whataboutism

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English[edit]

Wikipedia has an article on:
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Etymology[edit]

what about +‎ -ism

Noun[edit]

whataboutism (uncountable)

  1. A propaganda technique where criticisms are deflected by raising corresponding criticisms of the opposite side.
    • 1994, Austin, Joe, “The obdurate and the obstinate”, in Tony Parker, editors, May the Lord in His Mercy be Kind to Belfast, Henry Holt & Co, ISBN 978-0805030532, page 136:
      And I'd no time at all for 'What aboutism' - you know, people who said 'Yes, but what about what's been done to us? ... That had nothing to do with it, and if you got into it you were defending the indefensible.
    • 2008 January 31, Lucas, Edward, “Whataboutism - Come again, Comrade?”, in The Economist[1]:
      Soviet propagandists during the cold war were trained in a tactic that their western interlocutors nicknamed 'whataboutism'.
    • 2008 December 11, Staff writer, “The West is in danger of losing its moral authority”, in European Voice[2], retrieved 3 July 2017:
      'Whataboutism' was a favourite tactic of Soviet propagandists during the old Cold War. Any criticism of the Soviet Union’s internal aggression or external repression was met with a 'what about?' some crime of the West, from slavery to the Monroe doctrine.
    • 2014 August 25, Tracinski, Robert, “Crime: Understanding Ferguson: Fort Apache, Missouri”, in The Federalist[3]:
      Back in the Cold War, we had a term for this: 'whataboutism.' Whenever anyone criticized the Soviets about the gulags, their mouthpieces would start a sentence with 'What about...' and go on to talk about racism and poverty and whatever bad thing they could think of that was happening in the United States.
    • 2016 July 24, Dougherty, Jill, “Olympic doping ban unleashes fury in Moscow”, in CNN[4]:
      There's another attitude ... that many Russians seem to share, what used to be called in the Soviet Union 'whataboutism,' in other words, 'who are you to call the kettle black?'
    • 2017, Umland, Andreas, “The Ukrainian Government's Memory Institute Against the West”, in IndraStra Global[5], volume 3, number 3, ISSN 2381-3652, page 7:
      what was known during Soviet times, as 'whataboutism'
    • 2017 March 17, “Trump Embraces One Of Russia's Favorite Propaganda Tactics — Whataboutism”, in NPR[6], retrieved 20 May 2017:
      This particular brand of changing the subject is called 'whataboutism' — a simple rhetorical tactic heavily used by the Soviet Union and, later, Russia.

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