In Code Geass, Suzaku and Lelouch call out the head of the Japanese Government in Exile for retreating to China when Britannia invaded rather than staying to fight. He protests that retreating and building one's forces is a perfectly valid tactic, and, well, it is. In fact, it's not all that different to Lelouch's own actions prior to the start of the series. Lelouch does the exact same thing in the next season. Of course, the real reason Lelouch is opposing him is because if he wins, Japan will just be a puppet of the Chinese Federation.
The Leaf Village's elders' decision of keeping Naruto on the Toad Mountain during Pain's attack to the village was portrayed as unequivocally wrong, and Tsunade's outburst and calling them out for their lack of faith in Naruto (and in the anime, subsequent lecture to them about believing) was put as the right position. However, the elders' decision was not entirely unreasonable, as the target of the attack was known to be Naruto himself, and there was no guarantee at the time that Naruto could beat Pain (a villain who had already killed Naruto's master, Jiraiya). And then they were proven utterly right when Pain kicked the crap out of Naruto, who was saved only by a timely intervention by Hinata. The anime even retconned the decision as being shown to be influenced by Danzo, adding more fuel to the discussion of Danzo's motives. Interestingly, in later arcs: the Kages make the same conclusion of hiding both Naruto and Killer Bee to keep them safe during the war, with only Tsunade and the Tsuchikage objecting to it, and it's Gaara who shoots down Tsunade's argument of putting Naruto on the frontlines.
The Raikage is painted as a stubborn-headed git for refusing to forgive and rescind the 'kill on sight' order of Sasuke for the suspected murder of his brother. The manga tries to make it so that the Raikage's desire for revenge is clouding his personal judgment to the point where he's willing to start a Cycle of Revenge, but the fact remains that A) Sasuke is still at large, working for a terrorist organization, B) Raikage's brother and other such targets hold the equivalent of a WMD, C) Raikage isn't the only person who wants Sasuke's head.
Another example would be Danzo's first act as Hokage. That is, declaring Sasuke a missing-nin who is to be captured or killed on sight. Naruto and Sakura insist Sasuke doesn't deserve it but not only did he defect three years prior to a village that was established to destroy Konoha, he also (as far as anyone knows) kidnapped and killed the Raikage's brother. If Konoha doesn't declare that Sasuke is a missing-nin, such an act would be tantamount to a declaration of war on Kumo by Konoha. Even if Sasuke was merely "misguided" (hint: he wasn't), no leader would declare a single soldier that was clearly in the wrong to be worth starting a war over.
In one flashback Orochimaru suggested Mercy Killing three orphans, on the grounds that a miserable life was all that awaited them. He was shown as a Jerkass for this with Jiraiya criticizing him for it and instead Jiraiya abandoned his mission in order to raise them. End result: They created Akatsuki, one of them got himself killed, another used his corpse as a puppet when he became Pain and killed significant portions of Konoha, while the third supported his every action. What's more, the one that became Pain has since been revealed to be a major part of Madara's plan to Take Over the World.
In YuYu Hakusho, the Koorime are made to appear to us as heartless bitches who would willingly condemn a child to death just because his mother made him with someonefrom a different race (albeit a demon) and he looks "a little" creepy at birth. Even his sister, by far the purest creature from the series, thinks their whole kind deserves to be killed for what they did to her, her mother, and her brother. The problem is, their point is completely valid. All the male offspring so far have killed many Koorime, who can only reproduce at intervals of over a century. And Hiei was only saved by The Power of Friendship.
In Black Cat, Baldor's desire to murder Kyoko after her Heel Face Turn is supposed to be a sign of how demented he is, which will make us root all the more when Train fights him and his partner, Kranz, to save her. Problem is, Kyoko, pre Heel Face Turn, was not only a member of a group determined to plunge the world into chaos, but a Psycho for Hire who enjoyed burning people alive from the inside out, while kissing them. On top of that, her switching sides is motivated, not by the realization that what she's doing is wrong, but from fear of Big BadCreed, and a crush on Train. End result, Baldor comes off looking far more reasonable than he ever should when he recommends they just kill her. Happens again when one of the heroes tells him that just murdering your enemies is wrong. Cue one of the enemies she'd just spared blowing himself up to try and kill her. Baldor's maniacal laughter ends up being less Kick the Dog, and more "told ya."
Pokémon: In Best Wishes 2, in the eliminatories of the Junior World Cup, Georgia and her Beartic suffer a Curb-Stomp Battle at the hands of Iris and her exceptionally powerful Dragonite, which Iris had only captured in the previous episode - or rather, Dragonite had decided to join Iris' team on his own accord. Georgia gives Iris a What the Hell, Hero? and tells her that she didn't win by her own merits, but because of her Pokemon's strength (especially since Dragonite wasn't obeying Iris at all). We are supposed to think Georgia is being a Sore Loser like she usually is, but her argument makes perfect sense- that instead of relying on pokemon that she trained and fought alongside, she's just using a last-minute superweapon she just found. She didn't work to train up the dragonite.
In Freezing, Scarlett Oohara is portrayed as being wrong for wanting to turn ordinary girls into artificial Pandoras to fight the Novas which plague humanity. The argument is that there is no point making civilians fight the battles when they're supposed to be the ones being protected, and that humans shouldn't try to reach for more than they have. Never mind that natural Pandoras are getting killed off faster than they can be born and that the current system is plenty cruel enough in that if you're born with the potential to become a Pandora, you have no other choice but to be one. Giving one a choice would be a huge benefit. Dr. Aoi Gendo, Oohara's main opposition, is okay with the Limiter system, which sends plenty of willing, once-civilian boys into the battlefield. Scarlett's point is then undermined since the E-Pandora project was never really meant to succeed in the first place. It was merely a publicity stunt to buy time for the Type Maria project. The girls who suffered and died because of the E-Pandora project did so for nothing.
In another episode, Vector claims that Cream, a six year old, should be sent home to her mother rather than tagging along with Sonic and the others around the universe fighting a powerful and murderous alien force. While he steps the line trying to her back by force, it's hard not to feel he has a strong point, especially since Cream shows far less physical capability in this interpretation. It's only worsened since, much like their arguments with Knuckles, the other team mates are belittling to his theories and angrily label him an egotist who should butt out.
Robert Kelly's arguments (such as comparing mutant registration to gun control) actually made sense to some readers and viewers. Then they turned an otherwise logical argument into an anvilicious allegory to McCarthyism when they had the senator hold up a "list of names of identified mutants", shifting the argument from "Some mutants are dangerous" to "All mutants are dangerous". Of course, once the killer mutant-seeking robots come in (and they always do), it seems clear that Kelly is Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, even if his arguments do have a grain of truth to them.
In The Movie, Kelly specifically mentions a girl who canwalk through walls, and asks "What's to stop her from walking right into a bank vault — or the White House?" In the very next movie, a Brainwashed and Crazy Nightcrawler is able to teleport into the White House and kick the Secret Service's collective ass, proving Kelly right. In contrast, Professor Xavier's point (in all versions) is that mutants need to be trained to use their powers responsibly, and that treating innocent mutants who have done nothing criminal as requiring surveillance is counter-productive, the more moderate response, which tends to be treated more sympathetically if not quite satisfyingly, by writers. Magneto, on the other hand, refuses to accept that normal humans should have any authority whatsoever over mutants. As many mutants have powers and abilities far beyond regular humans, the question becomes "Why should we let those who hate and fear us dictate our actions?", and as a Holocaust survivor, he's had experience with just that. According to the director's commentary, all these degrees of ambiguity was completely intentional.
Of course, achieving Dr. Xavier's goal of making sure that every mutant is trained to use his powers responsibly would require some kind of government registration anyway. Not to mention some form of indoctrination to ensure that mutants aren't just able to do no harm, but also make the choice not to harm people.
Xavier's not a Wide-Eyed Idealist, he just wants mutants and Muggles to accept each other. He knows some are good and some aren't (the X-Men prove that), but he wants mutants to be treated as human beings with equal rights. He doesn't want to force superpowered children to attend his academy, he probably just wants them to feel safe and accepted enough to come out publicly and make a place for themselves in society, just like everyone else.
Sometimes the point for Senator Kelly is intentional, showing that it stems from a genuine concern about safety for normal humans. These stories usually contrast him with Graydon Creed, who's just an outright bigot.
It's not irrelevant that Nightcrawler was brainwashed by an anti-mutant crusader inside the government, deliberately hoping to provoke a war. One thinks that having a list of registered mutant would have made that job all the more easier.
Conversely, Magneto is a villain for good reason, and he's been called a terrorist. His entire drive is that Humans Are Bastards will still stop at nothing to eradicate mankind. His views are very extreme, however it seems like the prejudice mutants face in the Marvel Universe is completely insurmountable, with multiple Witch Hunts, anti-mutant hate groups, political opposition against mutants and even the X-Men are heroes with bad publicity due to the fact that they are mutants. Even after House of M, which reduced mutantkind's numbers to around 300, the prejudice still continued. Even if you disagreed with Magneto's views, you can't argue that humans aren't the problem.
The first arc of Cable and X-Force involves the head of a Chick-Fil-A stand-in who bars mutants from eating in her establishments. When confronted, not only does she explain that her daughter was killed during Xorn's attack on NYC, but also points out that superhumans tend to cause insane amounts of collateral damage wherever they go. Thus, her desire to not see her customers and employees killed comes off looking pretty rational, all things considered.
In the New Mutants mini-series, Kevin Ford (AKA Wither) is hiding out in a junkyard after accidentally killing his dad with his disintegration abilities. While trying to lay low, he ends up killing the dog belonging to the junkyard's owner. A confrontation ensues, and at the last second, Dani Moonstar rescues Kevin and beats up his attackers. While we're supposed to root for Dani and not the bigoted junkyard owner, it's hard not to sympathize with him given that a mutant just trespassed on property and killed his innocent pet.
It was supposed to be a nuanced exploration of whether or not compulsory registration for superheroes was necessary to curb catastrophic mistakes and potential abuses of power. Both sides were supposed to have valid points (but supposedly supporting the Pro-Registration overall). Unfortunately, due to insufficient coordination between the writing teams of different books (as well as a serious difference in the skills of the writing teams - the anti-reg side got J Michael Straczynski), Mark Millar failed at making readers sympathize with the pro-registration side and both sides ended up looking like straw men, with the pro-registration side looking particularly monstrous. For starters, the SHRA criminalized the act of apprehending a criminal when you yourself are an average citizen, as well as SHIELD trying to arrest Captain America for refusing to join the pro-reg side, before it was actually signed into law. To make matters worse, the actual specifics of registration varied from book to book:
In pro-reg books, registration was treated as a prerequisite to a superhero being a crimefighter. Supers were given the option of not using their powers, getting trained in using them properly and to establish that they were not a threat to themselves or others, and going to prison. If they did not want to fight crime after they were finished being trained, then they didn't have to, and there was no indication that they would be forced. It was just shown that a lot of people chose to fight crime because they had made friends with their fellow trainees and they felt like they should use their powers for good. However, the pro-registration side was still not sympathetic because Tony Stark and Mr. Fantastic were portrayed as being jerks, who felt like they knew what was best, as well as committing some blatant crimes. But they were making excellent points throughout and if Mr. Fantastic's soothsaying math can be believed, it was the lesser of a few evils.
