Whataboutism Fallacy Definition | Whataboutism Fallacy Examples
What is Whataboutism?
Whataboutism is a term used to describe the act of responding to an accusation by making a counter-accusation. The term whataboutism comes from the word “what about” and refers to changing the subject or deflecting blame.
For example, if someone accuses you of being late for work because you slept in, then your response might be that they are also late for work because they are always on Facebook.
Whataboutism Fallacy Definition
The whataboutism fallacy is a type of logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s argument by charging them with hypocrisy without addressing the substance of their argument.
It typically takes one of two forms: either “What about X?” where X refers to some event or action, often in the past, or “But you did Y!”
This tactic is used as a defense mechanism when it becomes difficult for someone to make an effective counterargument.
Whataboutism is a fallacy that occurs when someone responds to an accusation by making counter-accusations against the accuser or those associated with the accuser. It can also be called “tu quoque” (Latin for “you too”), and it’s often seen in political debates.
The term was popularized by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during his 1956 speech at the United Nations General Assembly. He used this tactic to deflect criticism about Joseph Stalin’s rule over Russia, which had been marked by famine and mass executions.
In response to accusations of human rights violations under Stalin, Khrushchev said: “And you are so proud of your democracy! What about the lynchings in Mississippi?”
The term “whataboutism” was also featured by author and critic Edward S. Herman in his 1982 book, “The Real Terror Network: Terrorism In Fact And Propaganda,” with reference to Soviet propaganda during the Cold War.
The fallacy of whataboutism is used to deflect criticism by pointing out that someone else has done something similar or worse. It can also be used as a rhetorical device to avoid addressing the issue at hand.
Whataboutism Fallacy Examples
Whataboutism logical fallacy examples
Whataboutism is a logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s argument by charging them with hypocrisy without addressing the substance of their argument. The use of whataboutism is often considered fallacious because it fails to address the issue at hand and instead diverts attention elsewhere, usually to one’s own actions or beliefs.
Examples include: “What about when you did X?” and “How come I’m being blamed for this when they’re doing it too?”
Examples include “What about when America invaded Iraq?” or “What about when you cheated on your wife?”
Whataboutism Vs. Hypocrisy
Whataboutism is a rhetorical strategy in which one party responds to an argument by making counter-accusations against the other. On the other hand, Hypocrisy is when someone says or does one thing but expects others to do another.
Whataboutism is a rhetorical device that shifts the blame for an action or event from one person to another. Hypocrisy is when someone says something but does not follow through with their words.
Whataboutism can be seen as a type of hypocrisy because it implies that someone else has done something bad and then turning around and saying “What about them?”
For example, if you were to say, “I’m going to go out drinking tonight,” and your friend responds by saying, “But what about me?” they are using whataboutism.
Whataboutism is a rhetorical device used to deflect criticism by changing the topic of discussion, and hypocrisy pretends to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, or feelings that one does not actually possess.