Bullshit Mountain is, in its vastness, quite the unique modern phenomenon. It is so large with lies, so mammoth with myths, and so whopping with whoppers (I’ve always wanted to say that one), that it seems impossible that it can exist without even its most ardent architects and devoted denizens somehow noticing that there is a tad bit of deception in the soil.
The truth is they DO notice on occasion. Given how often it is pointed out to them that they believe bullshit, it’s mathematically impossible for some sort of recognition of their bullshit not to bite them in the ass once in a while.
We see it all the time, in fact. There’s a dead giveaway EVERY single time a Trumpster, Tea Partier, Conservative, or any inhabitant of Bullshit Mountain realizes at some deep and barely perceptible level that they’ve been confronted with evidence that something they believe is bullshit:
“’Whataboutism (also known as whataboutery) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument, which is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda”
Obviously, they don’t always go for “BUT OBAMA!”. Tu quoque is employed any time the conscience-stricken find themselves unable to defend against an accusation or claim and desperately cast about for some equivalent example in order to avoid dealing with the initial charge. When, for instance, the prima facie evidence of criminality in the current administration is brought up, the defender might say, “BENGHAZI!!!™”, “Hillary’s Emails!”, “Uranium One!”, “BENGHAZI!!!™”, or of course; “BUT OBAMA!!”, as though the appearance of malfeasance by others somehow either justifies or dismisses the blatant criminality they’ve just been apprised of.
There is actually a perfectly logical, reasonable application of Tu Quoque; if the point of the accusation or claim IS someone’s hypocrisy, then it’s not a fallacious point at all. Asking someone why they are ‘just fine’ with all of Trump’s golfing when they had once railed against Obama for the same thing is a perfectly valid charge of hypocrisy because the POINT is the hypocrisy, not all the golfing.
But as is the case for so many conservatives, Tu Quoque is used to futilely avoid answering or defending against the charge by claiming the charge itself is ‘hypocritical’ even though it’s irrelevant whether the charge comes from a hypocrite or not.
Which brings me (finally) around to the nature of the bullshit I’m addressing in this article:
Recently I found a meme circulating the interwebz wherein (SURPRISE!) Fox “News” commentator Jeanine Pirro states, without a single shred of supporting evidence, that Robert Mueller was somehow involved in covering up, you guessed it… “Benghazi!”.
All by itself, this is a perfect example of Fox engaging to two fallacies at once: “What about Benghazi!?” and the Ad-hominem fallacy of ‘attacking the messenger’ by attacking Mueller. Fox has a long record of pushing right wing propaganda and more recently defending Trump. So when a man with impeccable integrity is conducting a close-to-the-vest investigation around a man who may turn out to be the most criminal president in our history, what other tactic can they use than to attack his character directly? Considering that they KNOW that they don’t know what Mueller knows and know that they know they don’t know because Mueller isn’t going to let anyone know what he knows because it’s an ongoing investigation; they know that their contention that “Mueller has nothing” rings as hollow as Trump’s cavernous, empty ego.
So the next best thing is to go after Mueller which, let’s face it, is only going to work on a Fox audience that can so easily ignore everything we know about Mueller’s integrity.
“You just don’t know, Bitches”
This particular piece of bullshit is not the actual point of this article, however. (Sorry if I’m Maddowing here a bit)
The point comes from the response I received from my conservative friend ‘Don’ when I posted the Pirro bullshit on social media and said, “It’s no longer a question of whether Fox “News” is a batshit crazy wingnut propaganda machine, it’s a question of “Just how much stupid, crazy shit can they convince their audience of?”.
One poster responded with the Tu quoque fallacy: “I guess as wingy as most corporate news outlets. Lot more left ones than right.”
Then my guy Don followed up with this:
*Warning: Clicking on wingnut sites like the following can put quite a load on your processor… because they are full of shit.*
So, Jeanine Pirro of Fox actually suggests that Robert Mueller was involved in an active cover up of “Benghazi!”, directly promoting an actual conspiracy theory. This is met with the ‘Tu quoque’ accusation that Cuomo was doing the same thing.
So was he? Did Cuomo actually ‘push’ his own conspiracy theory the way Pirro did hers? To answer that, all we have to do is watch the video.
(Try to avoid eye-contact with the grinning gremlin to the left)
In the video, Cuomo reports on the existence of a conspiracy group called ‘Q anon’. This is ‘promoting’ a conspiracy the same way reporting on cancer ‘promotes’ cancer. This is to say that the headline is misleading. To put it another way; the headline is completely full of shit.
Going deeper into ALL the CNN reporting on Q anon, we find that everything CNN reports is simply a fact about the existence of the conspiracy group.
– They report on the existence of a conspiracy group called ‘Q anon’.
-They report that Q anon believes in a ‘Deep State’.
-They report that Q anon believes Trump is ‘secretly communicating’ with them.
-They report that Q anon believes every stupid conspiracy that Trump has come up with.
– They report that the Q anon movement is therefore fueled by Trump’s most ridiculous claims.
Are these points of reporting true and accurate?
So how is this ‘promoting a conspiracy theory’ the way Pirro promoted the “Benghazi! Mueller cover-up” theory? It’s not. Cuomo even goes so far as to suggest that Trump has no idea that Q anon is awaiting his ‘secret communications’ when he says: “I don’t see that as being intentional.”
Which brings us to the overriding point of this article; a point that is more frightening and dumbfounding than the absurdity of Trumpsters desperately casting about to point fingers in order to escape the realization that they are actively or passively accepting bullshit just because it goes along with their world view, a point that explains why it is impossible to communicate with people who can’t ‘logic’, a point that…..
They don’t know the difference between actual reporting and the deliberate promotion of agendas, conspiracy theories, and just plain bullshit. The Tu quoque response is HOW they avoid the realization that they listen and adhere to bullshit. Not knowing the difference between actual journalism and network propaganda is WHY they’re perfectly okay with doing it.
In this case, my buddy Don thought that Cuomo simply reporting on a conspiracy group and factually detailing what they believe was the same thing as a commentator (who isn’t an actual journalist) going on the air and telling her audience that there was an actual conspiracy where Robert Mueller somehow ‘covered up’ evidence of an actual crime. Naturally, this is EXACTLY what the “BENGHAZI!!!™” believing Fox “News” audience wants to believe despite ZERO actual evidence of either claim being true. One is ‘reporting’ on a conspiracy group, the other is ‘promoting a conspiracy’.
When people are so deeply scrubbed of their ability to think critically and make critical distinctinctions, they become easy marks for the sort of right-wing brainwashing we see all the time. They are just the sort of mindless saps who would call a detailed explanation and logical breakdown of something that is bullshit, “Bullshit”.
Because they just don’t know any better.