Both Sides Have a Point

Avram: (gestures at Perchik and Mordcha) He's right, and he's right? They can't both be right.
Tevye: You know... you are also right.

Alice is faced with two different opinions: Bob strongly believes in one thing, and Charlie in another. The easiest choice would be to simply pick a side— decide that Bob is right or that Charlie is right. But Alice won't do that. The second easiest choice would be to simply remain neutral and urge them to Agree to Disagree. But Alice won't do that either. And she will neither pretend that the two opposing views are actually the same thing, nor conclude that it's merely a matter of perspective. Finally, she will not engage in some extreme mental acrobatics, simultaneously but separately agreeing with both opposing views.

All that is left for her, then, is something much harder: to try her best to see both sides fairly, and value the merits of each side's arguments. In fiction, it can serve to enrich the morality of the setting and avert Black and White Morality. In Real Life, this process is the founding idea behind democratic and consensus systems, and also the principle behind most journalism.

This trope might lead to an Author Tract unless it's Played for Drama - focusing on Alice's emotional reactions to the dilemma rather than the dilemma itself. When Played for Laughs, it often strays even further from the actual issue.

Compare What Is Evil?, where a villain tries to invoke this to challenge their status as a villain to begin with, with varying possible degrees of justification and success (depending mostly on whether the work's approach to morality is more Black and White or rather Grey and Gray). Compare also The Horseshoe Effect, for those strange cases in which both sides actually have the same point, despite being ostensibly opposed to one another. Contrast Culture Justifies Anything, where it's very likely that at least one side does in fact not have any valid point. Not to be confused with Double Weapon, where both sides of your weapon have a point. Compare Grey and Gray Morality, as well as Rousseau Was Right and Good Versus Good. Characters stuck in this situation may decide to Take a Third Option. Beware of falling into the Golden Mean Fallacy, where a compromise is reached, but one side is flat-out wrong, and has no valid point after all.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Chi-Chi and Gohan have an argument when Gohan wants to go to Namek. Chi-Chi made a good point when she said that Gohan should be having fun as a kid instead of trying to be an adult, and Gohan also had a point since his priority was Serious Business.
    • In general, Goku and Chi-Chi have this when it came to Gohan when he was a child. Chi-Chi was adamant in Gohan getting a proper education while Goku also wanted Gohan to train to be as strong as him. Gohan does possess strength and potential rivaling his dad's and someone needs to watch over the world in case something happens to Goku. However, Chi-Chi is right in that Gohan should be able to do well for himself outside of fighting.
  • In Karakuridouji Ultimo, the protagonist Yamato learns he is the cause of an apocalypse in the near future. (This is part of the premise, so it's not really a spoiler.) Yamato chooses to avert this by finding every person in the world who would be involved in the event and understanding their points of view so that he can choose the best possible action once the time comes.
  • A lot of Hayao Miyazaki's films are based on this kind of premise. He dislikes the limiting assumptions of a lot of conventional media that evil exists and must be defeated by good. In Princess Mononoke for example every character has a reasonable explanation and motivation for their actions. San is harsh and violent - but only wants to protect her home, family and the natural world. Eboshi wants to kill the god of the forest - but is a benevolent leader, good to her people and kind to lepers and you can fully see why her people are willing to die for her. The protagonist Ashitaka is completely neutral and genuinely wants the best for everyone. Even if the consequences of their choices are ultimately negative, you can see why they did it.
  • Bleach: The Shinigami and Quincies have warred for a thousand years, partly because Quincies destroy Hollow souls as punishment for the killing of humans while Shinigami insist on cleansing Hollow souls back into the reincarnation cycle. Quincies refuse to accept their actions threaten existence itself while Shinigami refuse to accept they're overwhelmed by Hollow numbers and need help. Members of both sides have observed that war means both sides are justified and both sides are evil. Complicating matters is the true origin of the war, known only to a very few on both sides, which centres around the mysterious connection between the Quincy King and the Shinigami Soul King both of whom may not be what they seem.

    Comic Books 
  • In Kingdom Come, Superman and his crew are right that the anti-heroes have become too bloodthirsty and overzealous, blurring the binary of hero and villain, losing track of concepts like collateral damage and simply not caring about the people not on their power level. But the anti-heroes are also right in their belief that simply beating up Supervillains and tossing them in jail is a temporary solution at best and useless at worst because of Joker Immunity and that more violent action is the only counter to the less-restrained villains.
  • In the X-Men Schism event, which leads to the second volume of Uncanny X-Men and to Wolverine and the X-Men, both Cyclops and Wolverine have valid points:
    • Wolverine is correct that Cyclops' new, militant approach to the mutant race's survival goes against what Xavier intended for the X-Men, and that he seems to have forgotten that the X-men were supposed to be teachers and educators for mutants. There's a reason practically half of the teaching staff abandons Utopia so as to be able to go back to being teachers, not defenders.
    • However, Cyclops is also correct in his points, and his points arguably have a lot more weight to them. The X-men are living in a world that is more hostile towards mutants than it ever was whilst Xavier was alive, and with barely 200 mutants alive on Earth at the present, they need to be able to pull together and make humans see they won't just roll over and die to any bigots who come knocking. It's telling that many of the students choose to remain with Cyclops, pointing out to their Wolverine-siding fellows that A: more students died in the Xavier Institute than have ever died on Utopia, and B: they are living in a world where Fantastic Racism overrules any concept of kids as non-targets in a racial war. As the spokesperson for the Cyclops-loyalists so eloquently puts it, the second a mutant's X-gene activates, they stop being a kid and start being a target for every anti-mutant bigot in a world crawling with them. And if one must be a target, then better to be a target who can shoot back.
    • This can also be used for the initial conflict between Xavier and Cyclops. Xavier goes the democratic route, hoping for peace, but the amount of destructive mutants in the world tend to over rule peace talks. Although Magneto does go overboard sometimes (killing innocents, trying to destroy the world, bad stuff) he has a point that a war between mutants and humans was always going to happen. Any time things look like they'll get better, a shady government agency or the sentinels or any human faction will come along and murder a bunch of mutants. Mutants that aren't ready to fight will most surely die. This is one of the reasons he joins Cyclops after Schism.

