Political Animal


June 13, 2012 11:05 AM False Equivalence Watch, Greek Edition

By Paul Glastris

From Tom Friedman’s column today, an abhorrent false equivalence in the service of a strained analogy (itals mine):

For many years, strategists have debated whether Turkey would be a “bridge” or a “gully” between predominantly Christian Europe and the Arab/Muslim Middle East. If Turkey were admitted to the European Union, it would be a bridge binding these two worlds. If it were kept out of the E.U., it could become a gully separating the two. It turns out that Turkey these days is neither a bridge nor a gully. It’s an island — an island of relative stability between two great geopolitical systems that are cracking apart: the euro zone that came into being after the cold war, and the Arab state system that came into being after World War I are both coming unglued.
The stresses are getting to everyone. The reactions range from the truly horrific murders perpetrated by the Assad mafia family clinging to power in Syria to the disturbing fight that broke out last Thursday on a morning TV talk show in Greece, where the spokesman of a far-right party tossed water in the face of a woman from the left-wing party on the show and then smacked another woman panelist in the face three times.
Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly.


  • T2 on June 13, 2012 11:34 AM:

    right....horrible atrocities are not equivalent to throwing a glass of water on someone (unless it is the WIcked Witch of the West).
    But really, why is anyone still reading Tom Friedman anymore?

  • deanarms on June 13, 2012 11:39 AM:

    Tom Friedman descended into the valley of irrelevance some time ago. He still manages to find new depths. As a Greek American, I was embarrassed and angered by the video tape of that slapping. As a human being, I was nauseated and revulsed by Assad's crimes. There is no comparison. Friedman should be ashamed for mentioning the two events in the same breath.

  • Ron Byers on June 13, 2012 11:43 AM:

    Years ago Friedman had some interesting ideas, but lately he has been a hack.

    I have to agree with T2. Friedman hasn't got a clue, but fortunately for him continues to be paid handsomely by the equally clueless.

    I don't think there is much danger of EU politicians turning
    death squad loose on demonstrators.

    Anyway, who says Turkey is all that stable? It could fall apart at any time.

  • internet tough guy on June 13, 2012 11:43 AM:

    Who's worse? Friedman for writing this crap, or his editor for thinking it was worthy of print?

  • stormskies on June 13, 2012 11:59 AM:

    The corporate media's hysterical desperation to always create equivalents has now manifested as this piece of shit paper with Friedman's name on it.

  • T22 on June 13, 2012 12:01 PM:

    "Who's worse? Friedman for writing this crap, or his editor for thinking it was worthy of print?"
    or worthy of a blog entry?

  • Alan Tomlinson on June 13, 2012 12:05 PM:

    "Who's worse? Friedman for writing this crap, or his editor for thinking it was worthy of print?"
    or worthy of a blog entry?



    Alan Tomlinson

    P.S. If this is too subtle, let me make it plain. Mr. Friedman is a columnist for a formerly great newspaper(sigh); this does not make him relevant, intelligent or even interesting. Giving him space in your head is like singing "Itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny yellow polka dot bikini." It is annoying, it is a waste of time, and it's presence makes you even more stupid.

  • Rabbler on June 13, 2012 12:17 PM:

    "The reactions range from the truly horrific... to the disturbing"

    I call false false equivalence! I found the island metaphor creative and interesting and I hate Friedman. I have only read and will only read what was provided of the article.

  • c u n d gulag on June 13, 2012 12:20 PM:

    I think Friedman and Brooks are having a competition to see who can be more inane, insane, insipid, and out of touch.

    And so far, it's a flat-footed tie!

  • smartalek on June 13, 2012 7:58 PM:

    Now, see, this claim of ostensible "false equivalence" is where you went wrong -- because it fails to take into proper account the necessary context.
    This Assad character is your standard-issue mideastern Mooslim dictator, just like Sodom Hussein and Moomar Khaddafi and Imadinnerjacket and all. And in that context, this isn't especially bad, or even noteworthy behavior.
    But Greeks? Aside from being lazy tax-cheats looking to get free handouts from the highly-productive Germans, there's nothing wrong with them. Don't forget they're the very cradle of our civilization, and all that.
    So for one of them -- and a conservative, too, apparently -- to lose his temper at some loony-lib woman, while understandable, is actually, in context, far worse than another Mideast monarch just doin' what comes naturally to his kind...