How can you tell a BadAss antihero from a violent sociopath? How can you tell TheCassandra from a rambling madman? The answer is: You can't. Not by observing and interacting with them, anyway.

The audience knows things that characters don't. They know that the ''USS Enterprise'' won't blow up, or that SpiderMan won't become evil, at least not for long. They know what is real and what is not. Characters, however, don't know that. They don't know they are in a story and don't know who the main characters are, even if they are GenreSavvy. Even if they are willing to share their story, they can't always trust each other.

When viewers forget about this fact, strange things will happen. A reasonable helmsman on a starship, who objects to going on a suicide mission, will be seen as a whiny [[TheScrappy scrappy]], and when TheCaptain is court-martialed for his decision, viewers won't understand why. For GenreSavvy viewers the captain's plan had a 100% success chance, but for characters it was more like a 99% chance to get their entire crew killed and their ship destroyed. Viewers won't approve the SuperRegistrationAct, but for comic book world bystanders, superheroes are masked armed men with unknown agendas. They don't know what to expect from them, and have all the reasons to be paranoid, especially considering that {{Face Heel Turn}}s are not uncommon for supers. A CowboyCop finally arrests John The Ripper and [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique beats him until]] he confesses his crimes, but an AmoralAttorney gets him released. Viewers are infuriated, but nobody in-universe can be sure that the cop caught the right man (unlike us, they didn't [[ReverseWhodunnit see him do it]]), and they can no longer trust any evidence brought in by the arresting officer. Viewers are calling the king of Arcadia TooDumbToLive because he [[CassandraTruth refuses to believe]] that Sir Gabriel actually saw the [[EldritchAbomination Beast From Beyond]], but the king is more concerned that one hundred men came to his palace this month and claimed that they saw the Beast, which means the treasury has to pay for another mental asylum because the existing ones are overcrowded. We can go on forever.

There is another form, which is when viewers don't have myopia themselves, but project it on the author, which causes the false claim that StrawmanHasAPoint. For example, the admiral who accuses TheCaptain of reckless endangerment may be perceived as a "strawman with a point", while the author originally intended to [[WhatTheHellHero make the point]] that Captain is in fact reckless.

MoralDissonance may occur if the author tries relying on Audience Myopia, or has it himself, but the audience doesn't. The Quote from the MoralDissonance page is a good example of what may be Audience Myopia: One CowboyCop is fighting a bunch of other cowboy cops, but the former is good and the latter is evil, because everyone killed by Jack was evil (something for which there is no way to check from inside the world).

This trope is closely related to LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt; viewers know something is unlikely because it would disrupt the [[StatusQuoIsGod Status Quo]], but for characters in the setting, [[ThisIsReality there's no reason to think this way]]. See also WhatMeasureIsANonBadass, DracoInLeatherPants[=/=]RonTheDeathEater, RootingForTheEmpire, where the audience and characters have completely different values (the audience values [[EvilIsCool coolness]] and badassery, the characters would prefer someone who wouldn't try to kill them). See also DramaticIrony, where this applies to plot rather than values.
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