    Fanfiction 
  • Renegade: Word of God is that the conflict between the Global Defense Initiative, the Brotherhood of Nod, and the Citadel is a variation of this. No one is really right, but everyone is wrong on certain points, which is what leads to their conflicts.
  • In Event Horizon: Storm of Magic, Robb and Ned Stark have a disagreement over whether The Company™ has improved or worsened the lives of their people. Robb supports The Company™ as their ideas and technology have improved the lives of their people and allowed the North to modernize and industrialize into a modern nation with a well equipped army. Ned counters The Company™'s "help" has caused pollution, and their people's traditions, culture, and values are being threatened by The Company™'s greed.
  • The Gensokyo 20XX series has Reiko and Yukari and their conflict thereof in relation to Reimu. Both were wrong in the case that the former didn't have to hire the latter, an infertile youkai, as a wet-nurse and had a right for wanting Reimu back, as there was an agreement and the aforementioned is her child. However at the same time, the latter has a reason for wanting her, too, in that she cannot have children and took care of her since birth. However, they both could have worked something out, which is subtly expressed. Amoridere acknowledged this:
    Amoridere: Ya' gotta admit, both of them are at fault, as Mikosan asked an infertile youkai to be a wet nurse, when she could have asked an ordinary human to do and Yukari could have worked something out after she had to return Reimu. [...] Yes, yes, if anything their rivalry seemed to be irrational at best but both are pretty reasonable in feeling the way they do.
  • A running theme of Imperfect Metamorphosis is that everyone are doing things for justifiable reasons, but their conflicting methods and refusal to communicate leads to mistrust and infighting, which leads to more mistrust and infighting. Team 9 want to save their friend, Reisen wants to save her friend, Eirin wants to fix her mistake, Sonozika wants to protect humans from youkai, Yukari wants to defend Gensokyo as a whole (at any cost), Kotohime and the GPF want to keep order, Rumia and Rin Satsuki just want to survive, and so on and so forth. Characters like Reimu and Byakuren acknowledge this trope and try for a peaceful, mutually beneficial resolution, but it doesn't work out too well. The only exceptions are Rumia's Superpowered Evil Side, for obvious reasons, and maybe Yuuka, but who knows what she's thinking.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- fanfic Shatterheart has this in regards to Fai finding out Real!Syaoran and Kurogane's Secret Relationship. Fai is right that Kurogane and Syaoran have a very codependent relationship and keeping their relationship a secret will hurt them in the long-run. Fai points while Syaoran is an adult, Kurogane should have known better than to take up Syaoran's offer for a relationship because they know that he's still in love with Sakura. Syaoran points that he's capable of making his own decisions and that he is also to blame for keeping a relationship a secret. Syaoran points that it was his decision who he tells because he wasn't never with Sakura. Kurogane points that group relations were hostile and Fai treated Syaoran like crap most of the time, so Fai has no right to stay something now.
  • History's Strongest Shinobi: The argument Naruto and Kenichi have on how to deal with Ragnarok. Kenichi prefers a wait and see approach, that allows both to avoid Ragnarok but leave them perpetually on the defensive. Naruto just wants to go Leeroy Jenkins on them, which could end the problem quickly... or force their opponents to come down on them in force. The bottom line is that the enemy has to be dealt with somehow.
  • In Ever After High fanfic Poisoning Apple, the debate of Rotbart taking Raven's place as Apple's villain. Apple's right that Rotbart is abandoning his responsibility to his story which could doom both Snow White and Swan Lake and it's very demanding that he expects for her to accept him. Rotbart is right that Apple's story will be fine with a replacement villain, especially someone who actually wants to play villain and no one knows if defying one's fate will doom the story. If Apple complains that he's too evil, well he's a villain. He points out that Apple is so used to the non-threatening and benign Raven being her villain, she is not used to the idea that she would actually have to work for her happy ending with a genuinely evil villain.
  • The Miraculous Ladybug fic It's Complicated is kicked off when Chat Noir makes a public declaration of love to Ladybug on a Ladyblog livestream, only to be shot down when Ladybug reveals she likes someone else and then leaves because her transformation is about to run out. Marinette is later shocked when her entire class side with Chat Noir because of how cold Ladybug was and how dejected he looked afterwards, despite her pointing out that he put her on the spot while already knowing that she had to leave urgently. Alya concedes the point after rewatching Ladybug's reaction on the video, as does Chat Noir the next time he sees her. In turn, Ladybug apologises to Chat after realising that he was sincere and it becomes clear this is affecting their partnership. "The way I treated you wasn't right. I totally disregarded your feelings and let my own frustration and anxiety get the better of me. I still think your timing was atrocious, and I don't think it was right of you to put me on the spot like that. However, even if my feelings weren't the same, I shouldn't have treated your feelings like they didn't matter. I'm sorry."
  • Xander's and Buffy's gripes with each other in Influenced Out of Normality are both acknowledged as being legitimate and both are in the wrong. Xander admits he's been giving Buffy the cold shoulder since she came back and he was wrong to try to ruin her relationship with Angel in the past. Buffy realizes that she should apologize for letting her friends think she was dead for months and that Xander understands her staking Angel since he had to stake Jessie, whom he considered his brother.
  • Naruto in Eroninja states that he understands why Minato sealed the Kyuubi within him, explaining that the man had to make a choice between doing what's best for his village and what's best for his family. While Naruto doesn't begrudge Minato his decision, Naruto doesn't think he'd ever be able to sacrifice his family in favor of the village.
  • Ash and Red have a rather big argument in Chapter 27 of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines in regards to using their bloodline abilities in competitive battling. Red believes that not using them is the same as a naturally gifted person not giving their all, and views Ash as arrogant and disrespectful to his opponents for acting this way. Ash, on the other hand, views his abilities as an unfair advantage that normal humans can't compete against, as well as thinking that if he uses it, it would mean he didn't believe in his Pokémon's strength. The story doesn't take either side, instead allowing readers to draw their own conclusions.
  • The center of Kurama and Kakashi's conflict in Blackkat's Reverse. Kurama is right that the villages treat their jinchuuriki horribly and don’t know how to train them to their full potential. Hiruzen even admits that their treatment can be considered child abuse on anyone else. But Kakashi is right that Kurama is a kidnapper, as he’s taking young and malleable jinchuuriki from their villages and is igniting tensions between the Great Ninja Villages. Konoha barely managed to prevent another Shinobi War from breaking out.

