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, as opposed to summoning him back to fight, 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 at all unreasonable, as the target of the attack was known to be Naruto himself, and there was no guarantee at the time that Naruto could defeat, or let alone fight, Pain (a villain who had already killed Naruto's master, Jiraiya); the Elders even point out to Tsunade that it's tremendous risk to summon Naruto back, and that if she is wrong and Naruto is defeated, the consequences would be disastrous for the world. 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 front lines.
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", no leader would declare a single soldier that was clearly in the wrong to be worth starting a war over. This is even acknowledged in-series by Shikamaru.
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 (although she also expresses that she sees it as a form of Mercy Kill). 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.
A minor example from the Dark Tournament arc is George suggesting Hiei attack Bui while the latter is busy removing his armor. While the girls chew him out for suggesting such a dishonorable act, they seem to forget a very important detail. The tournament isn't an officially sanctioned martial arts competition. It's Blood Sport where the only consistent rules are 1) No interfering with the match. 2) Stay in the ring. When most matches are won by killing your opponent, every fighter should be a Combat Pragmatist.
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 Pokémon that she trained and fought alongside, she's just using a last-minute super-weapon 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 over the line by trying to send 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.
In The Twelve Kingdoms, it's easy to write off Shoukou's denouncement of the system of deciding rulership in the titular land, where Heaven-sent spirits called kirin choose the next king of each kingdom, given he's a lunatic guilty of committing multiple atrocities, like hunting humans for sport. However, when one takes into account that kirins not only have an In-Universe alignment of Stupid Good (to the point that one of the official laws of being a good king is learning when to ignore your kirin), but also the fact that they are far from infallible to the point that most of their kings turn bad... and the fact that the Twelve Kingdoms are set up under a Fisher King system where a bad king causes all kinds of natural disasters (famine, plague, armies of rampaging monsters...) and no king causes the same effect, it's hard to see him as not having a point.
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 X-Men: First Class, Magneto is right, in that his prediction that the US government will eventually turn on the mutants comes true, and his intention to wipe out the US and Soviet fleets that launched a full barrage at them - overcoming decades of tension in just a few minutes to do so - comes off as surprisingly understandable despite its extremism. Xavier, mistakenly, tries to stop him using the "just following orders" defense. Ironically, Magneto's interrupted counter "proved" that mutants in general are a threat. He could've just dumped the barrage he "caught" into the ocean.
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 his property and killed his innocent pet. And then when Wither decides he doesn't want to stay at the school, after having no on-panel counselling or training to control his powers, and after having to be stopped from deliberately killing someone, Xavier just lets him go on his way. You're supposed to be on Xavier's side for letting a kid choose his own life, but when the kid has already killed someone and his mutant power is dissolving any organic matter he touches, you kind of feel like getting the cops involved might be a good idea, and maybe the pro-registration crowd have a point.
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 and enforce the law, 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 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 Joker, 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 The Childrens 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 the Chick Tract"Somebody Goofed" as well as the "edited for black audiences" version "Oops!", a man named Bobby overdoses on speed and as his friends and family are gathered around, a Christian shows up to tell them all about how Bobby is burning in Hell right now. When another man shows up to stop him we're supposed to side with the Christian. Of course, whether the Christian is right or not, moments after the death of a loved one is usually not the best time to preach to people (let alone say he's suffering eternal damnation for his choices), making the other man totally justified in trying to shut him up. Less justified, but still understandable is when he physically assaults the Christian.
From the Silver Age: Action Comics #176 Muscles For Money, where Superman decides to start charging money to save people. While it's certainly true that Superman was doing some reprehensible things (charging insane amounts, forcing people to sign contracts before he'll save their lives, etc) the primary argument seems to be that Superman doesn't deserve any sort of reward for the good he does. The worst part is when Superman politely requests the $10,000 reward for two criminals he brought in only to have everyone declare him a money-grubber for it, despite the fact that this is a reward the police themselves had offered and which anyone else besides Superman would have been given happily.
During the "War with the Runaways" arc of Avengers Academy, Hank Pym and Tigra plotted to take Molly Hayes and Klara Prast and put them into foster homes where they would never be found by their older "siblings". Predictably, when the Runaways found out, they attacked. While Pym and Tigra's plan sounded cold and heartless, and while Hank Pym is probably the last person who ought to be making decisions about other people's lives, it's worth noting that the arc was, in part, a follow-up to the unfinished "Home Schooling" arc from the Runaways series, the central thesis of which seemed to be that Nico and Chase were god-awful parental figures who seemed especially ill-equipped to help Klara, who was still showing signs of trauma from her near-death experience and who is powerful enough to accidentally kill someone if she gets too upset. Thankfully, at the end, Nico casts a spell to make each team see things from the other team's point of view, and thus the two groups are able to reach a peaceful compromise.