In anti-reg books, SHIELD forcibly conscripted anyone who happened to have any kind of superpowers whether they wanted to fight crime or not, and the pro-reg heroes were Well Intentioned Extremists. When Luke Cage said he just was going to not use his powers and stay out of it, armed gunmen showed up at his door on midnight of the day the act went into effect. In Avengers: The Initiative, kids recruited were told that they either join the initiative, get their powers taken, or go to jail. Cloud 9, whose power was a little cloud that could make her fly, was recruited, turned into a sniper and sent to killing missions, even though she never wanted to use her power for crime fighting. In addition, Stark orchestrated an attack on Black Panther, foreign chief of state, because his wife (who had diplomatic immunity) refused to sign up. It was quite clearly a case of "work for us or else".
There is also Sally Floyd, the straw news reporter who argued to Captain America that the ideals he represents had already died a long, long time before he did. Though it doesn't bode well for Cap, it may very well be a case of sad but true.
The first comic appearance of Alejandro Montoya/El Aguila (Marvel) has the hero returning to his home village and being attacked by random villain El Conquistador for being "the shame of Spain". Consider El Aguila has just mysteriously returned from (fled?) New York after living there for decades and constantly wears a rather ridiculous bright red and black Zorro-esque suit. Well...
Kingdom Come is a deconstruction of the Nineties Anti-Hero. At one point, one of the "newbloods" calls out Superman to argue against against the notion that they have saved lives thanks to their willingness to kill the most dangerous supervillains. While the new "heroes" are clearly reprehensible, vile, and just plain wrong, the reader is almost certain to find themselves agreeing there are some criminals who should be taken down permanently, rather than being given relatively light sentences.
Batman's Jason Todd, the second Robin. After having been killed by the TheJoker, he came back and went on a violent killing spree against criminals; convinced it is the only way to stop crime for good. In the climax, he defends his stance to Batman by pointing out that in not killing the Joker, Batman essentially guarantees the Joker will claim more victims. Batman replies he will not kill the Joker because it would be too easy the next time. While Jason is a typical strawman of heroes willing to kill by being a total psychopath, his comments about the Joker were sound, even going as far as pointing out the slippery-slope fallacy of Batman's counterargument.
Red Sonja - She-Devil with a sword" #1-7 has the Borat-Na-Fori religion, which practices human sacrifice. The Celestial, the antagonist, and some sort of strawman for organized religion, points out that his religion is the only thing keeping the entire realm from plunging into barbarism, and that Sonja is only going to make things worse by bringing him down. Turns out that he is absolutely right. At best, the moral of the story is that the Aztecs deserved what they got from the other Mexican Indians and the Spaniards.
Since her return to The Avengers, Scarlet Witch has been attacked by several of her teammates for the events of House of M, even though Children's Crusade established that she was possessed and manipulated by Doctor Doom. Her critics (namely The Vision and Rogue) are made to look like massive Jerkasses for attacking her, but House of M wasn't the first time Wanda lost control of her powers. There is definitely some logic behind the idea that having her on the Uncanny Avengers might be dangerous and counterproductive to the team's mission statement.
Magnus Robot Fighter eventually ascended the straw point - the hero accepted that the robots' reasons for rebellion were basically sound, and tried to arrange a peace. That is before it descended again, at which point Magnus even destroyed robots that were not rebellious.
In ElfQuest, Rayek's ideas are generally treated as wrong because he's a selfish, arrogant jerk and most of the time, that informs his actions. But later on in the series, when the elves are presented with the opportunity to save their ancestors from the slave rebellion that stranded them on the World of Two Moons, he makes one valid point: that the world had its own path to follow, and the presence of the elves (particularly Winnowill, the Gliders, and the Wolfriders) has been unfairly shaping human history.
Anna is persistently paranoid and accusative of Edward, which the author condemns her for. However? Edward Tallen is a dangerous, antisocial dollpire — and just committed pre-meditated murder.
This was darkly foreshadowed, when Anna insists that the reason she wants to kill Edward is that killing vampires is what her family does. Cleolinda says "Yeah, well vampires are supposed to eat people and he's not doing that!"
About two-thirds of the way through Dumbledores Army And The Year Of Darkness, Zacharias Smith decides to leave the DA. When he does so, he explains that the DA is sounding more and more like a martyrdom cult with each passing day, and the focus of the group has changed from "Resist the Death Eaters" to "Die heroically". The DA counterargument is... to agree with every word he says and ask, "What's the problem with that?" Bear in mind that all of the members of Dumbledore's Army are teenagers, and Zacharias Smith (who was a strawman in canon!) suddenly becomes the Only Sane Man.
The so-called villains in The Conversion Bureau see ponies as a threat to mankind - and given that the ponies' goal is to remove all of humanity and make them conform, they are absolutely right.
When they say "Conform" and "Remove all humanity," they're basically talking about the total extinction of the human species. There's a very good reason why fics like The Conversion Bureau Not Alone or other anti-bureau fics are so popular.
Connecting The Dots has the same example as the Kingdom Come one above when the Konoha 11 end up in the DC universe. While they (DC Heroes) argue Thou Shalt Not Kill, the Konoha 11 point out how allowing some of the villains to live is stupid as it doesn't stop them from killing more people since they have CardboardPrisons. Even Sakura calls Batman out on not killing Joker telling him that someone that dangerous shouldn't be kept alive.
In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, even though he is essentially an abusive foster parent, Frollo's grim depiction of the world "out there" actually sounds quite realistic considering the film is set in Mediaeval Europe which was not known for being kind to those with severe birth defects.
Yes, but Frollo himself subscribed to the point of view that deformed children were "demons" until the Archdeacon convinced him otherwise. For all we know, the common people hold their prejudices precisely because authority figures like Frollo have conditioned them to think that way. This isn't to say that Frollo is wrong in condemning the world to Quasimodo, but to indirectly attribute the state it's in to people other than himself is pretty hypocritical.
In The Little Mermaid, Triton urging Ariel to realize how cruel and evil humans are is presented as a bad thing, and Ariel's idealistic views all turn out to be right. But remember humans catch and eat fish, which are sentient and considered on par merfolk.
The Carnivore Confusion doesn't help matters much, in real life fish each other fish all the time!
The bullies in Wreck-It Ralph tell Vanellope, who is a glitch, that she can not race with them because she is a "disaster waiting to happen". They are portrayed as bullies prejudiced against glitches, but Vanellope does nearly damage a volcano later in the film. Though during the climax Vanellope masters her glitch and manages to go through the race without damaging the track.
Film — Live Action
As the page quote demonstrates, I Am Sam is one of the worst offenders. More than a few critics and viewers couldn't help agreeing with the "bad guys" that, no matter how wonderful of a person Sam was, he wasn't capable of raising a child.
Patch's roommate is supposed to be a Jerkass whose hostility is motivated by his frustration over Patch's subversive antics. When Patch calls him out after he turns Patch in for suspected cheating, the roommate replies he has seen how little Patch actually studies and asks how Patch still manages to get such high marks. The viewer has yet to see Patch do much studying either, so it seems primed for Patch to defend himself to show he knows the material. Instead, Patch launches into another speech attacking the roommate for being a Jerkass, and the viewer is left to assume Patch wears his smart hat offscreen because he is the protagonist, so he could not possibly be cheating to excel in an academic system he has such little regard for.
One line by Adams about how "it's not like getting involved with your patients causes you to explode" completely destroys the movie's moral when one character getting involved with a shady patient causes them to be shot in the head. Adams's methods directly caused a main character to die, but we are not supposed to notice that.
The real Patch Adams himself was upset regarding his depiction in the movie, saying his method was more like the middle ground offered above-help patients keep a positive attitude with good humor, but still, you know, practice real medicine.
Ebert's review of The Life of David Gale, which is a different type of this trope wherein the movie's central characters go so ridiculously far to show that their position is right, you can not help but be disgusted with them.
In Cape Fear, Bowden gets the chief of police to try to drive Cady out of town before Cady has done anything illegal. Cady hires a lawyer who is portrayed as fussy and over-liberal, but who makes the entirely legitimate point that Cady is being harassed for no reason. Of course, Cady does not stay innocent for long.
In Look Who's Talking Too, the mooching brother-in-law is essentially a strawman for everything that is not a Proper New York City Attitude, including the fact that he has a gun. However, it is a little difficult to argue with one of his rationalizations for having it:
"You know, you people really amuse me, stockpiling your canned food and your water in case of disaster. But when the shit really hits the fan and you're sitting over here with your stuff, and the guy next door has a gun, who do you think's gonna go hungry? Him, or you?"
John Travolta's character does not even try to refute this. He just gives an exasperated yell, apparently the audience is expected to automatically share his frustration. Of course, he is not arguing that guns are safe or effective against dangerous people, only the uncontroversial position that someone with a gun is able to threaten someone without it, which is true of all weapons.
In the Killer Bee movie The Swarm, Michael Caine's character, Dr Bradford Crane, is clearly supposed to be the hero and Richard Widmark's General Slater the villain. The trouble is that all of the schemes for dealing with the bees suggested by Slater all seem eminently sensible but are shot down by Crane on the grounds of the "environmental damage" (even after the bees have already blown up a nuclear reactor, killing upwards of 30,000 people) whilst none of Crane's schemes actually work until the end. On top of that, Crane defeats the swarm of bees by setting an oil slick on fire, even though that is not exactly great for the environment.
The closest thing that 2012 has to a villain is Oliver Platt's heartless presidential adviser, who's an obvious Take That to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney - not that his name is Anheuser, presumably after Anheuser-Busch breweries. However, after the fifth or sixth argument where his level-headed pragmatism is contrasted with the Honor Before ReasonSave Everyone bleeding-heart attitude of the rest of the cast, you kind of have to wonder if maybe the writers did not secretly agree with him. Some examples:
He is heavily criticized for keeping the impending disaster a secret from the general public, although announcing the end of the world would've caused massive panic and hysteria and helped no one.
Ejiofor complains that "only rich people" are being let onto the Arks, to which Platt responds that the money they spent buying tickets is what funded the Arks in the first place. That and snarking "Oh, you mean life isn't fair?!"
A frequent problem in Cowboy Cop type movies, particularly Dirty Harry, where the wishy-washy liberal superiors chastise Harry for his flagrant abuse of the rights of the suspect and ignorance of police procedure. But the thing is, they are right, and Harry would be a terrifyingly dangerous person in real life. This whole issue was deliberately acknowledged in the earlier film, Bullitt, where the superior turns out to be completely right: it's not good to be a loose cannon. Dirty Harry itself acknowledged this with the second movie, with the primary antagonists being a group of Cowboy Cops. It is instructive to note that despite all the other rules he breaks, Harry never actually killed anyone outside standard law enforcement rules of engagement.
Even in the first movie, Harry isn't portrayed as completely in the right. Everyone seems to forget (probably because the sequels retconned it) that at the end of the movie, he quits the force because things just don't work. Also that the killer goes free because of Harry's misconduct (though see the Hollywood Law entry about this): it's certainly not the case that Harry's methods get things done in spite of being unconventional and illegal.