    Films - Animation 
  • The main conflict of Superman vs. the Elite. Superman adamantly sticks to his Thou Shalt Not Kill policy even as the Elite gains public support for killing the bad guys, and when the Elite later declare that they decide who the villains are, and that "people who endanger innocent lives" can apply to more than just criminals and terrorists, it shows how the Elite's methods can lead to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and He Who Fights Monsters territory. On the other hand, the Elite believe their way is better since Superman just beating up criminals and having them thrown in improper prisons leads to Joker Immunity and allows villains like the Atomic Skull to just keep killing...which, unfortunately, happens newarly all the time.

    Films - Live Action 
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Harry Osborn is suffering from a terminal disease, and wants Spider-Man's blood, believing it to be his only hope of survival; however, Spider-Man refuses, believing it might harm or kill him, or even turn Harry into a monster like the Lizard. While Spidey makes a valid point, Harry also does when he points out to Spidey that he's already dying, so he's got nothing to lose either way.
  • The Social Network is done this way, and the characters themselves reach this conclusion: None of them is truly unsympathetic, and they all have more or less valid claims and complaints.
  • In Team America: World Police, both 'dicks' and 'pussies' have a point, according to Gary's (plagiarized but altered) speech at the end. The 'assholes' on the other hand, just make everything worse for everyone.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men had this trope for the Senate hearing where Dr. Jean Grey debated with politicians concerning mutants. Both sides brought up good points, which was the intention of the director. On the one hand, it is an invasion of privacy and discrimination to demand that all mutants register their names, powers, and identities with the government. On the other, mutants are genuinely superhuman, some of them with extremely dangerous abilities... abilities that law enforcement needs to know how to protect people from should a mutant decide to abuse his or her powers.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand:
      • When a cure for mutants is introduced, Magneto is wary that humans will 'draw first blood' and use it to forcibly strip mutants of their powers—which is exactly what they do. Unfortunately, he, the Brotherhood and the Phoenix then go on to launch an attack on the cure-production facility (tearing the Golden Gate Bridge off its foundations in the process) with the stated intent of destroying the cure's source—which happens to be an innocent teenage boy who is himself a mutant, thus giving humans every reason to believe that mutants are exactly as dangerous and destructive as feared.
      • Also, when the heroes are discussing taking the cure.
        Storm: I don't believe this. What sort of coward would take that just to fit in?
        Beast: Is it cowardice to want to be free from persecution? Not everyone can blend in so easily; you don't shed on the furniture.
  • In Traffic there are more than just two sides and most of them have a point. The most surprising one coming from the arrested drug dealer who points out that the DEA agents are also technically working for the drug mafia as they are being used by one of the drug cartels to destroy its opposition.
  • What makes WarGames so special is how it delivers its anti-war message without demonizing either side. Both General Beringer and Professor Falken have sound ideas about how best to deal with JOSHUA and prevent him from causing a pre-emptive nuclear war.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has this as one of its primary themes. Save for Koba (who even early on has good points), both the humans and apes are just trying to survive. The humans want to rebuild civilization while the apes want to thrive in theirs and neither really want a war. Neither have much reason to trust the other side either and have all rights to make efforts to protect themselves. Overall, the film depicts the good and peaceful intentions of a reasonable many, being hampered and eventually sunk by the ill (though understandable) actions of an unreasonable few.
  • In Transformers: Age of Extinction, humans have a good reason for wanting to build anti-Transformer technology since battles have razed cities and killed thousands of innocent people in the crossfire. On the other hand, if left unchecked, Decepticons would easily destroy/enslave humanity, nor did it justify working with a murderous Cybertronian or killing/experimenting on the good Autobots.
  • One of the strong points of Other People's Money is that it avoids the easy trap of portraying Jorgy as right and Larry as wrong. In fact, they just have fundamentally different beliefs of what a business is for and how one ought to be run, but neither is wrong.
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has Thranduil and Thorin. Thorin accuses Thranduil of being honorless because the Dwarves came to him once looking for shelter after Smaug took the Mountain for himself and Thranduil just shut them out. Thranduil accuses Thorin of being just like his grandfather, being so obsessed with pride and greed that he won't listen to reason. It takes a while to realize that both sides are guilty: Thranduil didn't have to attack the dragon, he could have just aided the refugees, whereas Thorin is becoming more and more like a Jerkass the closer he gets to the Mountain and by the third film, Thranduil is proven absolutely right.
  • Captain America: Civil War:
    • Tony believes that the Avengers need to be accountable for their actions, while Steve believes that the heroes themselves are the best ones to make judgement calls. Their experiences in previous films both lend credence to their points of view:
      • Tony's cavalier attitude towards his tech has led to horrible consequences, while Steve has encountered corrupt and incompetent government officials who've made situations worse.
      • What it comes down to is that while the heroes might not be the best ones to make a judgement call, how can they be sure that anyone they hand the responsibility to would be better?
    • On a more personal level, they make several questionable decisions in how they handle the conflict. They do, however, raise several valid points. From Iron Man:
      • He's hounded by the captured Anti-Accord team for arresting them and sending them to a Hellhole Prison. While they are indeed given very dubious treatment, Stark points out that he was just doing his duty (as he is under a lot of government pressure), and that the Anti-Accord side should have known what they risked when they aided a known felon.
      • Likewise, Cap tears into Tony for keeping Wanda under what is essentially house arrest without even telling her, and while Tony's motivations and right to make that call are left dubious, he is right when he says Wanda really isn't safe among the masses right now.
      • Lastly, while Tony could be seen as irresponsible in bringing Spider-Man, who's still an inexperienced teenager, into the conflict, his orders were for Peter to keep his distance and just web up opponents without becoming involved, which Peter promptly ignores. His first scene even depicts him being guilt-shamed by the mother of a Sokovian victim and he presents this to the Avengers as why he thinks they, himself included, need to be kept in check. Tony doesn't start acting irrational until Zemo's schemes ruin any chance of reconciliation between the two sides.
    • From Captain America:
      • He seemingly takes the accusations of collateral damage very lightly, but he does make a valid point saying things would be much, much worse if the Avengers didn't do anything at all (specifically, the human race would've been conquered by Thanos or HYDRA, or driven extinct by Ultron, either of which is overwhelmingly worse than the collateral damage caused by the Avengers in stopping these from happening).
      • While he may be borderline unreasonable in his desire not to sign the accords (it should be noted that Steve was willing to compromise up until he heard about the situation with Wanda's house arrest), he points out those agreements would turn the Avengers into a bunch of glorified attack dogs, which would only allow him to help people selectively note .
      • Additionally, the way the government officials act throughout the film (sending a team after Bucky, who's only a suspect based on circumstantial evidence, with shoot-to-kill orders, refusing to adhere to Steve, Sam, and Bucky's right to legal representation after they're brought in, and refusing to release the captured Team Cap members and go after Zemo when it's definitively proven he was responsible for the bombing) shows that putting them in control of the Avengers would not be the best idea.
      • He also gets a lot of flak for dragging all the other Anti-Accord heroes in his quest to help Bucky, disregarding the fact that each and every one of them made the decision to help Cap themselves, with several of them having their own personal motivations for assisting Cap.
      • He recognizes that this is not the case with his decision to not tell Tony about the true nature of his parent's deaths; in the letter he sends Tony at the end of the movie, Steve concedes that he fooled himself into thinking he was sparing Tony the pain when it was in fact to spare himself the thought that Bucky might have killed Tony's parents and flat-out admits he was wrong.