We're shown that Thrash the Devil seems to be going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge by tossing every last echidna into an alternate dimension in a major case of Sins Of The Father. However, while they weren't responsible for what happened to his people, the fact that the echidnas, an overly advanced civilization, sat there and did nothing concerning Dr. Robotnik/Eggman and allowed beings like the Dark Legion and Enerjak to wander freely, you can't help but wonder if he was in the right there, just in an odd way.
Mina is depicted as being overzealous and callous for making a public statement about how dangerous NICOLE is and indirectly starting a mass paranoia concerning her. However, as sympathetic as she is, NICOLE was shown to be extremely dangerous as a result of the Iron Queen corrupting her programming, leading to a takeover that led to the Mobians being enslaved and many supposedly legionized (ie. mutilated with cyborg implants). The Freedom Fighters are outraged by Mina's actions and labelled the public as being vindictive, but as she angrily pointed out, people had suffered because of NICOLE, and largely because they were cocky enough to make a huge oversight (it was implied they were taking precautions by that point, though had neglected to console the public about it, and even then it was too little too late for some).
Similarly Hamlin is conveyed as smug weasel who uses a long lived grudge against Sally to try and get the council to persecute her for disobeying orders. However, Sally was the one who created the Council in the first place, and then nonchalantly ignored them when they attempted to make a democratic tactic. When Hamlin pointed out she was undermining their entire purpose (with some other members even agreeing there was substance in this), she gave up her refute and outright blackmailed the Council that she would refuse to help at all. The fact that she so quickly assumed Hamlin only accused out of spite (he had, but he had yet to admit it) and moaned how he could have the heart to call her out only further emphasized her self righteousness on the matter.
The reason for Hamlin's spite is the neglectful treatment that his old team received from the Freedom Fighters. While we're supposed to side with Hamlin over his team's being mistreated and forgotten, despite being an actual team that Sally personally trained, it falls apart because that team was called the Substitute Freedom Fighters. By definition, they go into action when the regular line up can't. Also, his team was led by Larry Lynx, who did volunteer to help Rotor in the past so Hamlin and his teammates could've just asked to help out.
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 Dumbledore's 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, the Human Liberation Front, 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 basically refer to 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.
This has in fact, led to a lot of Rooting for the Empire — even though the HLF are supposed to be seen as terrorists and whatnot, the blatant Moral Myopia of the ponies and the fact that the deck is just so stacked against them makes the HLF a lot easier to sympathize with.
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.
Mare of Steel: Rainbow Dash/Supermare is taken captive by a General Ripper who believes that she is dangerous to Equestria. Surprisingly, she agrees that if she ever did go rogue then she would be a dangerous threat worth being removed.
Later, Alexander Silversmith presents a cynical but still plausible view of the world that comes in conflict with Supermare's.
In The Empty Cage, one of the known differences in the seal from canon is that from the moment the vessel (Naruto) is destroyed, the Kyuubi will be banished from the human realm for a hundred years. A civilian is presented as being heartless for suggesting killing Naruto immediately to insure a hundred years of freedom from the Kyuubi. Except he's absolutely right and (although no one knows it at the time) it would also prevent Kyuubi from gaining knowledge of seals and freeing his brethren from ever being sealed again. Though, at least one person who disagrees with said civilian uses the justification that every day Naruto (really the Kyuubi) lives is another day added on to their hundred years of safety.
Bitterness: The rest of the cast is absolutely right when they point out that Twilight was acting irrationally angry when she accused Cadance of being evil in A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1. However, we're supposed to take Twilight's side, even though in this fanfic she (A) rejected Applejack's apology, (B) acts like a complete bitch to everypony about what happened (even insulting her own brother), (C) has spent most of the fanfic twisting every pony's words, and (D) acting generally out of character throughout the fanfic.
In The Little Mermaid, Triton is the intolerant Jerkass telling Ariel how cruel and evil humans are, and Ariel's idealistic views all turn out to be right. But remember, humans catch and eat fish, which are 100% sentient in this mythos. Of course, humans don't realize that, and Triton destroying all of Ariel's stuff was a dick move. The Carnivore Confusion doesn't help matters much - in real life, fish eat other fish all the time!
The bullies in Wreck-It Ralph tell Vanellope, who is a glitch, that she can't 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.