Legally, his apprehention of Scorpio was perfectly legal except for the confession (which wouldn't be necessary for a conviction).
Defied in the sequel, though. The death squad is killing some pretty rotten people who've slipped through the system, but also indiscriminently murders innocent bystanders and hangers on, and even a fellow officer who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still 2008, various characters from the government and military are depicted as being callous, paranoid, and inhumane when they immediately imprison the injured alien visitor and attempt to interrogate him about what he's doing on Earth. Even though the viewers are supposed to be disgusted with their behavior, there's one minor problem; Klaatu is indeed planning to destroy the entire human race, taking all of a day and a couple interviews to verify it as the right course. The "inhumane" government officials were completely correct to treat him as an enemy.
There's even some of this in the original. the humans are lambasted for "striking first", but the craft landed with little warning in a capital city, Klaatu walks directly at the humans with an object held up that snaps open unexpectedly within melee range - and didn't expect humans to flinch?
In 28 Weeks Later, the American military eventually order the total execution of all non-military personnel in London, infected or not, rather than risk letting the newly-resurgent virus spread. American soldiers gun down hordes of frightened civilians who are obviously not yet infected, which is pretty horrifying. However, we also know that the virus completely wiped out Britain in a matter of weeks, so this extreme position does not seem completely unreasonable. By the end, we learn that the heroes' successful escape from the mass execution has, in fact, allowed the virus to spread to the rest of the world and possibly doomed the human race. It's likely that the film always intended the heroes' position to seem somewhat dubious, albeit with good intentions.
Christmas with The Kranks expects the viewers to side with the neighbors who harass the title characters for deciding to celebrate Christmas by taking a cruise. Their daughter went off on a Peace Corps assignment thus making the first time in almost two decades they have time for themselves. Except, the annual Christmas lights competition in which the neighborhood competes annually would count against them having a family out of town and not competing, and they could not have that. The entire plot of the movie is because the neighborhood wants a certificate or a trophy to put in Town Hall for a year. The film was critically panned as a result.
Hypocrisy comes from the ending moral about Christmas being about togetherness and love. The husband is portrayed as being selfish and petty for resenting the neighborhood finally getting him to join their traditions (complete with Unsportsmanlike Gloating and insults) and still wanting to go on the cruise. Said cruise was a romantic gesture and an attempt to spend long deserved time alone with his wife, a much better symbolism of Christmas' virtues than bullying someone in excess for the sake of winning a contest.
In the film version of Sgt Bilko, the villain is a military higher-up who wants to run Bilko out of the Army for essentially running a team of Neighborhood Friendly Gangsters out of an American military base, and also for getting him blamed for a crime Bilko committed and getting the villain transferred to Alaska. Since this is actually a completely reasonable thing to do from any objective viewpoint, the villain is made to accomplish his goals through methods even more criminal and underhanded than Bilko's, in order to make sure he doesn't get the audience's sympathy.
In The Incredible Hulk, General Ross is wrong because he is obsessed with weaponizing the Hulk Out for an army of Super Soldiers. At one point, he says "As far as I'm concerned, that man's whole body is property of the US government". In a way, he is right: Banner tested the procedure on himself, and that automatically made him the government's responsibility, since the experiment was Backed by the Pentagon to begin with. Ideally, the solution would be to give Banner a place to relax and be humanely treated while they work on a cure/synthesize it. However, Banner is determined to prevent the Hulk from being weaponized, so he stays on the run until he finds a cure. Of course, Ross could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he hadn't lied to Banner about the project's purpose (radiation treatments instead of Super Soldiers) so he could recruit a knownTechnological Pacifist for such a project in the first place - except that he seems to believe that most scientists ARE Technological Pacifists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the made-for-TV movie Zenon: The Zequel, General Hammond (no, not that one.) arrives to decommission the station, which was still suffering the after-effects of the sabotage in the previous film. His actions are seen by the main characters as evil. Here's what he really does: decommission an unstable space station before it falls to Earth, doing untold damage, attempt to apprehend a girl who thinks it's ok to smuggle aboard a shuttle, chase after spaceship thieves, and other actions perfectly in line with what any good soldier or policeman would do.
In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the vice principal Ed Rooney is depicted as a Dean Bitterman-type who's seemingly trying to stop Ferris and his friends from having fun for no good reason. Except he does have a good reason: it is his job to enforce school regulations, and Ferris has been breaking the regs by skipping school at least nine times before he hacks into the school computer to alter the records, and does so by blatantly exploiting the good will of everyone around him, including his parents. Yet, the movie turns the audience against him by having him go way too far in trying to catch Ferris; breaking into his house and assaulting his dog and having him act as though he's trying to catch Ferris out of spite instead of trying to enforce the rules.
Likewise, Cameron is portrayed as seriously needing to lighten up. He does, but some of the things he is protesting include impersonating others (Sloane's father and the Chicago Police Department), stealing cars (Cameron himself certainly doesn't have the right to allow his father's car to be borrowed), and interfering with a parade. In short, illegal activities. Note that he never actually has a problem with Ferris faking being sick.
Dean Wormer's point of view in Animal House is understandable — no sane college administration would want the Deltas around, and the rest of the student body might well have been good and tired of their endless pranks, hell-raising and rule-breaking. The Deltas may have been Affably Evil, but evil they were nonetheless — a lot of the stunts they pulled would get people who tried them in Real Life tossed straight into jail. That Wormer goes overboard ultimately justifies him being the villain.
In the hilariously anvilicious and NarmyLifetime Original MovieCyber Seduction: His Secret Life, the mother of the protagonist freaks and panics upon learning that her son is looking at Internet porn. The father is very unconcerned and does not think there is anything abnormal about a teenage boy looking at porn. We are expected to consider the father an oafish buffoon over this fact of life.
In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, two government agents angrily interrogate Indy after Russian spies kidnap him and an old partner of his, murder several American soldiers at a top secret test facility and make off with an alien corpse. Considering what just happened and that Indy's old partner was working with the Russians, the interrogation doesn't seem that unnecessary. Bear in mind this is set during the Cold War.
In Accepted, a high school senior rejected by every college ends up inventing one out of thin air. The thing spins out of control and becomes an actual, factual school set out of an old mental institution. The Dean Bitterman at the nearby traditional college wages an accreditation jihad against the upstart. The guy's a Jerkass, and the new school (with its emphasis on the students) is presented as a brave bastion of new educational methods. But as Dean Dick points out, the new place doesn't have a health center, more than one faculty member, or even a library. One doesn't have to be a crusty old academic to argue that a college should at least have a freaking library.
The title character of Hitch makes some very valid points about continuing with one's life, adapting, and moving on after a relationship goes sour. He gets called out on this by one of his clients who outright calls him a coward for not chasing after one's love; granted, in the client's case, the breakup was because of a misunderstanding, but on Hitch's case there was a very clear and valid reason for it. As expected, since the film is a Romantic Comedy, Hitch gives in and goes great lengths to get back his love interest even after several rejections, incurring extreme behavior and injuries to himself. Try imagining how that would work in Real Life.
Many critics who disliked Lions for Lambs felt this way about Tom Cruise's character. A Senator with Presidential ambitions, his role in the film is an interview with anti-war journalist played by Meryl Streep discussing his new plan for Afghanistan. The Senator outlines a reasonable plan and makes some good points, but the film basically expects us to side exclusively with Streep's character simply due to her being anti-war and it being an anti-war film.
The journalist flat out refusing to answer whether or not she wanted the US to win the War On Terror definitely didn't help her position. But then, the point of the question was to establish the legitimacy/meaningful existence of such a war.
In the live action film of 101 Dalmatians, the evil fashion exec Cruella Deville is dismissive of the idea that Anita, her employee, should leave her job in the event of marriage. This is meant to show Deville as callous and cynical, but her observation is most likely correct: In her words, "More good working women have been lost to marriage than war, famine, disease, and disaster. You have talent, darling. Don't squander it."
In La Haine, the more one observes the main characters and their tendency to escalate every small issue into violence, the more one feels the police are absolutely right to treat them with suspicion and loathing at every turn, including the use of force. Though it is no doubt a Grey and Grey Morality tale, it is not that hard to be Rooting for the Empire.
In the 1976 film Rattlers, at one point the female lead goes off on the sexism in the professional world; it's treated dismissively by everyone in the film (including the male lead) but really, she's got a good point about how men at the time systematically denied deserved recognition in all professions to women of high accomplishment.
Teaching Mrs Tingle: the title character is a high school Sadist Teacher who has it in for the lead character, who is just trying to become valedictorian. At the start of the film, Mrs. Tingle gives a C grade to a project she worked 6 months on, a historical recreation of the diary of a girl accused of being a witch during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Except that the diary describes witch-burnings, when the accused witches at Salem were all hanged, meaning the teacher was well within her rights to mark the assignment down.
In the film of The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to her poor, put-upon assistant Andrea, who just wants to be a writer and doesn't understand why everybody looks down on her for not being a fashionista. The problem is that she works for the editor of a fashion magazine. Miranda's speech shows quite nicely that problematic though it is, the industry influences everyone and is ignored at one's own peril. Moreover, thinking that you're "above" the field you work in is not a professional attitude or one you should display in front of your boss and coworkers, who have slaved and sacrificed to succeed in an intensely cutthroat line of work.
A few Godzilla movies have the debate over killing Godzilla or capturing him for study. While it's true that the traits that enable the monster to exist could lead to immeasurable benefits for humanity, they won't be much good if he keeps smashing cities or infrastructure in general.
In Billy Madison, Eric is supposed to be a Corrupt Corporate Executive who merely wants to run Madison Hotels. However, he is right when he points out that the company's fifty-thousand employees are not likely to have jobs for very long if the president makes his drunkard son (who only graduated because his father bribed his teachers) president of the company.
In The Class, a French teacher François Bégaudeau struggles to teach grammar to his often apathetic students. Though the students are fleshed out and late in the film the teacher is disrespectful and called out for it, thereby avoiding Straw Characters, the audience is expected to take his side about the necessity of grammar. Not all agreed with it, though.
Ebert: As the students puzzle their way through, I don't know, the passive pluperfect subjunctive or whatever, I must say I sided with them. Despite the best efforts of dedicated and gifted nuns, I never learned to diagram a sentence, something they believed was of paramount importance. Yet I have made my living by writing and speaking. You learn a language by listening and speaking. You learn how to write by reading. It's not an abstraction. Do you think the people who first used the imperfect tense felt the need to name it?
The Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series is full of this. Richard (the avatar of the author's ex-husband) frequently rants against the murder, rape, hypocrisy, greed, and general bad behavior of the Mary Sue protagonist, allegedly to show what a self-hating mess he is. The author is apparently unaware that he's the only one who makes any kind of logical, intelligent points about the heroine — and she doesn't even dispute the things he says.
In the second Death World book (the Harry Harrison series), a major character exists solely so the Author Avatar (and Mary Sue) can explain to him the virtues of moral relativism. Only problem is, while the character is a dog-kicking Designated Villain, the arguments he makes against relativism aren't really shot down, just ignored in favor of the main character being made to look much cooler than him.