    Jokes 
  • The trope is reduced to absurdity in an old Jewish joke. Two Jews come to a rabbi to resolve a dispute and present their arguments; they also bring along a witness. The rabbi, after leafing through the Talmud for a couple of hours, finally says: "Shlomo, you are right. But, Moyshe, you are right as well". The puzzled witness asks: "But, rabbi, how can two men with completely different opinions be right at the same time? It's impossible!". The rabbi replies: "You know, Joshua, it turns that you are right as well!"
    • And the spinoff joke, in which two supplementary angels go to the rabbi because neither one wants to admit to being obtuse. The first angel presents its case, and the rabbi says "It seems you are right." The second angel then presents its case, and the rabbi says, "You're right, too."

    Literature 
  • The Sheriff of Nottingham is able to do this to himself in In A Dark Wood, Michael Cadnum's Good Versus Good retelling of Robin Hood. Halfway through the book, he is able to recognize that although Robin Hood is an outlaw, he is also a good man. It isn't until the end of the book that he is able to find a point of reconciliation between this and his duty to uphold the law.
  • The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama use this trope as a cornerstone for much of its portrayal of the political landscape.
  • Black Crown: In the story 'Schism', both King Flavius and Lord Corrigan have a point depending on how you view a government's duty to its people.
  • "The Dance of the Dragons", a historical civil war in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. Viserys I declares his daughter from his first marriage, Rhaneyra, as heir. However he continues proclaiming her heir despite having sons from his second marriage. When he dies Rhaenyra and her half-brother Aegon II fight for supremacy. They both have valid points. Viserys proclaimed Rhaenyra his heir and she is older then Aegon. On the other hand, proclaiming a daughter over a son goes completely against the succession laws most of Westeros works on. This is even more strict among the Kings, Viserys only becoming heir to the throne due to his female cousin Rhaenys being passed over (he's the son of the second son, while Rhaenys was daughter of the first son of King Jaehaerys I), a law which was decided upon in the Great Council of the Lords. It doesn't help that Rhaenyra is married to her uncle, the ruthless and amoral Daemon Targaryen, who doesn't at all look like someone who should hold power. However, both claimants show themselves to be poor and brutal rulers, and refuse to compromise: when Rhaneyra takes King's Landing she refuses the offer to call another Great Council to determine succession, along with both branches of the family murdering other members, Aegon's full brother Aemond murdering one of Rhanyra's sons Lucerys Velaryon, and Daemon avenging his stepsons murder by sending men to murder one of Aegon's infant sons. Ironically, due to Aegon's line dying out Rhaenyra's line gets the Iron Throne, but remains with strict male-line inheritance, Rhaenyra partly ruining her cause with her tyranny.
  • The Parental Marriage Veto that caused all the agony in Persuasion. Anne Elliot was persuaded not to marry young Captain Fredrick Wentworth by her godmother Lady Russell. Anne has come to deeply regret this, having been subsumed by her family troubles and never finding a man equal to him. And to say Wentworth was mad is a gross understatement. However, Lady Russell, though a little prejudiced towards the gentry, did have a point that young Wentworth was Unable to Support a Wife. Anne's father would certainly not have helped them, and Wentworth's assumption that he'd capture enough prizes to secure their comfort was rather naive. There was no guarantee a newly-maded captain in the Napoleonic Wars would even survive, much less strike it rich, and that Wentworth's optimism bore fruit was mostly a matter of luck.
  • Similar to the X-Men examples above, the central conflict of The Infected is about the role of the titular Infected (basically, mutants) in society. Many of the objections to the Infected seem rooted in religion and reflexive xenophobia at first, however, the Infected really are unstable (each has an individualized mental disorder called a 'first mode') and dangerous. A major plot point in the first book was how Melanie Miller, a nine-year-old girl almost destroys North America through a bad case of Power Incontinence, and murderous rampages are an almost weekly occurrence. On the other hand, the Infected are certainly correct to be concerned when kids are shot in the street for glowing, sudden mobs turn up when visibly Infected eat out or run to the store, and Congress is debating "concentrating" the Infected population in special camps.
  • The Berenstain Bears: In the novel The Berenstein Bear Scouts and the Sinister Smoke Ring, Farmer Ben is annoyed at a group of anti-smoking protestors, who vehemently oppose him growing tobacco plants on his farm, and insists that they have no right to protest on his property, while they insist he has no right to grow such a "filthy weed." In the end, the police diffuse the situation using this trope, pointing out that while Ben is right that they have no right to protest on his property, they can do so all they want on the street away from it. On the protestors' end, the police also agree with them that Smoking Is Not Cool, but point out that tobacco is a legal crop, and Ben has every right to grow it on his farm if he wants.
  • The two rival families of Dance of the Butterfly work for, ostensibly, the same goal, though they have some vastly different methods of achieving it. Though it may be simple to categorize the Malkuths as evil, they put forward their methods as being ultimately utilitarian and thus for the greater good. Just don't get in their way as they try to save you.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Frasier episode "Dinner At Eight". On the one hand, Martin is right that Frasier and Niles need to relax and enjoy "normal" things sometimes; but seeing as how their hostess just cut off their (presumably expensive) ties, they have a right to be angry. Or at least very, very annoyed.
