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Equal Blame

Billy and Bobby – normally well behaved boys – are bored one day, so they pick up a few stones and throw them at a house.

There’s some minor damage – a chipped window, a broken light fixture, some dents in the siding.


Johnny – the neighborhood terror – comes along with a bowling ball, and throws it at the house.

The ball crashes through a window, then shatters a glass coffee table, ultimately landing on the dog laying under the table, killing the dog.


Neighbor A calls the cops. Neighbor B runs outside to confront the children.

The police arrive, and question the boys and the neighbors separately.

The homeowner arrives home, sees the damage and becomes justifiably angry. He wants to know who did this to his home and dog.


Neighbor A tells the homeowner which damage was caused by each boy.

Neighbor B tells the homeowner that all of the boys were responsible, and they should be blamed equally, and should receive equal punishment.


Word starts to spread throughout the neighborhood about what happened.

Billy and Bobby try to explain to people that they know what they did was wrong, and they’re willing to pay for the damages they caused, but don’t feel it’s right that they share equal blame for the worst of the damage. Neighbor A corroborates what they’ve said, and defends them.

Neighbor B and Johnny very loudly and persistently try to tell people that all the boys are equally to blame, and that Johnny wouldn’t have done what he did if he hadn’t seen the other boys throwing rocks first.


It ends up going to court. You’re the judge. What’s your ruling? What is the punishment? Who pays for the damages? Are all three boys equally responsible?







Now apply this scenario to politics and news. Are all politicians the same; should they share equal responsibility for destroying our country?

Are all news outlets the same? Is it morally right to say, “they all did it, they’re all to blame!”? Or are you just trying to obfuscate the fact that one news outlet is much worse than all the others.

When the wrongs that one person, one company, one political party do severely outweigh the wrongs that another person, company or political party do, should they all receive equal blame, equal punishment? Is that fair?

Again, you’re the judge. What’s your ruling?


  1. March 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Dear Shelli, I don’t think they are equally responsible but I do believe that they all committed a crime. But if you want to move this to the politicians and the news organizations then we have a slightly different situation. At this point there is only one politician that I believe actually has principles, and that is Dennis Kucinich, and it will eventually cost him. I don’t think the rest are even interested in the vast majority of people that voted for them, they are instead interested in the wealthy people that pay for their campaigns. That creates a situation where the people are not served and bad things keep happening. I think in the end it is our fault for allowing this to happen. I can no longer vote for anyone that doesn’t care about people. As for the new organizations, again they are not interested in news, they are interested in making money. What we get out of the is what, I recently heard called NEWS PORN. Yes there is Fox and there is MSNBC. These two are mirror images of each other. There is also CNN and even though they try to be non biased they don’t really do new in any detail. Again we can change this by refusing to by the products that they advertise and letting them know what we are doing. Great Blog and excellent question. Peace, howie

    • March 31, 2011 at 6:59 am

      Yes, I agree that the boys all committed a crime. Should they be charged equally? How about paying for the crimes they committed? Equally or not?

      As for politicians, yes, they all share in some responsibility, but is it fair to lump them all in together? Are they equally, across the board, all responsible?

      News organizations, almost all of them are slanted one way or the other. But when one (namely Faux “news”) distorts things, lies, and turns their network into a campaign for a particular politician or party … should ALL news organizations be lumped together under the same umbrella?

      I truly believe that the answer to any of these questions is: “no, they should be responsible for whatever damage they caused, but not for the damages of others.”

  2. Jenny
    March 31, 2011 at 7:30 am

    I agree with both of the above posts – they should be responsible for their personal actions and damages, not the damages of others. As members of society, we all contribute in some manner to both the good and the bad aspects of that society, but we cannot be held accountable for actions of other individuals that we are not able to prevent. In the above scenario – yes, the two boys with the stones were responsible for what they did, but unless they MADE the boy get the bowling ball, or even actively coerced him into this act, they are not responsible for his actions. Yes, they all should have known better, but there IS a difference in the magnitude of their actions, and their penalty should reflect this magnitude.

    The actions of ‘news’ networks should be considered in the same manner. They all SHOULD know better, and SHOULD be aware of the influence they have on society. They need to be aware of the power and influence they wield, and they need to take responsibility for skewing facts and distorting the truth. I understand Canada is not allowing Fox News to broadcast in their country – I applaud this. If and when Fox takes the ‘news’ title away from their name and message, I think they should then be allowed to broadcast. Here in the US, with our dedication to free speech, I wish we would also require some sort of ‘truth in advertising’. I don’t care WHAT Fox says, I think they should have the right to say it – what I do object to is their classifying it as ‘news’. There should be some sort of accountability to actual facts. If they are going to replace facts with opinions, it should be clearly stated as such. I have family members who accept everything they hear on Fox as undisputed truth – I would like to see ALL news organizations held to very high standards of truth and impartiality. If they don’t meet the standards, they should not be able to advertise themselves as ‘news’.

    The main problem here is that these organizations are willfully skewing facts and are endorsing politicians, etc., to further their own political agenda. They know exactly what they are doing. Yes, they are in it to make money, but they are also in it to further their political and economic agenda. If they can control the masses with their propaganda, they can (and do) rule the world.

    • March 31, 2011 at 8:16 am

      Very well said, Jenny!

      We used to have that “truth in advertising” as part of the news. That was shot all to hell by … you guessed it, a Republican. Now news doesn’t have to be factual. It is wonderful to know that Canada won’t allow Faux into their country. Unfortunately, they still end up seeing the BS anyway.

    • March 31, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Oops, I forgot to mention that Faux went to court to defend their right to lie.

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