The Pale Woman in the Realm of the Elderlings novel Fool's Fate actually has a very good point: reviving an apex predator with the capacity to wipe out humanity and no real reason not to is a pretty darned stupid idea. It is primarily the political implications that drive Fitz to oppose her, though.
This is a problem with the series of books, as noted in the Slacktivist blog deconstructing it. The main heroes are such Jerk Sues that many of the people with whom they argue come off looking much better by comparison. For example, in the first chapter, a drunk Texan wakes up and sees the carnage wrought by the Rapture (plane crashes, etc). He is mocked as a silly drunk by the narrators, but he is the only one to express any sort of horror at the proceedings. In the next book, we are clearly supposed to cheer for the alleged hero as he is insubordinate to his boss - whose main crime seems to be being a woman who does not fawn over him and expects him to do his job.
The "heroes" are supposed to be callous to the suffering at this point, as they have not been "saved" and are still unrepentant sinners. The problem is, even after they are saved and supposedly become model Christians, they are still consider others' suffering an inconvenience. The only notes of genuine regret or contrition come from the supposedly un-saved.
The overall premise of the entire series is this. God is set up as the good guy and Nicolae Carpathia (the antichrist) is the bad guy. Although Carpathia is definitely a murderous tyrant, his actions pale in comparison to the billions actively killed by God. It's almost to the point that one would suspect a parody at work, but that isn't the case. It doesn't help in the slightest that, as the characters frequently state, the Antichrist's entire seven year reign is all part of God's plan. God and Satan want the same things happening, except that Satan hopes to Screw Destiny and win in the end. Which he had plenty of opportunity to do. Or would have, if his actions were driven by the motivations he is purported to have, and not the needs of the authors. LaHaye and Jenkins' end times theology requires the fulfilment of a rather extensive series of prophesies in order for the Second Coming to happen, many of which require some particular action from the Anti-Christ. A particularly stupid example is requiring the Anti-Christ to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, so that he can desecrate it. All he has to do to Screw Destiny is...do nothing. If the temple is not rebuilt, the chain of necessary prophecy fulfillment will be broken. But of course he does it, because the plot says so.
New Jedi Order: In the first half of the New Jedi Order series, there's a schism in the Jedi Order over whether or not it is acceptable to use leftover Imperial projects and superweapons against the Yuuzhan Vong. The Jedi in favor are called radicals and, just to make sure we know that their viewpoint is immoral and evil, the authors made them willing to kidnap children and perform other heinous acts to get what they want. No one, including Luke, seems to be able to explain to us how killing Yuuzhan Vong with superlasers is more evil than fighting them with conventional weapons.
This gets turned on its head in Destiny's Way, just after the series' halfway point, when Han points out to an Imperial Remnant officer a more practical reason not to bother with superweapons: they're colossal wastes of resources that are more for terrorizing civilian populations than for actually fighting wars. The closest thing the Yuuzhan Vong have to a civilian population isn't in a position to affect policy, and the warrior caste would more likely see superweapons as a challenge. Not to mention that the Yuuzhan Vong use Organic Technology superweapons of their own (such as one that pulls a moon down onto a planet) and when one is used against them (Centerpoint Station), it ends in a complete disaster that does no good.
In the Fate Of The Jedi series, Galactic Alliance Chief of State Natasi Daala enacts various policies to rein in what she sees as the unchecked power that the Jedi have within the Galactic Alliance. Coming off a major galactic civil war started by a corrupted Jedi who enacted a coup and seized control of the Alliance, she is not entirely without precedent or reason to be concerned over potentially uncontrolled actions by Force Users. These policies grow excessively draconian and begin to cost her public opinion due to various publicized incidents. However, instead of using the mounting public pressure and political scandals resulting from her actions to legally reign in Daala's excesses (as had already proved effective in overturning the siege of the Jedi Temple and dissolving the Court of Jedi Affairs), the Jedi embark on a coup to remove her from power that involves taking hostages, attacking government facilities, killing the appointed acting Grand Master of the Jedi, Kenth Hamner, and removing Daala from power to install Hamner's killer as part of an acting Triumvirate over the Alliance.
The Turner Diaries: a strawman proclaims the "heroes" of the book as "depraved, racist criminals." He's supposed to be a strawman, yet this is a 100% accurate description of the "heroic" white supremacist Right Wing Militia Fanatic group known as the Order (that went on to inspire an actual group of depraved, racist terrorists by the same name, whose exploits included murdering a critical Jewish talk show host in his own driveway).
The Pro and Contra chapter in The Brothers Karamazov, including its influential Grand Inquisitor story, gives us Ivan's nihilistic message and a rejection of God, which is a message Dostoyevski wanted to ultimately reject. The following parts involving Alyosha and Father Zosima provide sort of a counterpoint, a defense of God and meaningful existence. However, Ivan's accusation has a greater dramatic impact and is far more memorable.
The protagonist of Cryptonomicon gets in an argument with some academics who are clearly meant to come off as hopelessly deluded, politically correct, stuck-up elitists whose work has no basis in reality and is just about furthering trendy bullshit as a career. How? By pointing out, however exaggeratedly, that a white male from a middle-class background is more likely to end up in engineering than someone less privileged. Note that they don't say this is the protagonist's personal fault, just that the system he's in is often unfair. He responds by getting defensive and trying to claim he himself is oppressed by their "attack", using the exact same sort of language.
In the fourth Maximum Ride novel, Max is furious that, after she and the Flock come to the government's attention, they would dare to try to put them in a boarding school. A few of their concerns — being told they would be studied to a certain extent, etc — were valid, given their history. Several others not so much, especially when Max basically tells them "we've had it harder than you and we know better". It's kind of difficult to argue that they are properly prepared to move to civilian life when they decide to dive-bomb the Pentagon for amusement and then are surprised that there's retaliation.
In the novel New Moon, Bella is annoyed that Jessica won't talk to her, and thinks that Jessica is being petty and evil. This is after Bella has ignored everyone for four months, used Jessica to get Charlie off her back, ditched her shortly into the movie to pine over Edward, and then nearly frightened Jessica to death by walking up to a very dangerous-looking biker in a bad part of town that Jessica clearly wanted to avoid, all because Bella thought it may be the same one that Edward rescued her from before.
In Breaking Dawn, Leah calls Bella out on some of her more selfish actions in trying to manipulate and keep Jacob with her despite knowing full well how much it hurts Jacob to be around her knowing that she's chosen to die and become an undead monstrosity with Edward over a life with him. Even Bella admits that she's being selfish, but chooses to keep doing it anyway. Everyone else gets angry at Leah for upsetting Bella, including the guy Leah was trying to stand up for. And any point Leah made is completely forgotten.
Friedrich Nietzsche had this reaction to Dostoevsky's Raskolnikov, from Crime and Punishment: Raskolnikov at first believes himself to be an Übermensch, but is wracked by guilt and eventually gets his redemption through a religious (specifically Orthodox Christian, as this was Dostoevsky's religion) experience. Nietzsche regarded the religious redemption bit as bull and disdained Raskolnikov's feelings of guilt, but agreed with the unreformed Raskolnikov's Ubermenschian perspective.
An in-universe example appears in George Orwell's 1984, in the form of Emmanuel Goldstein, a strawman politician invented by the ruling party in order to draw out dissidents. Orwell uses Goldstein in order to set out his own views of totalitarian societies; in the book he is entirely correct, but the authorities do not even try to suppress his message. Instead, they attempt to condition the population into being unable to comprehend an objective reality.
In the Inheritance Cycle, Galbatorix can be seen as this. While later books established him as being thoroughly evil and tyrannical, his depiction in early books left him looking pretty good for many readers. His rise to power (in which he won humanity's superiority over the elves and killed the all-powerful dragon riders) is portrayed as a Moral Event Horizon, and he wants to stomp out the urgals, a warlike species whose rite of passage is to find something, anything, and kill it. He's done plenty of unsavoury things and isn't to be praised, but he's made humanity safe and superior, and even his enemies acknowledge that his batshit insanity doesn't touch most of his subjects. And he is the established power, with a clear-cut law, as opposed to the Varden, who will gladly accept you into their group provided you A.) follow your flawed and suicidal orders to the letter, and B.) be sure to always shower praise on Eragon, the elves, and your visionary leader, Nasuda. In the end it isn't so much that the Strawman Has A Point, but that the other side is so self-righteous and annoying the reader finds it hard to root for them.
Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits provides an example of this trope. Esteban Trueba's feudalistic views on his workers are unacceptable by today's standards. Still, it would indeed be quite idealistic (if not downright unreasonable) to believe that barely literate people are fully qualified to participate in political life. Apparently it never occurs to him (or more likely, this was the entire point) that they won't get to be qualified by being kept out, either. Increased education for the peasants might help, but of course Don Trueba would hardly support that.
In The Dresden Files: Proven Guilty, Harry and the Merlin have a brief disagreement about the punishment for breaking the Laws (death), with the Merlin saying that it's necessary and Harry saying that it's cruel and unjust to execute those who were never told the Rules and didn't have any guidance. They're both right, but black magic is addictive, and the case in the book was so far gone that there was no way to rehabilitate the killer. While the Merlin is basically displayed as a hidebound old bastard who prefers shooting first and asking questions never, he's dead right when he says that the Rules and the punishments for breaking them are keeping everything together.
In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Satan argues against God invoking democracy, free speech and egalitarianism. This sounds more plausible nowadays that it would have at the time — and note that Satan himself also interrupts his speech to explain that there can be superiors and inferiors because he doesn't want his angels to revolt against him. The speech is so persuasive that a lot of critics think it's meant to be that way, for one reason or another. William Blake, for instance, famously viewed Milton as "of the Devil's party without knowing it."
The Dean in The Fountainhead exists mainly to mouth bad arguments in favour of classical architecture so that Howard Roark can humiliate him, but his fearful reaction to Roark's total indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others seems totally sensible given that that kind of chill, unemotional disregard is generally associated with sociopathy.
On at least one occasion, the audience is supposed to support Jack in his hatred of the 'wishy washy liberal human rights lawyer' who (quite correctly) calls Jack on his tendency to illegally hold people with no firm evidence and then torture them into giving him information. In Season 4, Jack even yells "How can you sleep at night!" at a human rights lawyer brought in to defend one of Jack's prisoners who has every right to have an attorney. Season 7 attempts to address this tendency with a few scenes of introspection but ultimately still cheers Jack on as he runs around shooting and kidnapping people. Jack has had torture fail before, and at least on one occasion tortured someone who really didn't know anything, but the writers didn't do more more than have Jack angst instead of showing real consequences of using torture that have been around since Medieval Europe (indeed, that were why torture was abolished to begin with) — not that it can make people tell you the truth, but that it can make people tell you anything you want, even if they're not actually guilty of anything. Police states make use of torture not primarily for obtaining information, but confessions, which can be trotted out as "proof" later.
In Season 5, Lynn McGill is portrayed as being mentally unstable for accusing almost every single member of CTU of conspiring against him. However, since many of them, from Buchanan on down are seen to have been conspiring against McGill, or at least keeping vital information from him, he does have something of a point.
