Posts Tagged ‘false equivalence’
Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Bully apologists always claim there are two sides to every workplace bullying story. That’s true. But they assume that both sides are factually and morally equivalent. That’s not true. Just as in domestic violence cases, the abuser does have a side. He (thinks he deserves and) “needs” to be free to express himself with physical aggression against his partner, even feeling murder is justified because “if I can’t have her, no one will.” That certainly is a side, an opinion and a strongly-held belief.
Contrast that irrational view with the other side, the perspective of the abused partner. Her needs stipulate an end to threats of violence, of constantly living in fear of unpredictable emotional and physical explosions. She needs safety — physical and psychological — for herself and the children.
Yes, there are two sides, but with whom does a decent person side? Who has credibility? Who would you believe when their tales clash? Who benefits from lying and who does not? It’s not too difficult to distinguish reality from fiction in domestic violence cases.
Now turn to abuse in the workplace. It stops short of physical attacks, but is psychological violence nevertheless. As illustrated above, there are two sides to the story. One such scenario played out in public recently. Which side do you believe?
Tags: abused, abuser, domestic violence, false equivalence, Gary Namie, two sides, workplace bullying
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Tuesday, January 1st, 2013
We just finished a general election with more lying by candidates than usual. The news media did not brand them liars. Instead, they treated all candidates as if they were equivalent, even if one side uses facts. This is implying an equivalence that is not real; it is false.
A similar tactic is when one person whose opinion denies climate change (backed by 24 published articles) is shown on TV split screen during an interview with one person discussing the science of climate change (backed by 13,950 published articles). Just appearing side-by-side implies that the two “experts” are equivalent. But only one side is backed by facts and evidence. Treating opinions and facts as equal defines false equivalence.
And so it is with workplace bullying, a phenomenon characterized by an imbalance of real, effective power at work, leaving one person much less powerful than the other. By the time the targeted person realizes what has happened, she or he is severely compromised.
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
The world of experts on student-age bullying is vast. At WBI, we stick to adults. Writing about school bullying for the Huffington Post, Marlo Thomas today wrote an essay which includes one of our major themes for 2012. She wrote
“This isn’t a case of “there are two sides to every argument.” There’s only one side to this conflict, and we all know who starts it.”
In other words, by making the bully’s needs equivalent to those of the target, to treat the bully’s lies as having as much credibility as the truth that belongs to targets, targets’ power is compromised. It creates the power imbalance needed for bullying to be effective, especially among coworkers who presumably have equal status at work.