  • Game of Thrones: In "The Wars to Come", Jon urges Mance to bend the knee to Stannis to save his people by earning them a place south of the Wall, but Mance argues his authority comes from a respect that would evaporate the moment they see him kneel and any leader that gives a damn about his people wouldn't ask them to die for a foreigner.
    • In "Dragonstone", Jon and Sansa differ in opinions on how to handle Houses Umber and Karstark, who had joined forces with the Boltons and been subsequently defeated. Sansa wishes to punish the remainder of the Houses and give their lands as a reward to more loyal families, which is the normal and expected practice of the time; failure to do so could encourage other families to abandon the Starks when things get tough. But Jon counters that it's cruel and unfair to punish the Houses' children for actions that they had no part in (the perpetrators having died in battle) and showing mercy when harshness is expected could buy loyalty in the future. Jon only wins the argument by pulling rank as King in the North.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Dead Man's Party," while both sides in the tension between Buffy and her friends and family act like jerks to each other, both also have valid reasons to be upset. While the Scoobies and Joyce weren't wrong to be angry and hurt that Buffy abandoned them without a word, Buffy also had valid reasons to feel isolated and overly-pressured, and that the other Scoobies and Joyce weren't entirely helpful in supporting her with them.
  • That's My Bush! did it multiple times during its eight-episode run. Trey Parker and Matt Stone were clearly less interested in making political points than just Parodying sitcoms in a political setting.
  • How I Met Your Mother: In the episode "How Lily Stole Christmas," Ted and Lily get into a major spat when Lily finds out that Ted called her a "Grinch" for calling off her engagement to Marshall in order to pursue an art fellowship in San Francisco. While Lily is justifiably angry for Ted calling her that, as well as for him secretly holding a grudge against her for her actions and refusing to apologize, Ted is also right to be angry, since Lily's abrupt departure and lack of contact also hurt him and the other people in Marshall's life, and she never apologized to him for leaving.

    Music 
  • "TMZ" by "Weird Al" Yankovic. The song is mostly bashing TMZ for picking apart every little thing celebrities do, but the bridge turns it around by pointing out that these shows also report less trivial things (DUIs, racist rants) that might have had less coverage if not for shows like that.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Every splat has an antagonist faction where the conflict is black v grey (e.g. you're a werewolf fighting the wyrm to keep the world from being destroyed), a faction where the conflict is grey v grey (e.g. you're a mage in conflict with the technocrats because you're competing for a prize you both want - control of reality), and a faction where the conflict is white v grey... and you're the grey (e.g. you're a vampire and human hunters are coming for you with stakes, and are completely in the right, as even if you're "moral" you're one failed will save from a murder spree and have probably failed that save at least once).
    • The later versions of Mage: The Ascension used this perspective. The Technocratic Union wants a stable and democratic reality where everyone is able to create miracles through technology. They have largely succeeded: the modern world with computers, airplanes and modern medicine exists by their design. Their opponents, the Traditions, prefer a more unstable (ahem, dynamic) reality with more personal freedom - a freedom of expression that includes rewriting reality itself rather then merely writing words. (The original version had this same conflict of interest, but hardcoded that the Technocracy's ideals made them Dirty Communists.) Taken a step further in The Sorcerer's Crusade; in the Dark Ages, when everyone believed in magic, the Traditions (especially the Order of Hermes) were in control and maintaining the stability of the world while the upstart Order of Reason wanted to overturn this consensus reality for the good of everyone. The future Technocrats won, at which point the Traditions became the Plucky Underdogs.
    • The successor game, Mage: The Awakening, took this conflict and put it into the tradition mages and the free council, both playable factions that are nominally allied and can be mixed into the same cabal. The traditions essentially advocate the "magic is superior/new things are bad" viewpoint, backed up mechanically by new human technologies draining the power from old spells. The free council thinks new stuff is great, drawing power from new concepts and even technology in crafting rote spells. The primary antagonist faction was changed into decadent god-priests obsessed with controlling the destiny of mages and mortals specifically to avoid this trope, though many complained that it weakened the setting by bringing up the trope in a new way: that's pretty much what the traditions want, too.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has settings that try to take this approach to racial conflicts, as an alternative to Always Chaotic Evil and everyone just being tragically misunderstood (which gets bland quickly). Eberron, for instance, affiliates most of the "monster" races with fallen or current civilizations with religious or economic conflicts with the players' home civilizations. This dodges the unfortunate implications of the usual racial warfare while still giving reasonably simple reasons to get into sword and sorcery brawls within moments of running into each other.