Babylon 5: During a Flash Forward to a hundred years in the future, where historians are debating the role and morality of the actions of Sheridan and his disciples. An aged Delenn tells them off for talking drivel and listening only to what they want to hear, but from the point of view of real historiography they're presenting valid viewpoints given the data available to them. After all, extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence, and given how momentous Sheridan's actions were it would be very unprofessional for a historian to unquestioningly buy into the story.
On the other hand, Delenn was a close friend, confidant, and lover of Sheridan, so it's understandable that she'd stick up for all of the friends and family she had at that time. Doesn't mean that she's right for doing this, but it makes her position a little more reasonable.
The Beast: This review of this Made-for-TV Movie points how the characterization in the film suffers badly from this trope. We are meant to cheer for the Designated Hero Whip Dalton and boo the Designated Villain Schuyler Graves. Unfortunately, practically the only sign we're given that Graves is evil is when he's criticizing Whip for destroying a raft that Graves was trying to claim as his property — perfectly legitimately in accordance with maritime law.
The Knights of Byzantium in season 5 are pretty harsh: they plan on killing Buffy's younger sister, "The Key", to prevent a Hellgod from another dimension from using her to open a portal back to her dimension that would plunge this world into chaos. As hard as it is to blame Buffy for defending her sister and going against this, the fact remains that in doing so she is risking the fate of the entire world merely to attempt to save one magically created metaphysical entity that Buffy falsely believes to be her sister. Looking at things from a rational standpoint, what the Knights are trying to do makes perfect sense, and in fact Buffy comes to agree with that after a few years of Character Development, telling Giles in season 7 that if given the choice again she would sacrifice Dawn for the good of the world.
The Social Worker from the episode "Gone". We're meant to hate her for making Buffy's life harder and cheer Buffy on when she's invisible and gets revenge, but really, Buffy's in no state to look after a teenage girl with issues, even if she is her sister, especially considering the way she handled that was by making the social worker look like she was insane to her boss. Way to make sure that other children are being looked after, Buffy.
A strange example where both sides fall into this trope revolves around Spike in season 7. Robin wanted to kill Spike as he considered him a threat to the group, but while he was primarily driven by revenge for Spike killing his mother and didn't consider that the person who killed her didn't actually exist anymore, the point remains that Spike had spent centuries being a mass-murdering monster and had just recently gone on another killing spree under the influence of the current Big Bad. Meanwhile, Buffy wanted to keep Spike alive because she considered him no longer dangerous to them and a valuable asset, but while she was clearly being influenced by her feelings for him and didn't actually have any guarantee whatsoever he was free from the control of the First, the point remains that the First had much worse at its disposal and they needed literally every advantage they could get against it.
Xander is portrayed as a Strawman after the initial shock and dismay of Angel being back from hell has worn off on the Scoobies. The audience is supposed to feel that Xander is just being jealous and can't understand the love that Buffy and Angel share. Except that he is totally correct in that Angel is a huge threat, which he proved in the previous season when he lost his soul. Everyone eventually gets over the fact that they were tortured or attacked except for Xander and brings up that Buffy should slay or at the very least not be in contact with him several times over the next few episodes, for which Willow and Buffy admonish him. Buffy assures them that she is keeping things professional, but every time we see them they are making out. This wouldn't be a problem if she knew exactly how far she could go before he would lose his soul, but the terms of his curse are vague at best and it can be broken by other means.
Ironically, Buffy and Xander end up on the opposite side of the argument when it turns out that Anya, Xander's vengeance demon ex-fiance, is responsible for several deaths. Buffy instantly decides she's a danger and needs to be killed, Xander disagrees because... well, Anya's their friend and they're kind of used to them turning evil by now. In the end, Willow Takes A Third Option.
Willow's first meeting with the Wiccan group where she meets Tara. The Wiccans dismiss Willow for suggesting they try actual magic, as they would do in any real life school. They're protrayed as being close-minded posers, despite the fact that The Masquerade is in effect and as far as they're concerned, Willow's suggestion is no more valid than it would be in real life.
Carrusel: Jorge tells on Bibi, since Bibi was cheating on a test. The audience is supposed to take Bibi's side, since Jorge is such an abominable character overall. But cheating is wrong. It is unfair for Bibi to cheat and get away with it. And at age 9, nobody will be faulted for saying it loud and immediately instead of waiting till later and telling the teacher in private.
Casualty: One rather odd storyline expected the audience to hate locum consultant Dominic Carter because registrar Tom Kent holds a grudge against him for an incident when Dominic covered up a mistake made by a junior colleague and Tom reported him. Yet most of the time Dominic was the one in the right. He treats a teenage girl who fell down some stairs for the injuries she sustained and tells her to see her GP about feeling unwell. She later turns out to have meningitis but she was showing no symptoms when Dominic examined her. When Tom calls Dominic out on this, Dominic points out Tom also failed to diagnose her so Tom punches him, escaping punishment after a half-hearted apology. Then Dominic wants to declare a baby with severe hypothermia dead but Tom insists on continuing with a resuscitation and gets his heart going again. He's hailed as a hero but Dominic rightly points out the child is still seriously ill and even if he survives will probably be brain-damaged. Dominic is promptly sacked as a liability. To compound the problem, Tom then tries to attack colleague Dylan Keogh simply because he told the truth when questioned about Tom punching Dominic and Dylan resigns (although that's mostly down to not being able to work with Tom when he's sleeping with Dylan's ex-wife), meaning Tom has cost the department two doctors. Who exactly is the liability?
Criminal Minds: Any time anyone doubts the legitimacy of offender profiling, particularly when it's the only evidence for an arrest. In real life, profiling has never been proved to be effective and tests show "experts" have no more success with it than laymen.
In the episode Tabula Rasa, there is an especially egregious example where Hotchner is testifying at a criminal trial. When the defense lawyer claims that the FBI's "profilers" are doing is simply cold reading, Hotchner responds by cold reading the defense lawyer. This of course defeats this lawyer despite actually proving his point. Even though Hotchner was correct in his predictions, this does not prove anything of value. If that was a real defense lawyer that had been intelligent, he should have called a fake psychic to do the exact same thing as a rebuttal witness. Of course at the end of the episode, as always, they end up proving themselves correct with other evidence.
Doctor Who: In the serial "The Invasion", aspiring glamour photographer Isobel suggests getting proof of the Cybermen's presence in the sewers by going down to take pictures. The Brigadier agrees, but intends to use his own men instead, on the basis that such a situation is no place for a lady. Isobel blows up at how backward and sexist he's being, but the Brig refuses, and both girls gang up on Jamie for agreeing with him and both she and Zoe walk away in a huff to get the pics themselves with Jamie worriedly tagging along, which ends up getting a police officer and a UNIT soldier sent to rescue them killed. While it could easily be argued that the Brig was in the wrong to assume they could not handle themselves for being women, it might have been better to let trained and experienced soldiers do the dangerous work, and neither of the girls are called out for their reckless actions getting two men killed.
ER: Kerry Weaver was seen as a villain for wanting people to follow rules and policy.
Friends: Joey not wanting to share food is portrayed as a selfish character trait. Except in the episode the girl he doesn't share food with simply grabs it off his plate without even asking. And on the second date she orders a salad and then asks to eat some of his food as well. Joey has a right to be annoyed since if she wanted to eat his food, why didn't she order it for herself? In other episodes he seems happy enough to let Phoebe have some of his food when she asks nicely whereas this girl simply looks at his food, asks "are those stuffed clams?" and then reaches out to grab one.
In the season 5 finale Emily wants to call off the wedding and move it to a later date because the venue has undergone sudden construction work. Monica tries to explain to Ross about how Emily has been dreaming of her wedding her entire life and thus her wishes come first. Except Ross, Joey, Monica, Chandler and Ross's parents had flown all the way from America to England and they had already spent a fortune on planning the wedding so Emily's wanting to move the wedding last minute comes across as pretty unpractical.
Similarly when Monica's parents spend her wedding fund she finds out that Chandler has a lot of money saved that would be enough to pay for one of her dream weddings. Chandler refuses to pay but has to eventually learn to respect Monica's wishes. Except that he has a right to not want to blow all his saved money on one party when he wanted to save it up for their future. Monica agrees with this at the end of the episode.
Kurt relentlessly pursues Finn, knowing full well that Finn is straight. He orchestrates their parents into getting together to get closer to Finn. When they move in together, they end up sharing a room. Kurt redecorates it romantically and Finn, fed up with Kurt's advances, gets angry and ends up using the word "fag." Kurt's father Burt hears that and throws Finn out of the house for it. While it's obvious Finn should not have used that word, Kurt's behavior bordered on sexual harassment. While the writers intended the scene to make Finn the wrong one, over the hiatus, they heard fans' reactions to the scene and in season two wrote in a scene where Burt calls Kurt out for it, telling him that if Finn pursued a girl that way he would, indeed, be called out for sexual harassment.
Bryan Ryan, a guest character played by Neil Patrick Harris, is an ex-glee-clubber who goes on a crusade against school arts programs out of his own frustration that his singing and acting career didn't exactly pan out. While the point is lost in how far he takes it - basically encouraging kids to give up on their dreams - he's not wrong that most of them will not end up in Broadway or Hollywood and that they should have back-up plans. The show doesn't help by having background characters like Tina be the ones to argue for their arts dreams.
Upon his return, Jesse St. James is painted as a massive Jerkass for pointing out things like being talented isn't an excuse not to practice and rehearse. More than a few people in fandom agreed, and some even went so far as to say they were hoping New Directions didn't win at Nationals, since the fact that they weren't preparing any songs, weren't prepared to practice, and really didn't care showed they didn't deserve to win that year, and agreed with the decision in the finale.
In another episode, Will wants Emma to embrace that she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by wearing it printed on a tee shirt in front of the club. She chickens out and instead says her flaw is that she is a ginger. When Will confronts her, she says that she did not confess she has a serious mental disorder because as a staff member, it is highly inappropriate to talk about such things with students. And while she does later admit that that was just an excuse and goes out in the ending number with a shirt reading OCD, she was initially quite right that her personal psychiatric health is not a subject she should discuss with her students.
The Gruen Transfer: In "The Pitch" segments, some topics, while unsellable, do get mighty-convincing ads. This is naturally intentional, since the whole point is to demonstrate exactly how effective advertising can be.
Prejudice had a double-version; a lawyer for a guy who killed a Black man based the Insanity Defense on his client's racism being so strong that he had to be insane. Except when the defendant gets on the stand to rant against Blacks, his complaints weren't the rants of an insane nutcase; rather, he made nuisance complaints about talking during movies and other stereotypical differences between Whites and Blacks that numerous Black comedians have pointed out as part of their routines. He only "had a point" inasmuch as whomever he was presumably plagiarizing and the sensibility of his arguments undercut his defense as well; he was supposed to be an irrational madman but he came across as a guy who watched too many Chris Rock films.