In the Balto II: Wolf Quest, the wise elder leader of the wolf pack, who Aleu is fascinated by, is meant to be the good guy. He is very spiritual and preaches accepting change and realizing that you will never know anything; contrasting this is a young, loud, warlike wolf who scoffs at his elder's spiritualism and argues that the pack has to fight to defend itself. The elder's talk of a vague "Grand Design" and not fearing change would probably be received better if the entire pack wasn't on the brink of starvation. Admittedly, fighting a human development would not end well for the wolves, but... Spiritual Leader, why didn't you just say that in the first place?!
Toy Story 2 villain Stinky Pete the Prospector has the unambiguously nasty aim of keeping Woody from returning to Andy, whom Woody knows to appreciate him. However, as he's defeated, he screams "Children destroy toys! You'll be ruined! Forgotten! Spending eternity rotting away in some landfill!" It's a perfectly legitimate concern, and Pete had no way of knowing how good an owner Andy is.
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.
The villain in X2: X-Men United is so extremely anti-mutant that he would experiment on and enslave his own son to exterminate them all. In the process he enslaves another mutant to attack the president of the US, just so he can offer a target for the president to authorize an attack on. Before the strike, though, an objection is made that the target is a school. The villain responds sarcastically, "sure it is," showing x-ray imagery of a secret jet underneath the school's basketball court. A dispassionate observer should note, actually, that that is actually extremely suspicious. Normally schools don't have military-grade equipment hidden in their facility, and after all "schools" in some parts of the world have been used as recruiting centers/supply bases/etcetera by terrorist organizations before—both for the purpose of camouflage, and making attacks on them politically troublesome. The president then orders a non-lethal infiltration and capture mission, which from his position is entirely reasonable.
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 — note 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?!"
No one seems to point out that those "rich people" won't be rich after the catastrophe. Even if they could take all their money with them, it'll be worthless in a world without an economy to back it up. They'll have to work just like everyone else.
Basically after only minutes of Ejiofor explaining the situation he is in action and spearheads the top secret, international mega project to save the entire human species species, many of its cultural treasures, and many of the other species as well. This plan largely succeeds in spite of things happening months earlier than Ejiofor forecast and the meddling of many of the "Heros".
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.
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."
Not really. The point is not that Anita would be 'dead' because she married, but that her skills and talents would no longer be used if she removed herself from Cruella's employ. In which case, they and she would be 'lost' to the fashion industry, not dead.
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.
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 six months on, a historical recreation of the diary of a girl accused of being a witch during the time of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. Except that the diary describes witch-burnings, whereas the accused witches at Salem were all hanged, except for the one man who was crushed, 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. Notably, before Billy strikes a deal to graduate legitimately, this actually does temporarily convince Billy's father to hand the reins over to Eric.
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?
In Iron Man 2 Senator Stern is an ass, and Hammer is an idiot, but both of them make a lot of valid points in the senate hearing. Tony is a loose cannon, his suit is a weapon (whether he likes the term or not) of the sort that would ordinarily be denied a private citizen, and he is acting totally independent of anyone who could review his actions or rein him in if he gets out of control. None of these things are remotely desirable traits in someone who is trying to be a one-man police for the whole world.
As it happens, he's only acting out because the job's killing him. Notably, SHIELD agrees with Stern and Hammer that while Iron Man is useful, Tony Stark is too unstable. They still call him in for Avengers, on the grounds that they've hit the Godzilla Threshold.
Ned's girlfriend, when you really think about it. Dewey has been bumming at their place for months if not years, while continually refusing to get a steady job and therefore doing little to contribute to the rent. Ned keeps doing whatever he can to accommodate him because they were in a band years ago, while Patty is just supposed to put up with this. It doesn't change the fact that she seems to take joy in Dewey's suffering, but anyone would be frustrated by that point.
The fact of the matter is that most aspiring rock stars, no matter how committed they are to their dreams of music stardom, will not succeed and will have to find some other means of paying the bills. It's not because their drive wasn't strong enough, simply that at some point, reality sets in and you have to find a way to provide the basic necessities for yourself. Of course, the dilemma that the movie sets up is something of a false one — a lot of people simply parlay their rock star dreams into another career involving music, such as teaching or writing about it. And of course, at the end of the movie, Dewey and Ned do just that by setting up an after-school rock music teaching program. But the way Dewey acted like it was either one or the other doesn't reflect reality.
It's hard to blame Dewey's band for firing him — just watch Dewey in action during the opening scene. The fact that they win the battle of the bands without him only proves their point.
It doesn't exactly make parents "tightly-wound" for being upset that their kids are learning nothing but rock music, and no academics, for weeks or months on end. Even many rock-loving parents would be bothered by how this would set their kids up for some serious educational problems later in the area (for being behind all the other classes in their grade). They might even sue the school for not checking Dewey's creds.
