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Welcome to the Whataboutism Museum

October 23, 2019
Welcome to the Whataboutism Museum
(GettyImages / Shutterstock)

Welcome, tourists, to the new Whataboutism Museum, built back in early 2020 to honor America’s bravest public figures – those who risked their own dignity by bringing up a completely unrelated issue in order to change the subject away from something politically damaging.

At the beginning of the tour, I’d like to thank the philanthropists at the Two Wrongs Definitely Make a Right Foundation for their generous financial contribution.

As you can see, the Whataboutism Museum now inhabits the stately structure that once held the Newseum near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The story is well worn, but it’s worth telling again: In late 2019, the American public rightly determined that the actual actions of our elected officials weren’t worth knowing; instead, the real story was everything the media refused to cover. What wasn’t news was now the only news.

On our left, you can see the museum’s most recent acquisition, a large copper statue of Maggie Haberman rolling her eyes while a Donald Trumpist-funded website lectures her on how reporting works. As you all remember, Haberman and her ilk at the New York Times actually believed it was newsworthy that the President of the United States was the subject of a criminal investigation by an independent prosecutor at the same time two FBI agents might have been carrying on an illicit affair.

On our right is the crown jewel of our collection, an entire wing dedicated to a golden era when personal shame vanished into the ether and whataboutism became the dominant argumentative ploy. I’m talking, of course, about October of 2019, a month that will forever be newsworthy, at least until someone points out a different month that is more deserving of coverage.

If you look to your left, you’ll see video of Golden State Warriors head coach and China money enthusiast Steve Kerr defending China’s authoritarian regime by equating that country’s enslavement of millions of Muslims with America’s Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Kerr, a world-renowned expert in both geopolitics and pointing at places on a basketball court and telling players to run there, thought the real story wasn’t the NBA’s capitulation to a brutal communist regime in order to keep money flowing to him and the league’s players, but instead the “human rights abuses” perpetuated by America’s founders by protecting the right of this nation’s citizens to own firearms.

On your right is a video display of a column written on October 10 by Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson entitled “We need answers to questions mainstream media won’t ask about Democrats.” As you all may remember, the column was issued in the heat of an impeachment controversy in which President Trump clearly asked foreign governments for help in finding damaging information on his domestic political opponents. It was as if, after escaping an inquiry into whether he colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election, Trump said, “I’ll show you people what real collusion is.”

Yet Johnson, dogged by questions about whether Trump’s actions were proper, thought the real story was a conspiracy theory straight from the amygdala of Sean Hannity – that the Democratic “deep state” had been conspiring against Trump all along. Johnson claimed he had “never seen a new president face such resistance,” which provoked an angry tweet from the ghost of James A. Garfield, who was felled by an assassin’s bullet six months into his first term.

However, Johnson was insistent an election that took place three years prior, and which a president of his party won, be re-litigated. Failing at this attempt, Johnson instead had the words “Hunter Biden” tattooed on his forehead.

Downstairs is our historical archive, where you can see audio/visual presentations of Republicans in the early 1970’s defending President Richard Nixon against Watergate charges by claiming Ted Kennedy’s involvement in Chappaquiddick was worse. You can see Soviet leaders defend their mass murders and gulags by invoking America’s history of slavery and poor treatment of Native Americans.

You can watch the video of the 2016 presidential debate where Trump defended himself against sexual assault allegations by hauling women who had accused President Bill Clinton of similar actions to the debate. You can pore over tweets from current Republicans who claim they cannot possibly be racist because the Republican Party freed the slaves in the 1860s.

You can relive the time that Trump supporters defended him against charges that he didn’t know why the Civil War was fought because President Barack Obama once said there were 57 states. Remember when Trump shared classified information with Russia during an impromptu conversation? Well, what about the time Barack Obama shared information with Cuba?

On the way out, be sure to swing by the gift shop, where you can buy one of our signature “To Quoque” t-shirts – just head to the register and pay Rudy Giuliani at the register. Granted, each shirt costs $500,000 (or barter for 5 Javelin missiles), but the good news is that you’ll be able to fire one American ambassador by the end of the day.

Christian Schneider

Christian Schneider is a member of the USA Today board of contributors and author of 1916: The Blog. Twitter: @Schneider_CM.