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Whataboutism (også kjent som whataboutery[1][2]) er en diskusjons- og propagandateknikk som har til hensikt å diskreditere en motstanders påstand ved å rette en anklage tilbake om hykleri, uten direkte å motbevise eller avkrefte deres argument.[3][4][5][6][7]

Whataboutism kan være en form for ad hominem-argument for eksempel i form av «ja, men hvor var du da...» eller «hvorfor kritisere bare A og ikke B».[8][9] Whataboutism fungerer som en avledningsmanøver eller skifte av tema[7][10][11][5][12] og involverer ofte tilsynelatende relevante eller direkte villedende analogier som kan være vanskelig å argumentere mot. Whataboutism er tankevekkende poeng som gir tilsynelatende balanse og bredere perspektiv, samtidig skaper det uklarhet om skyld og ansvar ved en moralsk relativisering.[13][4][14][15][16] Typisk for den sovjetiske varianten var å peke på at alle var skyldig i noe og på den måten ble det underforstått sagt at ingen var spesielt skyldig i noe.[7]

Eksempler[rediger | rediger kilde]

Teknikken er kjent særlig fra sovjetisk[17][5][4] og russisk propaganda,[18] og også i diskusjoner som omhandler forholdet mellom Israel og palestinere. I forholdet mellom Israel og palestinere har argumentet ofte formen «ja, det er forferdelig, men dette må forstås på bakgrunn av....».[7] Etter terrorangrepet mot Israel i oktober 2023 var det i debatten, ifølge Los Angeles Times, en del argumentasjon som ikke kunne ganske enkelt konstatere at det var en forbrytelse, men skyldte på ofrene og Israel.[19] Da det ble rettet kritikk, f.eks. fra USA mot Sovjetunionen om brudd på menneskerettighetene i landet, kunne det sovjetiske svaret være: «Hva med USA? Dere lynsjer de svarte.» («what about…»).[20] Ehud Barak kritiserte for eksempel i en kronikk i New York Times Benjamin Netanyahu for å drive whataboutism i sin polemikk.[21] Donald Trump er kjent for å bruk whataboutismer.[4][22][12] Vladimir Putin er kjent for bruk av whataboutism særlig fra 2012. Da en journalist i 2014 utfordret Putin om annekteringen av Krim svarte Putin med snakke om USAs annektering av Texas i 1845.[23][4][16] Kinesiske myndigheter har i enkelte tilfeller brukt taktikken for å unnvike kritikk av menneskrettsbrudd i landet.[6]

Referanser[rediger | rediger kilde]

