — needing to justify a criminal act — will insist his victim “wanted it” or was asking for it. Or maybe even consented to it and is lying now. That’s a point of view. It’s a “side” in the story. It’s just not an honest side. In fact, it’s flat out dishonest. That means, if we’re discussing “sides” to a story meaning legitimate reasons for doing a thing as opposed to, say, just because you’re a bully, it’s going to be hard for the bully to ever justify their bullying. Except maybe to other bullies.
We’ve heard more than enough — way, way, WAAAAAAAY more than enough — to appreciate that cruelty for cruelty’s sake (and corruption for corruption’s sake) is now baked into the Republican brand. Want to dissuade desperate people from fleeing to America in search of hope? Imprison their children at the border. Want to steal an election you’re losing overwhelmingly? Pack the federal bench — up to and including the SCOTUS — with lifetime appointments you denied Barack Obama. For some reason, our Big Story-loving news media can’t keep it in its head that Donald Trump is the first POTUS ever to run for re-election HAVING BEEN IMPEACHED. Icing on the cake? He was impeached for cheating in the very election he’s now running in.
And still cheating!
We’ve now openly heard Republicans saying “own voter suppression!” In other words, be proud of your cheating and naked attempts to undermine the integrity of our democratic system of self-government. That is their point — their “side of the argument”. End it all. Cease to be a self-ruled democratic republic. Become instead a minority-ruled authoritarian hell hole. As we speak, We The People are going to the polls in numbers We The People don’t ever go to the polls.
Take this to the bank: people standing in line for eight hours to vote are not doing that so they can vote for Donald Trump. We’re saying something right out loud by our individual and collective actions: we don’t want what Donald Trump and the Republican Party are doing. We never did. When Americans show up en masse to vote — that’s what our votes say: “whatever the Republicans want, we want the opposite”.
If we were having a conversation with the Republicans instead of voting against them, we’d be telling them: “you have no point”.
Considering as how Republicans rely on cheating to win elections rather than arguing their points (and letting the marketplace of ideas dictate the results), they must not believe their own crap either. Even THEY don’t think they have a point.
And yet — because a Republican spouts the party line — unfounded on anything substantive as it might be — our news media trips over itself trying to present this shotgun blast of bullshit with the other side’s point of view. If, that point of view represents the truth (say climate science versus climate denial) then the news media — in trying to be “fair” presents these two arguments (before they realized how stupid they were being) — would have a conversation that presented truth and bullshit as a fifty-fifty proposition.
Truth and bullshit were given equal weight — as if they weighed the same — and it was left to the news media’s audience to decide if bullshit was truer than truth.
That is the false premise that flows from “both sides do it”. Bullshit and the truth might as well be the same thing. It’s not the journalist’s job to discern between them — having already elevated bullshit and demeaned truth.
What “side” could Donald Trump possibly have for backing Vladimir Putin time and time again?
What “side” could Lindsey Graham have for ferociously backing a man he said would be the destruction of the Republican Party?
What “side” could anyone possibly have for putting children in cages?
What “side” could anyone possibly have for turning mask-wearing into a political statement?
What “side” could any of the eight Republicans have for spending July 4, 2018 in Moscow?
What “side” could Jeffrey Epstein possibly have had? What side could Ghislane Maxwell or any of Jeff’s other pervy friends have had? What side could Bill Barr possibly have — in ANYTHING?
What “side” does Mitch McConnell have for refusing to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively backing Donald Trump in the 2016 election?
What “side” does former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have for not calling the FBI when, during the 2016 GOP convention, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told him “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”?
What “side” does any Republican Senator have for refusing to convict Trump and remove him from office?
What “side” does anyone have for keeping that “R” next to their name?
As we know — they’re happy to tell us — Republicans always have their point of view. But, being as it’s the point of view of corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynist traitors, no “side” goes with that.