    Theatre 
  • Fiddler on the Roof runs on this trope. Tevye is caught in the clash between the traditional world and the modern world. He's a really smart guy, but poor and uneducated. He tries his best to be fair and see both sides of the situation, with many inner monologues about "on the one hand [...] but on the other hand". In the page quote above he gets ridiculed for not simply picking a side when two guys who both have valid ideas stick to parroting slogans at each other instead of making more nuanced arguments for their causes.

    Video Games 
  • In The Amazon Trail 2, one location has you talk to an oil executive and a native from the area. The executive wants to drill for oil, and the native doesn't want the environment to be spoiled. Now while the game has a bias to the native, the game will only reward you if you listen to both characters about the issue.
  • In Mass Effect 2 this is the Paragon resolution of post-loyalty mission conflicts between members of The Squad. Inverted in the Renegade resolutions, where Shepard points out that neither side has a point and they're both endangering the mission for no good reason.
  • A major theme of Dragon Age is that there is never a clear-cut right or wrong answer to any conflict. For the Templar/Mage conflict in Dragon Age II the Mages are horribly oppressed by the Chantry's Templars, imprisoning them to keep the city safe and treating all Mages as dangers. At the same time there are a lot of Mages who seem to turn to Blood Magic and the like, due to the weakness of the Veil in the area. Better safe than sorry? Analyzed exhaustively in this essay.
  • This is what drives a lot of the Grey and Gray Morality in the Geneforge series, with even the more "evil" factions such as the Takers or Barzites making the occasional valid point.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Redguard society has traditionally been divided into two sociopolitical groups: The Crowns, descended from Redguard nobility, hold Yokudan tradition in high regard and dislike foreigners, while the Forebears, descended from the warriors who conquered Hammerfell, are more comfortable with incorporating aspects of other Tamriellic cultures (especially Breton and Imperial cultures) into their way of life. A third political movement, the Lhotunics, emerged after the Warp in the West, who espouse both the cosmopolitan values of the Forebears and the sense of tradition and respect for the past of the Crowns, but are generally held in contempt by both sides...
    • The civil war subplot in Skyrim is rife with this, as well as plenty of Grey and Gray Morality. It revolves around the Civil War raging in Skyrim between the Imperial forces and the Stormcloak rebels (with the Aldmeri Dominion looming in the background).
      • The Stormloaks, Nord secessionists, (rightfully) criticize the Empire for not understanding the people of Skyrim or their culture/religion (agreeing to the ban on Talos worship in the White-Gold Concordant with the Dominion to end the first Great War was the final straw for many Nords). They follow Ulfric Stormcloak, a man of great courage and loyalty to his allies (which his enemies acknowledge) and is a paragon of traditional Nord values. They (justifiably) feel that the Empire caved-in to end the Great War (in which thousands of Nords gave their lives fighting for the Empire), and that it's become a decrepit, obstructive entity with weak leadership that has given their enemies huge amounts of power in Skyrim without the Nords' consent. Also, a few characters mention that the Empire has been putting high taxes on Skyrim after the war, limiting the citizens' financial well-being.
      • The Empire is trying to hold onto Skyrim because it needs both the resources and the manpower, especially since they expect a full-scale second "Great War" with the Aldmeri Dominion (see below) in the near future. Even many Nords continue to support the Empire, realizing that united Skyrim backing the Empire has the best chance to defeat the Dominion in the inevitable second Great War. Despite their success in retaking the Imperial City during the Great War, it came at great cost and the leadership of the Empire realized that agreeing to the White-Gold Concordat would buy them some much-needed time to recover. They also don't really bother to even enforce some of the more-hated terms of the Concordat, such as the ban on Talos worship. Additionally, Skyrim has historically been one of the Empire's (which was founded by Talos) greatest supporters, and that the all-important Nord honor demands that they support their long-time ally. They (rightfully) believe that Ulfric and the Stormcloaks are putting Honor Before Reason, and that their rebellion is extremely short-sighted. (Both sides agree that the Dominion is irredeemably evil, with open intentions of dominating and oppressing the world in any way they can.) Further, Ulfric and the Stormcloacks have displayed significant Fantastically Racist tendencies and Ulfric himself used a traditional Nordic challenge as an excuse to effortlessly kill the previous King of Skyrim (albeit with the victim accepting his challenge), despite said King having been known to support Ulfric's views up until being challenged. Also, some characters reveal that the unity of the Empire allows for prosperous trade and surplus of food, and Skyrim's independence will damage this trade.
      • Behind it all lies the Aldmeri Dominion, led by the extremist Thalmor, who are pulling the strings behind the scenes and may have even been responsible for instigating the civil war. They hope to weaken the Empire by depriving it of its strongest remaining province while bleeding both sides dry for an eventual Dominion takeover. There is even evidence that they tortured and brainwashed Ulfric Stormcloak as a prisoner in the waning days of the Great War and then unleashed him to accomplish exactly this task. (However, they may have underestimated Ulfric's leadership and inspirational abilities, as he quickly proved to be more effective than intended...) Both sides of the civil war agree that the Dominion is the greater threat, but are odds over the best way to deal with them.
