Both sides, part ∞

There’s a classic media training question that goes something like this: “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Answering either yes or no will make you look bad. The trick is to formulate an answer that both breaks down the premise of the question while also concise.

Solving this old media trick is similar to pushing back against people who spew “both sides are equally bad!!!” nonsense.

If you’re in a social situation and politics come up, it’s very common for someone to assert that both sides are equally bad. Such a statement requires no analysis or critical thought, and it allows the speaker to feel superior to everyone else. And while it may be accurate in a small percentage of specific situations, in most instances it’s total bunk.

But, how does one push back against such hogwash? If you agree with it, then you’re endorsing this nonsense rhetoric. If you disagree with it, it looks as if you are a mindless partisan, disagreeing with this enlightened centrism for no other reason than out of devotion for a political party. You can’t win.

I don’t quite know what to do in this situation, but I’ve had some success with this reply: “Do you really believe that’s the case?” It forces this proponent of BOTH SIDES!!!! to actually defend their point of view with logic and evidence. It might not be the most satisfying of answers, but it allows good conversations to get back on track.