Serena Southerlyn was an in-universe version; anytime a defendant had a liberal-leaning defense, she'd jump to their side (i.e. a homeless man claims homelessness made him kill), saying things like "You don't think his lawyer has a point about homelessness being a problem?" She oscillated between just playing the Devil's Advocate and outright missing the point that, in this case, not everyone who is homeless goes off and murders someone (indeed, many homeless people have been the victims of murder, since they are unusually vulnerable). Further, one can agree homelessness is a problem without viewing being a homeless person as by itself a defense to murder charges.
For example, there's an episode where a boy has raped a celebrity, allegedly due to the influence of listening to and idolizing a radio shock jock. The shock jock is portrayed as a complete asshole who cares more about freedom of speech than his point — at one point, he refuses to testify that the perpetrator admitted he'd raped the girl while he was on his show. Of course, the only reason that he even has to testify to this fact is because the censors took his show off the air in mid-broadcast, before the boy made the confession. Meaning if not for the rampant desire to censor him (which the protagonists of the show shared) there would be a taped, nationally broadcast confession. He is a complete asshole, but he does have a good point.
SVU also has plenty of in-universe invocations where the validity of the criminal's ridiculous excuse-du-jour (alcoholism, porn, etc.) gets debated with the members of SVU stopping what they're doing for a minute or two to turn the squad room into an Internet forum of sorts, talking about the issue at hand. Munch was usually the guy in the defendant's corner, and could be counted on to work the issue into one of his various anti-government/anti-corporation rants.
Benson is effectively Munch's misandrist foil, often turning her back on an argument if it implies that a man did not rape someone he is accused of raping despite a lack of evidence or motive. One particularly egregious example is an episode where a man's DNA is found in a dead victim (but with no visible sign of sexual trauma). She says his DNA will tell everything. This is fairly shocking considering two episodes earlier she was framed for murder with a technique that removes DNA from blood samples and replaces it with someone else's.
One episode had the detectives interrogating a man whom they suspected of raping a disabled woman. The man insists that the sex was consensual. When the detectives scoff at this, the man chides them for assuming that just because someone is in a wheelchair, he/she is incapable of sexual desires or feelings. While his point is undermined by the fact that he's guilty, it's a valid point just the same.
Another episode has a woman allegedly raped by her policeman husband. While the squad is very clear that, uniform or no uniform, rape is rape, the marital-rape issues cause more squad-room debate. At the end, when the case has devolved into he-said-she-said and the defendant (who waived a jury trial) has been acquitted, Benson complains that this means that a woman claiming her husband raped her had better be battered too. Well, maybe not battered, but since one's mate's DNA in/on one's person is hardly evidence of rape by itself — yeah, some other physical evidence would be helpful.
One episode has a boy who has a psychotic episode and shoots two of his classmates, and so the SVU team blames the pharmaceutical company that produced the pills he was on at the time. When confronted, the representative from the company makes some very valid points: the medication was sent only to people who had already been prescribed it previously, it was sent completely free of charge, the instructions were very clear that it wasn't meant to be taken by children, and it was prescribed to the boy's mother and not the boy himself. The fact that the boy's school demanded he be medicated or he would be expelled doesn't matter. The fact that the mother's HMO refused to cover regular therapy (with a doctor who didn't think the boy needed to be medicated at all) doesn't matter. The fact that the boy's mother, who gave him the pills without reading the instructions or consulting a doctor, continued giving them to him after he developed severe insomnia and paranoid schizophrenia, doesn't matter. All that matters is that Big Pharma is bad, and that's why the CEO is arrested. Granted, the CEO was morally shady (he had pills sent directly to patients through doctors' lists) and he's not charged with murder - only for reckless endangerment and misuse of the mail - but the audience is still expected to think of him as directly, morally culpable for the killings. For extra fun, consider that the doctor who gave his patient list to the pharmaceutical company did it specifically so that his patients could get, free of charge, the medications they needed but couldn't afford!
M*A*S*H: In the episode, "Yessir, That's Our Baby," the staff are trying to help a foundling Amerasian baby and at one point speak to a Korean official about the matter. He does not defend the common racism of his culture that would plague the child, but also points out that unlike the British, the United States authorities completely ignore the issue and refuse to lift a finger to help such children. Hawkeye and Col. Potter can only look at each other, realizing that they have nothing to say in response to those facts.
Memphis Beat: Dwight and the other cops are issued smartphones. They prefer their regular phones, and treat them with contempt. Dwight even quips "there's an app for that" just before he uses his to break a window. Problem is, smartphones can actually increase productivity and effectiveness, with proper training, which Dwight and Co. admittedly had not received (yet). Also, Dwight was risking damage to an expensive phone and associated services on the Memphis taxpayers' dime.
The Mentalist: Fan-hated Sam Bosco actually has a pretty good point when he says Jane has damaged the team by persuading them to resort to illegal tactics repeatedly in the pursuit of justice. Once, when Rigsby and Cho are trying to convince him to let Jane off for bugging his office, he asks in return if they'd be willing to do borderline illegal things for him in return. When their immediate answer is yes, he reveals that it was a Secret Test of Character which they absolutely failed since as cops they shouldn't be so willing to break the law. He's absolutely right.
While Jane is an excellent detective, he's also a con artist and expect at manipulation who takes great delight in getting people to commit crimes which he can then nail them for, or using other illegal methods to solve cases.
This is played with (usually consciously) with King Uther. The man hates magic due to the fact that it killed his wife, and his genocide of all those who practice magic, no matter how benevolent, is seen as terrible. And yet, most the time the threats against Camelot are entirely magical in nature (though in turn, many of Camelot's magical enemies are striking against Uther out of vengeance of what he's done to them). It's a vicious circle.
Other times, Uther has to make tough decisions about how to rule, and though he's often portrayed to be in the wrong, it's not difficult to see his point when he refuses to help a small village in a neighbouring kingdom because sending armed knights in to help might be construed as an act of war, or when he cuts off supplies from the lower towns during a famine because he needs what little food is left to feed the knights and thus maintain Camelot's safety.
Although that first one falls through in the Series 2 finale, when its revealed that while he was unwilling to risk war on account of a peasant village getting wiped out, he was willing to send soldiers in order to exterminate the last dragonlord, who at this point was completely powerless, was outside his kingdom, and if anything had only helped him. Balinor's initial willingness to let Camelot get wiped out is Disproportionate Retribution, but can you honestly blame him?
Why is Abby right about her colleague's familial relationships? Because... well. Why is she right when she decides they should all reconcile with their fathers? Understandable with Gibbs, since it's just old resentments, sort of understandable with Tony considering that his father really does care about him behind the dismissiveness and manipulativeness. Not even a little bit understandable with Ziva, whose father left her to be tortured to death, without going to help or diverting a single piece of his considerable resources towards helping her. Though he had no problem trying to get her arrested for murder afterwards, even though she was innocent. Yes, Abby? Why should Ziva try to fix their relationship? Yes? WHY?
Abby has another one in the episode Dog Tags, where a "drug sniffing" dog is believed to have killed his handler. The same dog attacks and hurts McGee in the beginning of the episode, yet he's treated like crap for not trusting the dog that attacked him. Not only that, the evidence throughout most of the episode points to the dog as the killer, so McGee has even more reason not to trust the dog. What's Abby's counter-argument? Animals Are Innocent and dogs are man's best friend. And yes, she really does use the "dogs are man's best friend" line as a reason why the dog should be trusted. Of course, Abby forces McGee to take care of an animal that he not only clearly dislikes, but also attacked him. And then she yells at him for having shot the dog when it was trying to kill him. A German Shepherd is attempting to maul him and he was supposed to... what? Pet it?
The Office US: Ryan in the U.S. version, during his stint in corporate. He puts Jim's job at jeopardy when demanding that Jim quit wasting time at the office and start showing some sales numbers. When Jim succeeds at a sale, rather than heap praise onto him, Ryan points out that Jim should perform sales regularly and without needing to be reminded to do so every so often, seeing as Jim is employed with the company as, well, a salesman. On the show, this was depicted as an unfair, personal vendetta against Jim. Personal vendetta or not, Jim had been up until this time (and resumes being, after Ryan's arrest) an extreme under-performer.
Except that Jim had been generally shown to be one of the highest performing salesmen at the company (around the top seven, I believe); the office is just an extremely laid-back place in general, and the reason Ryan is shown to be in the wrong is that he's singling out Jim specifically, even though the other salesmen have plenty of wasted company time to their own names. Not to mention the sale mentioned above was an extremely large, profitable sale that had gone in with absolutely zero intention of switching paper suppliers, so Jim had ample reason to be proud. Sure, Jim usually explicitly slacks off compared to what he's capable of, but he has always performed quite well as a salesman.
The Monroe Republic might be a violent group of thugs, but they are also the closest thing to law and government in this part of the wasteland. The writers are clearly well aware of this; all of the villains have sympathetic motivations, and their families are frequently mentioned. Then you have Monroe becoming so deranged that he's killing loyal friends and soldiers out of paranoia, and trying to use a nuke and anthrax to kill off all his enemies. The other parts of the former USA have been shown to be better places to live compared to the Monroe Republic.
Miles might be a JerkassAnti-Hero, but he not only survived the last 15 years in good shape, but he went from being the leader of the Monroe Militia to becoming completely anonymous, despite living (undisguised) in the middle of a city with a whole army hunting him. The characters don't take his advice as much as they probably should.
Rachel in episode 17 has now taken turning the power back on as her motivation. She's only doing it because she's trying to avenge her dead son, Danny. While she is right to point out that they can't save everyone, she also undermines her position by threatening to abandon Aaron. Aaron, who came with her voluntarily and saved her life due to a broken leg that happened because of a chain of events that she started.
Roseanne: Leon is portrayed as wrong for wanting to fire Roseanne, even though she really is a lazy and sometimes intimidating employee who backtalks him almost every time he asks her to do something, even if that thing is something completely reasonable for an employer to ask of an employee. Of course, Leon is often a bit of a jerk in his own right.
Smallville: A number of characters have tried to force Clark/The Blur out of hiding and into the spotlight of the public eye. Since the series as a whole was building to Clark eventually coming out as Superman, the arguments for Clark staying hidden became less credible over time. The evil reporter from Season 2 who tried to forcibly expose Clark's secret argued that the public had a right to know about a powerful alien living in their backyard, which makes sense from a purely ethical standpoint of journalist ethics (as well as the aforementioned fact that the public would eventually find out about him) even if Clark does indeed have a right to a private life. There was also the corrupt DA from Season 9 who wanted The Blur to show his face and answer for a series of screwups that were blamed on him that were really the fault of the Wonder Twins trying to impersonate their favorite hero; his corruption was revealed last-minute as a means to give the Wonder Twins a heroic gesture and kill any debate on whether or not the Blur should have to reveal himself to clear his name.
Stargate Atlantis: Bates has legitimate concerns about Teyla as a security risk but because she's part of the main cast they get dismissed and his nose rubbed in her trustworthiness when she proves it.
Also in "Condemned", the governor is portrayed as an evil and corrupt politician who sends people to their death to serve his own interests of protecting himself from the wraith. But compared to any of the other worlds in the Pegasus galaxy, they're doing quite well. They've reached a level of technological advancement that generally isn't allowed by the wraith. If people are going to be culled either way, isn't it better to have the technology (and accompanying higher standard of living) that goes with it? This becomes particularly egregious at the end when the prisoners all escape and the wraith proceed to make their way onto the mainland. A little fridge logic indicates that the implications are greater than just karmic justice for the governor himself.