  1. ^ Ganguly, M. (2017). Engaging in Whataboutery instead of Protecting Rights. Brown J. World Aff., 24, 39. «This term does not refer to protesting inconsistencies by making a reasoned argument that presents opposing facts. Rather, whataboutery is used as a much more sinister challenge to human rights: the practice wherein perpetrators of violations, or their supporters, do not deny the abuses, but instead justify them and shout down criticism by citing the wrongdoings of their victims. All too often, they absolve collective punishment through whataboutery. »
  2. ^ Little, A., & Rogers, J. B. (2017). The politics of ‘whataboutery’: The problem of trauma trumping the political in conflictual societies. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 19(1), 172-187. «‘Whataboutery’ is a term used to refer to the propensity of political actors to allude to the victims, or families of victims, who have suffered great loss in violent events as a means of suggesting that their deprivation is more significant than and transcends subsequent political development. In Northern Ireland, for example, where so much political discourse has been conducted as a ‘zero-sum game’, it is not unusual to hear political actors speak of acts of violence to negate political developments which they oppose. The lament of ‘what about Bloody Sunday?’ or ‘what about Enniskillen?’ became commonplace through the process of change and subsequent political developments.»
  3. ^ Khazan, Olga (2. august 2013). «The Soviet-Era Strategy That Explains What Russia Is Doing With Snowden». The Atlantic (engelsk). Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Zak, Dan (8. april 2023). «Whataboutism: The Cold War tactic, thawed by Putin, is brandished by Donald Trump». Washington Post (engelsk). ISSN 0190-8286. Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. «His campaign may or may not have conspired with Moscow, but President Trump has routinely employed a durable old Soviet propaganda tactic. Tuesday’s bonkers news conference in New York was Trump’s latest act of “whataboutism,” the practice of short-circuiting an argument by asserting moral equivalency between two things that aren’t necessarily comparable.» 
  5. ^ a b c Headley, James (1. september 2015). «Challenging the EU’s claim to moral authority: Russian talk of ‘double standards’». Asia Europe Journal (engelsk). 13 (3): 297–307. ISSN 1612-1031. doi:10.1007/s10308-015-0417-y. Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. 
  6. ^ a b Brandt, Jessica (3. juli 2021). «How Autocrats Manipulate Online Information: Putin’s and Xi’s Playbooks». The Washington Quarterly (engelsk). 44 (3): 127–154. ISSN 0163-660X. doi:10.1080/0163660X.2021.1970902. Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. 
  7. ^ a b c d Fettweis, Christopher J. (2021). «After Trump: Enemies, Partisans, and Recovery». Political Science Quarterly. 136 (4): 667–687. ISSN 0032-3195. doi:10.1002/polq.13242. Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. «The Soviet Self-Defense: “Whataboutism”: The easiest way to defend one’s position is to deflect all responsibility by pointing out the failings of the other side. It is also one of the most pointless. When Israelis and Palestinians are asked about the various evils perpetrated by their countrymen, for example, they usually respond with some version of this rhetorical formula: yes, that is obviously terrible, but you have to understand the context and history (insert terrible thing done by the other side). This “yes… but” construction allows partisans to distract and change the subject, putting the debate on more comfortable ground.» 
  8. ^ Jones, M. O. (2022). Digital authoritarianism in the Middle East: Deception, disinformation and social media. Hurst Publishers.
  9. ^ Borovali, M. (2018). Ad hominem argumentation in politics. Philosophy & Social Criticism, 44(4), 426-436.«The above discussed consequences can also be encountered following a similar form of ad hominem response. The reply to the criticism or condemnation in such cases is formulated in a way that completes the following rhetorical question: “where were you when...?” Here, the critic is accused of having been silent in the face of comparable act(s) in the past. Having omitted to condemn previous similar instances, she is now accused of engaging in a certain “motivated selectiveness.”2 The current situation is argued to be “conveniently” selected for condemnation, thereby suggesting an inconsistent implementation of the principles that should underly the moral stance of the critic. The critic is accused of choosing the instance in question for denunciation while disregarding similar acts which should also be objectionable from the expressed standpoint of the critic. In light of this “selectiveness,” it is held that the denouncer is engaging in hypocrisy, as the adopted moral principles are not wholeheartedly embraced in reality. »
  10. ^ «Ja? Du, da?». morgenbladet.no. 10. oktober 2018. Besøkt 16. oktober 2018. «Avledningsmanøveren: Når statsministeren selv er gjenstand for kritikk, så avleder hun ved å hevde at noen andre også har gjort noe galt.» 
  11. ^ Islam, Shahinul (1. august 2018). «Bangladeshi Politicians, the People, and Whataboutism». Crossings: A Journal of English Studies (engelsk). 9: 45–50. ISSN 2958-3179. doi:10.59817/cjes.v9i.104. Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. 
  12. ^ a b Baker, Peter (2. august 2023). «For the Court of Public Opinion, Trump Relies on a ‘Whataboutism’ Defense». The New York Times (engelsk). ISSN 0362-4331. Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. «The wave of whataboutism from Trump world crested with this week’s indictment but has been building for months, a way of shifting attention from the former president’s kaleidoscopic legal troubles.» 
  13. ^ Sullivan, Jake (7. februar 2017). «The Slippery Slope of Trump’s Dangerous ‘Whataboutism’». Foreign Policy (engelsk). Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. «“Whataboutism,” with its sly equivalences, false parallels, and misleading analogies, can exhaust and frustrate those who confront it» 
  14. ^ Judge, Michael (22. mars 2017). «Q&A: Garry Kasparov on the press and propaganda in Trump’s America». Columbia Journalism Review (engelsk). Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. 
  15. ^ Grant, Sarah (13. november 2017). «See John Oliver Break Down Trump's Three Dangerous Manipulation Tactics». Rolling Stone (engelsk). Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. 
  16. ^ a b Rotaru, Vasile (2. januar 2020). «Silencing the contestant. Legitimizing Crimea’s annexation by mimicking the West». European Security (engelsk). 29 (1): 96–118. ISSN 0966-2839. doi:10.1080/09662839.2019.1688303. Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. «These examples used in comparison with actions in Crimea show that besides emulating compliance with international rules and norms, Russia is also trying to relativise the violation of the international law by accusing the West (its contestant) of similar deeds. This phenomenon is an illustration of what many experts define as “whataboutism” – a form of moral relativism that responds to criticism with a simple response: “but you do it too” (Conradi Citation2017, p. 282).» 
  17. ^ Gessen, K. (2014). What's the Matter with Russia: Putin and the Soviet Legacy. Foreign Affairs, 93, 182. «When Putin wants to appeal to Russian patriotism, he invokes Stalin's triumph in World War II rather than the achievements of the less tyrannical leaders who followed Stalin. More broadly, Russian political elites have clearly decided that they will no longer beat themselves up for the sins of the past -- after all, other countries have sinned, too, they like to note, in the style of classic Soviet "whataboutism."»
  18. ^ Szostek, J. (2017). The power and limits of Russia’s strategic narrative in Ukraine: The role of linkage. Perspectives on Politics, 15(2), 379-395. «Disinformation and “whataboutism” undoubtedly featurestronglyinRussianstate-sponsoredmediacontent, but from this it would be wrong to conclude that the Russian leadership has no interest in persuading international audiences and seeks only to “dismiss, distort, distract and dismay.”47 For years, a highly consistent narrative has run through the content of Russian statecontrolled media and official statements. The narrative problematizes American or Western “hypocrisy” and “interference”; blames these traits for global instability; and advocates a “multipolar” world as the optimal solution, in which non-Western states such as Russia would balance American power.48 »
  19. ^ «The disgusting 'whataboutism' after Hamas' attack on Israel». Los Angeles Times (engelsk). 14. oktober 2023. Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. 
  20. ^ «Whataboutism». The Economist. Besøkt 17. desember 2017. 
  21. ^ Barak, Ehud (1. desember 2017). «Opinion | We Must Save Israel From Its Government». New York Times (engelsk). Besøkt 9. august 2018. 
  22. ^ Saresma, T., Karkulehto, S., Varis, P. (2021). Gendered Violence Online: Hate Speech as an Intersection of Misogyny and Racism. In: Husso, M., Karkulehto, S., Saresma, T., Laitila, A., Eilola, J., Siltala, H. (eds): Violence, Gender and Affect . Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56930-3_11
  23. ^ Sullivan, Jake (7. februar 2017). «The Slippery Slope of Trump’s Dangerous ‘Whataboutism’». Foreign Policy (engelsk). Besøkt 28. oktober 2023. «When Western governments condemned Putin’s crackdown on the post-election protests, “Kremlin officials were ready with: ‘What about the United Kingdom? Breaking the law during public gatherings there could lead to fine of 5,800 pounds sterling or even prison.’”»