Sometimes there is no third option to use, you can't get out of a situation without making yourself look bad. So your best option is basically to take the lesser of two evils. The catch is that the options that gives you the least problems is also the ones that makes you look like you had no idea what you are doing. So instead you make yourself look guilty in an effort to keep up your reputation. Examples:
- Named from the film version of The Sum of All Fears, where the Russian President takes responsibility for a military strike done by a general acting without orders so it doesn't seem like he was incompetent. This leads to a later argument with the US President over who was actually in control of his military.
- In Transformers Prime, Miko followed Bulkhead into a dangerous situation without his initial knowledge and thus he worked on trying to keep her safe while still completing the operation. Upon returning to base Optimus Prime berates Bulkhead for his poor judgement, and Bulkhead just apologizes. When Miko tries to fess up to her actions Bulkhead quiets her down.
- In How I Met Your Mother Robin's little sister comes to visit and hints towards wanting to lose her virginity to her boyfriend (also along on the trip), which freaks Robin out. This leads to the other characters confessing their own first time. Ted eventually says he basically used a girl and left her, he wasn't proud of it but wanted to explain to her what all teenage boys are thinking. It works but when pressed by Robin for being out of character for him, he admitted the roles were actually reversed and he would actually prefer to look like a womanizer than admit he was the one being used.
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.