On the other hand, he's shown very clearly to be going too far with it. Originally getting fed to the Wraith was reserved for only the most serious crimes; it proved such an effective deterrent that pettier and pettier criminals had to be sentenced to death for them to keep up the quota, and in the end, people were getting sent to the island for the mere suspicion of committing a crime.
Stargate SG-1: Senator Kinsey. While his character very quickly evolves into a Jerkass, the episode that introduced him had him find out about the Stargate program and shut it down. Why? Because it's a big drain on the defense budget with few or no returns. At that point in the show, the main method of interplanetary travel is via the stargate, so shutting it down and burying it seems like a good enough plan to prevent further alien incursions. Yes, Kinsey is unaware that the Goa'uld are fully capable of reaching Earth in starships (with a single Ha'tak enough to suppress all Earth resistance and toasting the planet crispy), and Daniel's story of parallel dimensions doesn't even sound believable to his own teammates. Incidentally, SG-1 turns out to be right. Earth barely survives the attack, and the team is hailed as heroes, while Kinsey is forced to back off. Later on, he Jumps Off The Slippery Slope, losing any likeability. Additionally, later on, the program does indeed start paying for itself (figuratively speaking).
Back when the Federation forcibly relocating a people was considered a bad thing, Picard had to relocate some people descended from Native Americans from a planet that was about to become Cardassian territory. The problem for the aesop was that the Federation really was doing this for the colonists' own protection was not some thinly-veiled excuse, as the episode tried to imply by historical comparison, but because the Cardassians were brutal to the inhabitants of planets they occupy. The Federation citizens in question opted to join the Cardassians so they wouldn't have to relocate, but had acknowledged the dangers involved.
And what happened next? In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, we saw the Maquis revolt, the Cardassian crackdown, and all the predictable atrocities these caused. They chose Cardassian rule so they wouldn't have to move, but then once the consequences of living under Cardassian rule kicked in, they regretted their choice and bloody revolts and atrocities kicked in. The straw man forced-relocation position turned out to be right—albeit not because the writers intended it that way.
Contrast this with the message of Star Trek: Insurrection, in which Picard and his crew mutiny rather than remove people who aren't even native to a planet, number less than 1000, who're sitting on a literal fountain of youth that could save the lives of millions...all during the Dominion War, a conflict the Federation is badly losing at this point, where it could turn the tide in their favor. What's even worse, is that if the Federation and its allies lose the war, they predict that over a hundred billion people will die. Of course, strawman villains are used to shore up Picard's side as being right. Even many cast members (including the director, Jonathan Frakes), felt that in this case removing the Baku would have been acceptable.
A great many episodes have situations in which they have an opportunity to do something that would be very advantageous for the crew, only to have Captain Janeway refuse for reasons typically related to the Prime Directive. Some character inevitably complains about her decision and points out that her moral arguments for why they can't take advantage of the opportunity don't actually make any sense, but they're always portrayed as being wrong, while Janeway is right.
Steve Harvey: In the episode "That’s a Bunch of Bull", Regina stopped trusting Lovita’s work when she refused to admit she made a mistake on the lunch forms. It turns out that a vegetarian student caused a problem when they erased the order of hamburgers and Regina ends up apologizing to Lovita. The problem is that Lovita never even looked at the forms opting instead to watch her soap operas. So even if the student didn’t change the form if there was a mistake Lovita never would have seen it.
When Steve first took a run as acting principle is also a good example of this. Steve was shown as entirely unready for the position needing Regina to swoop in and save the day. The problem was that before she left Regina never regulated anyone to take over Steve’s normal duties no in addition to his normal jobs such as teaching classes, faculty adviser, etc. he had to do Regina’s job as well. In addition while Regina and Cedric was shown helping him they were mostly focused on they wedding plans and in most instances actively sabotaging him. Such as Regina not telling him that the sister school was visiting. Heck when Regina came back all she really did was tell everyone to do there job.
The Supersizers Eat: Discussed Trope in the episode dealing with cuisine during the Restoration period. During the episode, one source of food comes from a pamphlet written by a monarchist which contained recipes attributed to Oliver Cromwell's wife- the joke being that these recipes (and Puritan culture) were bland and uninteresting. Giles and Sue actually found those dishes to be much better than much of the other Restoration food, because they emphasized simple flavors rather than the bizarre flavor combinations which were the norm under the Restoration spirit of excess.
True Blood: Due to Creative Differences, the struggle of the vampires to "come out of the coffin" is intentionally analogous to the civil rights struggles of gays. Against the vampires is a religious sect sworn to kill them who are supposed to be seen as a bunch of corrupt and bigoted fanatics. However, the show pulls no punches in showing how vampire society is still built around killing humans. The religious sect brings up a number of valid points against allowing vampires to live in human society; most vampires really are a threat to public safety. In attempting to use vampire stories to argue for gay rights, they accidentally accept all the worst stereotypes of gays in real life.
Wire in the Blood: Played with. Penny Burgess, a manipulative journalist who has sex with a police officer for inside information, points out that it is wrong to arrest a suspect on purely circumstantial evidence and release his name to the public. Because she is a villain, the audience isn't encouraged to take what she says seriously and none of the other characters agree with her, but she is proven right when the man they arrested commits suicide in prison and is later proven to be innocent.
Wizards of Waverly Place: Stevie hatches a plan to allow all wizards to keep their magical powers. Normally, only the winner of a competition between siblings retains said powers. The fallout of such a competition has been shown to invariably break families apart. While she she may be rather extreme in her measures, she made a good point, yet Alex and friends ignore her and proceed to kill her accidentally.
Wonder Woman: In the unaired 2011 pilot, Diana has dinner with a Senator who expresses concerns about the way she does things - namely, using Cold-Blooded Torture to get information from criminals, giving the metaphorical finger to Reasonable Authority Figures, and outright committing slander by holding a press conference to accuse Liz Hurley's character of being a murderous Corrupt Corporate Executive and admitting that she doesn't have any proof besides gut instinct. In fact, the only reason she's meeting the Senator is to get justification so she can go after Hurley. Of course, since Wondy-In Name Only is the hero of this story, she's ultimately presented as right.
A September 2009 Funky Winkerbean storyline has Susan defending Wit, the story of a middle-aged woman dying of cancer, as the choice for the School Play against parents who want their kids to perform something light and fun instead of a drama with challenging and potentially depressing ideas. The message being True Art Is Angsty and should be explored over lighthearted far. However, the snarking blogs The Comics Curmudgeon and Stuck Funky, comments sided with the parentsin this situation, pointing out it would be tough to stage with high school students and lack appeal to teens and their families. Thus they would not sell tickets which would cause them to lose money thus possibly forcing cutbacks in the art department. Why not do something light and fun that many people will want to see instead? It did not help the argument that the story was interpreted as a giant Take That, Critics! at readers unsatisfied with Funky's Cerebus Syndrome.
Mage The Ascension had this pretty bad. The Technocrats were set up as a terrible conspiracy bent on destroying art and imagination and generally ruining the world. Except... they were responsible for every good thing that's happened to common people throughout history, from better farming to television. And they're also the only people who are organized and powerful enough to actually land a blow against the supernatural powers that be and saving countless people with their, admittedly harsh, actions.
White Wolf released handbooks for each of the Technocracy Conventions. Each included copious Kick the Dog moments intended to justify their position as villains. Of course, this implies that it was those actions, not their underlying ideology, that was wrong.
Once we got the spiritual sequel, White Wolf was a little more careful to have the terrible conspiracy not be quite so benevolent this time.
Another oldschool roleplaying game that may or may not have been intentional was the Coalition States of Rifts. On the surface, they're a hardcore anti-magic, xenophobic tyranny whose leader is deliberatelyPutting on the Reich because he considers the post-apocalyptic remnants of lore about Nazi Germany to depict a culture worth emulating. On the other hand, a lot of the depicted Dimensional Beings in the setting are either highly unscrupulous or outright evil AND more powerful than human beings, whilst magic isn't necessarily entirely Black Magic, but does have a lot of bad elements to it that means that seeing it as The Corruption isn't entirely wrong. Spells having the ability to come alive spontaneously and promptly seek to kill every sentient being in sight simply to draw upon their Potential Psychic Energy in order to sustain themselves is the least of the objectionable aspects of magic in the Megaverse.
Then there's Doc Reid's Rangers, from the sourcebook on the Vampire Kingdoms of Mexico. There's a lot wrong with most of the Rangers, especially Doc Reid himself, but when it comes down to the "Nazi concentration camp like" experiments on vampires, it's kind of hard to not see them as Kick the Son of a Bitch. Wild Vampires are little more than mindless, blood-sucking animals whose bite is infectious; they are basically nothing more than a blood-drinking Zombie Apocalypse. A Master Vampire is a monster who willingly sold his or her soul to a Vampire Intelligence and then chose to create as many vampires as possible in order to let it manifest itself on Earth. The only arguably innocent vampires are Secondary Vampires, who were merely the victims of the Master Vampire... and even then, they're still ruthless blood-sucking predators whose bite spawns Wild Vampires, making them heralds of the swarm.
In Porgy and Bess, "It Ain't Necessarily So," which argues that sin is a nonissue since most of the Bible is probably false, is the primary Villain Song of a cocaine dealer and bootlegger who tries to trick the male lead into incriminating himself for (justifiable) murder, forcefeeds cocaine to the formerly addicted female lead, and blackmails her into moving up the coast with him. In the coming decades, it was taken up by numerous jazz and rock singers without a hint of irony.
In Jesus Christ Superstar, Judas starts off complaining about how Jesus seems to be enjoying his fame and is no longer down-to-earth etc. Later on, he points out that, had Jesus come to earth in modern times, he could have "reached the whole nation" since back then they had no mass-communication. These are all valid points, but presumably the audience still isn't meant to agree with the traitor Judas.
Hugo Strange: "What I am doing is what should have been done. The reason all of them are here is because of you Batman. YOU draw them in and they continue to be villains because of YOU. Look at what happened with the Joker. I am cleansing the world from something you couldn't."
There's a riddle from, well... The Riddler that clearly says "Crime is a global problem. You can't stop it Batman."
Dr. Breen's speech in the early levels of Half-Life 2 raises an interesting point about the nature of immortality and the responsibilities it brings. This may actually have been the writers' intention, as it's common for villains to use reasonable arguments to justify unreasonable actions, even in Real Life. All is moot on the ground that he's working for an interdimensional empire that has killed and enslaved countless billions and drain Earth (and many other worlds) of much of its natural resources, oh yeah and suppressed breeding. On the other hand, it's hinted that if Breen hadn't arranged for Earth's surrender, the Combine would have completely wiped out humanity. Whether Breen is a sycophantic power-hungry quisling or a deluded guy who honestly believes his propaganda about the "Universal Union" that the Combine bring is a subject of much debate.