  • There's something of a Deconstruction in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Inside Ludo Kressh's tomb the player is faced with a series of illusions. In one of these, the player's companions are about to attack Kreia (the player's mentor) and the player must decide who to side with. However, if the player answers "I won't attack you, but I won't stop the others from attacking you either", Kreia exasperatedly scolds you and everyone present tells you that "apathy is death".
  • RuneScape: Word of God is that each of the setting's gods have their own idea of what is best for the world, each as valid as the next. Even Zamorak, previously considered the God of Evil.
  • Rift gives us the Guardians vs. the Defiants. The Guardians are divinely inspired/powered heroes seeking to rid the world of the Defiants whose technology is destroying the only thing keeping the dragons from causing The End of the World as We Know It. The Defiants are persecuted "lesser" races who have dealt with the Guardians bearing down on them for generations, and who can only defend themselves with said technology. Both sides are right, and both sides are at fault: the Guardian intro makes it clear that the Defiants are, actually, at fault for unleashing Regulos and the dragons; however they go way too far in their persecution and drive some members of the Defiants to make a Deal with the Devil in the first place, and neither side can stop killing the other one all the way through the far-future Defiant intro to realize they shouldn't be enemies, even as the world literally dies around them and Regulos gets his way. The character of either side ends up in the "middle ground" timeline of the main game (either because of being Not Quite Dead for years, or through actual Time Travel) at which point they immediately go about killing the other side instead of actually dealing with the Dragons for most of the early areas.
  • The final battle in Tales of Xillia, especially in the English version, comes down to an argument about taking harsh but justifiable actions with guaranteed benefits versus a gentler plan with the chance of superior long term benefits, with the villains taking the former chance and the player party taking the latter.
  • A major source of the Alliance versus Horde conflict in World of Warcraft. The Alliance is racist and brutal against the Horde but the Horde tried to kill them all and quite a few of them are kinda-sorta evil. Given the Horde has mitigating circumstances for many of their past crimes and has helped save the world, both sides have degenerated to a "he did this, she did that" situation to justify the cycle of hatred.
  • Interestingly, Grand Theft Auto V gives credence to both sides in the torn friendship between its Villain Protagonists. Michael wanted to leave the dangerous criminal lifestyle behind for his family's sake, so he betrayed his more Ax-Crazy friends to the FIB. Trevor, as unrepentant as he is, regards the concepts of loyalty and True Companions very highly, and is thus understandably pissed at Michael for his treachery and especially since it got their other runner, Brad, killed. In the Golden Ending, the two acknowledge that they both indeed had a point and finally reconcile.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: This is the cause of the Forever War at the center of the series. It's easy to dismiss Lucifer's Forces of Chaos and YHVH's Forces of Law as being Knight Templar extremists, especially since they're very With Us or Against Us about it. Likewise, either will create one terrible future or another if they're allowed to triumph. Yet the entire point of the "Law Hero" and "Chaos Hero" characters is to demonstrate how this trope makes it very, very easy for otherwise sane, rational people to fall into extremism once circumstances get bad enough. Most of the decisions in the game MUST be Lawful or Chaotic, and the happiest outcome is usually the one where the hero rejects the extremism of either while utilizing the better qualities of both.
  • The Touhou Universe Compendium Symposium of Post-Mysticism is about a conference between the new powers that have arrived to Gensokyo discussing how best to manage the danger and chaos of the region, each naturally claiming that their temple is the best one to lead, but each have some credence to their argument. Kanako is right that lacking a symbol or being to put their faith in leaves many of the inhabitants lost and listless. Byakuren is right that youkai are often treated unfairly by humans and need an advocate to protect them. And Miko is right that only with strong leadership can Gensokyo's humans ever move forward or advance in any way. But ultimately Marisa is right that none of the three have any idea how Gensokyo works and them trying to radically change it will only end in disaster.
  • In Pokémon Black and White, Team Plasma are the villains less because of their intentions (well, the intentions of most of the members, anyway) and more because of the fact that they're extremists who genuinely want to do good but are going about it the wrong way aside from their true leader, who is manipulating them as part of a plan to take over Unova. It's made clear in the game that some trainers really do abuse their Pokémon, but many respect their partners. While Team Plasma's plan to create separate worlds for humans and Pokémon is wrong and would probably cause society to collapse, some people really shouldn't be trainers.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY has this for Blake and Weiss's argument over Faunus and the White Fang, mainly due to them talking around each other. Weiss insults "the Faunus of the White Fang" repeatedly, as well as Sun, an unrepentant criminal. She never actually says anything bad about Faunus as a whole, though she gets close. Blake takes those as jabs at Faunus in general, as she is one, and discriminatory generalizations have long been a problem for any sort of civil rights movement. Weiss has personally suffered at the hands of the White Fang and has solid reasons for her hatred of them. Blake on the other hand has a point that the causal bigotry shown by certain people is what created the White Fang in the first place.

    Web Comics 
  • In Dinosaur Comics strip 635, T-Rex is asked what God thinks about intelligent design:
    God: I LIKE TO DANCE IN MY UNDERPANTS T-REX
    T-Rex: He says - there's some merit to both sides of the issue?
  • In The Seer, Jeff the Killer is fully prepared to destroy the Scarecrow even after she claims she can explain herself. When Korbyn tries to stop him, he tells her that they can't rule out the possibility that Scarecrow is lying. While Korbyn concedes that he has a point there, she goes on to tell him that they can't just jump to that conclusion without hearing her side of the story first.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "The PTA Disbands" when Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel are trying to convince the parents at a PTA meeting of their respective positions. Mrs. Krabappel argues that Skinner's budget cuts are harming the education the parents' children are receiving, and that they need the resources to do their job. The parents are inclined to agree with her until Skinner points out that the school is on a very tight budget as it is, and for the school administration to get what the teachers are asking for they'd have to raise the parents' taxes. That gets the parents complaining about taxes being high enough as it is, and the debate between Skinner's and Krabappel's positions ends up going back and forth. The episode ends by Skinner and Krabappel deciding to Take a Third Option and rent out the school's cloakrooms to the prison system to raise extra money, although the writers don't provide an answer to the taxes vs. education quality debate.
    • "The Cartridge Family" does this with the gun ownership debate. On the one side we have Marge, who doesn't want the Simpsons to own a gun because of how dangerous they can be; on the other we have the NRA, who argue that there are valid reasons to own one, like hunting and protecting one's family. However, the point they both agree upon is that guns are deadly weapons that should only be handled by responsible owners; Homer demonstrates an insanely flagrant disregard for even the most basic forms of gun safety, which drives Marge away and gets him kicked out of the NRA.
    • "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge" very notably doesn't take a side on the issue of whether censorship is good or bad (but it does have the moral of "Be prepared for consequences, hypocrisy, and opposing viewpoints if you choose to stand up for a cause."). Sure, Roger Meyers is a scumbag who doesn't care if his shows influence kids to hurt themselves and others, but he's just a man trying to entertain others. Sure, SNUH is a bunch of Moral Guardians who want to censor even masterpieces for offending their conservative housewife sensibilities, but they're kind of right in that kids should be exposed to real art and not just pop culture trash.
  • South Park uses the Golden Mean Fallacy a lot to find a middle ground between two opposing sides, ultimately arguing that each side is partially correct, making it all the funnier when this attitude is subverted, such as the NAMBLA episode which has the leader of NAMBLA making a long-winded speech about what is wrong and right followed by a short retort from Stan which undoes the speech entirely.
  • The animated TV adaptation of The Lorax does acknowledge not just the Lorax's environmental concerns with the devastation of the forest caused by the Once-ler, but also that a lot of people would lose their jobs if the Thneed factory shut down, showing at least one necessary point to the Once-ler's plans.
  • Doug: After completing his last Quailman comic, Doug is caught doodling and making fun of Lamar Bone, who really had it coming. Doug knows Bone didn't get his word on his work, and he simply traps Bone by asking if he was immune to the rules he enforces. Bone explains that he wasn't, cue this trope and the deal Bone makes with the students adding a rule that bans Saturday detentions. Bone doesn't like to be made fun of, but his actions can also get him in trouble.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: This occurs in the ending of Operation: Z.E.R.O.. While Numbah 362 admits that Numbah 1 was right to priorotize the Museum before their Moonbase and for believing in Numbah 0, Numbah 1 admits that she was right too_namely that he was putting himself before his team without whom he couldn't have pulled The Plan off.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic does like to provide this a fair amount of times, arguably preferring to teach kids friendship is about compromise and respect on both ends to avoid previous unfriendly aesops. "Lesson Zero", "Over a Barrel" and "Sisterhooves Social" are prime cases both sides admit the other has valid arguments and end up taking a middle road.
  • Although the Project Cadmus arc of Justice League does arguably swing a little more towards Villain Has a Point, due to the fact Cadmus undertakes much dodgier things than the Justice League, the show's creators and the majority of viewers agree that this trope applies. Even the Justice League admits that Cadmus does have a point that the League could potentially be hugely dangerous to the people of Earth. On the other hand, the Justice League is also right that Cadmus itself is equally dangerous in potentia, what with the black operations to steal from the Watchtower, the creation of Super Soldiers, etcetera.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Book 4 villainess Kuvira refuses to give control of the Earth Kingdom (Renamed as the Earth Empire) to Royal Brat Prince Wu because he'd end up a Puppet King beholden to foreign powers. While her detractors see her logic, they're not going to forget that Kuvira 'united' the Earth Kingdom through oppression and force any time soon.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The series doesn't go into too much depth on the politics of the Wars, but they do go into more than the films did. The Republic has a point in that the Separatists act like violent thugs most of the time, and announced their defection by trying to conquer the Republic, not to mention being led by an actual Sith Lord. The Separatists, on the other hand, are right in that the Republic really is horrifically corrupt and in the thrall of the galactic corporations, and provide little aid to member planets. This, of course, serves Palpatine's purposes perfectly: no matter which side wins, he can paint them as the heroes and reformat them into the Empire with himself at the head.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In "Boss Mabel", Stan and Mabel get into an argument on how to run the Mystery Shack. Mabel takes umbrage to Stan's miserly and obnoxious attitude, but Stan believes if you're too nice, people will walk over you. At the end, both are proven correct; Mabel needs to get tough to get any work out of Soos and Wendy, and her liberal refunds policy eats at the Shack's profits. Stan, meanwhile, goes onto a gameshow and loses an easy fortune because he can't be bothered to learn basic manners.
    • In "A Tale of Two Stans", the ongoing feud between Stan and Ford stems from the last major argument they had thirty years ago: Ford had discovered that his scientific research had given Bill Cipher a means of conquering our reality, and wanted Stan's help in hiding his journals; Stan had spent the last few years estranged from the family, either imprisoned or homeless, and was upset to discover that Ford only wanted him back in his life to help him hide the journals. As necessary as hiding the research was, Ford's ego and obsessive focus on the big picture really blew up in his face; the disagreement ultimately led to him getting shoved into the very dimensional portal he was trying to shut down, and in a desperate attempt to save him, Stan spent the next three decades trying to restart the portal. In the present, Ford wants to keep the world safe and believes that Stan shouldn't have risked using the portal just to save him; Stan believes that saving his family was worth anything. Both have a point, and both of them refuse to budge.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), the Turtles get into an argument over how to deal with Leatherhead; Mikey thinks he deserves their sympathy, but the others don't want him in their lair as he's prone to violent rages. Splinter compromises; Leatherhead should be shown compassion, but he should also be kept chained up so his rages won't hurt anyone. "I'm compassionate, not insane."

    Real Life 
  • This is the reason some people prefer to use the Golden Mean Fallacy when considering controversial topics. Giving all sides of an issue equal weight can be flawed however, especially when such a position ignores their respective levels of support and/or factual accuracy.
  • Political power can and frequently does swing back and forth between different parties in democratic countries, as voters decide they like one party's policies at one time and then decide to switch to another party's policies later on, largely due to this trope. Sometimes parties who win elections and form governments end up plagiarizing parts of their opponents' platforms in order to broaden their own appeal in the electorate.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BothSidesHaveAPoint