The Jackal from Far Cry 2, on his interview tapes, sounds a lot more logical than the game seems to want you to think of him as, given the tape descriptions. While many of them are blatantly MORALLY wrong, his logic to justify what he does makes a scary amount of sense. This is especially invoked in the tape asking him why Africa, when he gives the interviewer a small Hannibal Lecture, asking him if there's someone else's home he doesn't care about that he should sell weapons in.
Also the fact that he does rather nice things to the player, such as saving you from dying from Malaria at the beginning of the game, puts further questions to his evilness.
Channel4's game ''The Curfew is meant to be a look at the oppressive checks and Orwellian surveillance instituted in a hypothetical UK in the year 2525 by the Shephard party, where most are legally bound to be in by 9PM, and immigrants have to earn "citizen points" before becoming citizens, or moving from citizen Class B to the privileged Class A. The player's job is to listen to and play through the stories of the four people they're stuck in a hostel with so they can figure out which to give information that might topple the ruling regime. While the question of what human and civil rights are and should be is an interesting one, the event that propelled the party into power was a major, catastrophic nuclear attack on Great Britain, which had been preceded by a major economic depression. The titular Curfew is aimed at preventing another such attack.
Faldio is a strawman for advocating the use of the game's parallel of WMDs, which the game is staunchly against. The problem is that he was right. Forcing Alicia's Valkyria powers to awaken is the only reason Gallia is still standing by the end of the game, because on at least two occasions, when the situation was the most dire, they saved the day. Faldio is treated as a power-hungry monster and no better than their enemies, but that doesn't change the fact Gallia only won the war because of precise application of the weaponry the game's Aesops condemns.
In Faldio's case, an additional problem was with the fact that he was treating Alicia as a weapon to be used against Gallia's enemies, not as a person who has feelings and free will — which is, incidentally, the same way Maximillian was treating Selvaria. This varies somewhat between the English and Japanese versions; the English script implies that Faldio didn't ask nicely because he just couldn't risk the answer being no, resulting in an I Did What I Had to Do scenario. The Japanese paints him as much more sinister.
This gets even more grating, because the game's premise and themes could not have accommodated Alicia agreeing with Faldio even if he had asked, because one of the major themes of the game is Ambition Is Evil.
Maximillian's treatment of Selvaria tends to fall into the Strawman camp because of it; he is the low that Faldio is supposed to have sunk to, save that Selvaria openly states that Maximillian treated her like a human before a Valkyria and that she serves him out of love; yes, Max is a cold bastard, but there's nothing to indicate that he ever coerced her or forced her to do anything she didn't want to do. Her willingness to put herself in harm's way for his sake is entirely her choice.
The anime version throws in UST between Faldio and Alicia despite being based on the Japanese script, slanting his motivations in the English script's direction to a degree.
General Damon is Ambition Is Evil personified; he happily sends Squad 7 on suicidal missions as a meat shield for his own soldiers just to pad his own win-loss ratio. This comes to a head when he captures Selvaria, swooping in after the battle is over to take credit, and has her pistol-whipped to knock her out. Welkin and Alicia act like this is just the most horrible thing ever, but Damon counters with a pretty solid piece of logic: she's a Valkyria. The only safe way to take her alive is to do it while she's unconscious and unable to use her magic powers. And then she uses those powers to detonate a castle and destroy the entire army. Of course, he forgets about that shortly before taking her to an office to gloat about his victory.
In the dev's effort to discourage piracy, Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2's villains sometimes take a more sympathetic stance than the heroes. "Hey kid, want a mod chip? You'll be able to do things like cheat!" "Don't listen to her! Isn't it more fun to play the game as the devs intended it to be played? Good kids obey authority!"
It comes to a head, or at least a more balanced light, during the rematch with CFW Brave. He and Uni have a pre-fight debate in regards to the importance of making children happy vs. the integrity of happiness through underhanded means. Both sides raise understandable points and despite Brave inevitably losing the resulting boss battle, both of them end up respecting each other and their goals.
ThisSubnormality comic was probably intended as a massive Take That to professional sports, but it ruins it by making Brian the Brain seem like a whiny elitist and the other two characters intelligent guys who just enjoy turning him off and relaxing every now and then. In fact, "Take a break from intellectualism every now and then" is probably a better moral than "Watching sports will make you an idiot misogynistic racist homophobic criminal". It's just as easy to take the comic as intentionally arguing the former moral, rather than the latter. Rowntree himself commented that it could be interpreted either way, and the comic is meant to point out the "cognitive dissonance regarding hockey in particular".
ThisDinosaur Comics strip. Granted, it's not really clear that we're supposed to side with Utahraptor, but given that he is fairly consistently depicted as being smarter and more reasonable than T-Rex, having him argue a point which essentially boils down to "Hitler Ate Sugar" is somewhat jarring. On the other hand, it's also entirely likely that Utahraptor could simply be teasing him.
In Jay Naylor's comic Original Life, the small girl Angelica was created as a strawman into which Naylor stuffed everything he hated, from politics to spirituality to musical taste. She's also widely considered the most likeable and sympathetic character in the strip since she seems to be one of the few characters that doesn't act like a complete Jerkass to everyone around her. For five months, she's been waging a campaign against the strip's Objectivist protagonists, and most reader reaction is rooting for her.
In the Sonichu webcomic, several trolls are on trial for murdering a character. The trial is quickly derailed to have more to do about their respective webcomics, and one of the characters, stoned off his mind, complains about the author's lack of work ethic. There are several tirades about letting the author write as he wants, but the stoner was right. Not updating can be a serious detriment to the success of any franchise. Sadly, this was played dead serious (literally, as this was used as evidence for their executions), rather than lampshading the hell about the absurdity of it all.
Neopets: Xandra did have a legitimate point: the Faeries do comparatively little for Neopia, and yet everyone idolises and reveres them. However, her response was... well... there aren't many people who'd say that crashing Faerieland into Neopia was the right thing to do, shall we say.
In Super Mario Bros. Z, Shadow's arguing that they should leave Princess Peach in Bowser's hands while they instead focus on finding the last of the Chaos Emeralds and stopping Turbo Metal Sonic is used as an excuse for Sonic to call him out on how he's become more of an asshole since Mobius was destroyed. However, while he was a jerk in how he put it, Shadow did have a number of valid points:
Bowser is, particularly when it comes to Peach, practically a Harmless Villain. He kidnaps her all the time and would never harm her.
Bowser outright told them that he wouldn't hurt her and would wait for them to finish gathering the Chaos Emeralds to hand over as her ransom.
Turbo Metal Sonic, in contrast to Bowser, is an Omnicidal Maniac who will happily butcher his way across the Mushroom Kingdoms looking for the last Chaos Emeralds while they are distracted dealing with Bowser's umpteenth harmless kidnapping. In fact, he had already butchered pretty much everyone except Sonic and Shadow in their home dimension, so we know he's capable of doing the same thing here.
Once they have those last Chaos Emeralds, they can transform into a group of Super Mode versions of themselves and lay waste to Bowser's whole army in the blink of an eye, then track down Turbo Metal Sonic and tear him to scrapmetal.
This was a frequent occurrence on Captain Planet with the character Wheeler, who was portrayed usually as an arrogant and obnoxious jerk and hence always wrong, despite the fact that he often made sense. In one episode, he was mocked and declared selfish due to his opposition to keeping endangered and injured animals picked up in the groups travels on Hope Island, despite the fact that not taking exotic species out of their natural habitat is a perfectly valid Green Aesop on its own. This is not the only example. He has been "wrong" to espouse two entirely contradictory positions in two separate episodes, and was somehow wrong both times - even when the episodes came to the same conclusion. See The Complainer Is Always Wrong for details.
King of the Hill often centered on Hank opposing some person or organization that conflicted with Hank's view of life, and Hank is almost always portrayed as being the correct person in these conflicts, though many of the apparent straw men often had good enough positions. Occasionally, however, Hank would lampshade it.
X-Men: Evolution: When Lance joined the X-Men, Scott does not trust him and eventually accuses him of being behind a series of joyrides which have totaled the various X-Vehicles. He is presented as being in the wrong for not trusting Lance and being so apprehensive, in order to motivate Lance to stick with the Brotherhood, even after Scott realizes he was being a dick about it and apologizes. However, Scott had every right to be suspicious as Lance had been an aggressive criminal and was only interested in joining because of his crush on Kitty. Scott even did try to welcome him at first, but became dissuaded when Lance repeatedly did things for the fun of angering Scott including lying about going on joyrides when he did not.
In The Secret of Kells, the Abbot is portrayed as being an obstinate Philistine obsessed with building a wall to fortify Kells instead of letting the monks, who are artists and illuminators, get on with their true work of creating beautiful manuscripts. This would be fair if it weren't Dark Ages Ireland, which is constantly under threat from marauding Vikings - who do, in fact, turn up and burn the abbey to the ground. One can argue that the wall didn't work to keep the invaders out, but if everyone had taken the project more seriously, it might have been completed on time.
The Canterlot Elite in "Sweet and Elite" are depicted as smug elitists for treating the ponies from Ponyville as boorish hicks. In addition to ruining the Grand Galloping Gala (the highest profile national annual party), Rarity's friends crash and trash the Canterlot Garden Party (the second highest profile national annual party), making one wonder if the reputation for being boorish hicks is at least somewhat deserved.
In Rocket Power, a group of Moral Guardians lobby to put a ban on Skateboarding, biking, running, and rough-housing on the boardwalk and pier after Merv Stimpleton steps on a skateboard and falls down. (Presumably one of many other accidents, not just when someone carrying boxes was shown as stepping on the skateboard and falling down). They're depicted as strawmen, but if you ask anyone who lives around a town like that, that ban isn't exactly that unreasonable due to safety reasons. Meanwhile, the kids had to be told not to skate around an extremely crowded area. However, until that episode, there wasn't exactly a skate park or an area that was safe and friendly.
The episode at least acknowledges this through Ray. He points out that regardless of Mr. Stimpleton's Disproportionate Retribution, the kids did hurt him and hadn't yet apologized. In other words, Otto and Co. care more about having fun than someone getting hurt, proving Stimpleton's point.
Stan Smith of American Dad is often portrayed as a bigoted self-serving sociopath who causes havoc over even the slightest problems caused in his perspective, however given he lives in a Crap Saccharine World where half the cast are almost as bad as he is, he does actually often have a reason to be annoyed (e.g. his Control Freak in-laws taking over his house uninvited, his wife becoming a surrogate mother behind his back, pretty much any disagreement he has with either Hayley or Roger) it's just his depraved overzealousness causes him to take much nastier measures that gives the other side the higher moral ground.
In Ultimate Spider-Man Peter Parker is often show as a jerk for wanting to work alone. While it's true that this incarnation of Spider-Man is waymore stupid anddickish than usual, Spidey's arguments to defend himself are pretty valid. His "friends" are a bunch of jerkasses who frequently harass and disrespect him with little to no reason at all, force themselves in his life without any consent from his part and know much more about him than he does about them. And that's not forgetting about Nick Fury, who for all the claims to be a responsible authority figure, has little to no respect for his recruit privacy and promises (he placed security cameras in his house, and their initial agreement clearly stated that Peter doesn't need to work in a team if he doesn't want to). Therefore, Spider-Man has no actual reason to trust any of them, completely ruining the lessonof working in a team.