This has been brought up a lot in regards to The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The villains of the movie, the InGen corporation, are portrayed as evil because they want to recapture the dinosaurs from Isla Sorna to recoup their losses from the first film. While they were pretty ruthless, as well as dicks with the exception of two (hunter Roland Tembo and his buddy Ajay), their argument that the dinosaurs are their rightful property does have merit. When the heroes call them out on destroying the island's "natural" environment, the Corrupt Corporate Executive points out that they created the dinosaurs and introduced them to the island in the first place, millions of years and thousands of miles from their actual long-gone natural habitat. The heroes have no counterargument to this other than starting a fight. This is one of those cases where what's right legally may or may not be what's right morally, but it's certainly not as cut-and-dried as Malcolm's party (or his detractors) likes to present it.
It also doesn't help that Spielberg deliberately took out two scenes that made Roland and Ajay themselves much more sympathetic, in which Roland saves a woman being harrassed in a bar, and it's made clear that the baby T-Rex's broken leg was an accident (the final cut implies they did it deliberately).
In Ghostbusters, Walter Peck's initial request to see the containment grid was reasonable. He's also quite polite before Venkman gives him the runaround. It is his job to make sure people like the Ghostbusters are operating with safe equipment, and in fact the Ghostbusters' containment grid could cause a massive explosion in a densely-populated area. After getting crudely brushed off by Venkman, however, he overreacts and orders the grid's immediate deactivation. If Venkman had cooperated, instead of treating Peck and the EPA as an enemy from the start, they could have avoided the ensuing meltdown.
This was probably intentional on the part of the writers, though. A deleted scene shows that the reason the Ghostbusters got kicked out of Columbia was because Venkman was the one representing them at department meetings.
Chairman Of The Board has a version of this mixed with Hilarious in Hindsight: Bradford, the antagonist, blasts Edison's management of the company while the latter is shown driving up the stock price and getting magazine covers amid his antics running the company. The only problem? He was running the company in almost exactly the same manner as a lot of dotcom startups at the same time, almost all of which went broke. Had Bradford not violated numerous laws in forcing Edison out, his fight for control of the company would have been justified to save it from Edison's "interesting" management style. In the meantime, Bradford would arguably have managed the company competently even if he was only looking to sell...one presumes he would have gotten more for a functional company than an asset-stripped wreck, after all.
Nine Months is all about a man (Samuel) who finds out his girlfriend (Rebecca) is pregnant; needless to say, it's a surprise pregnancy and neither of them are really sure if they want to go through with it at first. Samuel himself doesn't really accept it until close to the end of the pregnancy, but Rebecca accepts it pretty early on and starts preparing for motherhood. Great pains are taken to paint Samuel as wrong for being reluctant to have a kid, veering into Strawman territory at several points, but the kicker has to be early on when Rebecca gets worried that the cat Samuel owns might be a problem, as a cat can lie on a baby's face and smother it. She tries to convince Samuel to get rid of the cat, and we're supposed to side with her and think Samuel is an uncaring jerk for putting his pet ahead of his baby...except that, as Samuel says, the cat is fifteen years old, so it would be a surprise if it lived long enough to see the baby born, the cat has no teeth left, and the poor thing hardly moves. No vet would agree to put down an otherwise healthy pet that's just old, and giving it up to a shelter would be heartless because a cat that old is unadoptable, so it would be put down after a few months anyway instead of living its final days in comfort with a loving owner. Samuel point-blank refuses to get rid of the cat and the matter is dropped for the rest of the movie.
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 still consider others' suffering an inconvenience. The only notes of genuine regret or contrition come from the supposedly un-saved.
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. Later authors in the series recognize this as a strawman and offer the argument of superweapons being inefficient wastes of resourcesnote another squadron of warships is a more versatile use of money and manpower than a Death Star that are for terrorizing civiliansnote Yuuzhan Vong civilians aren't in a position to affect policy, not fighting wars.
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).
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 Nineteen Eighty-Four, 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, Nasuada. 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. Not to mention that some of the Laws (notably ones banning necromancy, time travel, and learning about Eldritch Abominations) would have repercussions that could, literally, destroy the world. A good number of the rest are put in place to protect the clueless mortals. There's a very good chance this ambiguity was intentional.
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.
Happens sometime in the Circle of Magic books. In Daja's Book, the protagonists butt heads with an arrogant University mage named Yarrun Firetamer. Yarrun is dead wrong about the fire risk in the valleynote the forest has so much dead brush matter in it from fire suppression that it's more dangerous than ever, a bit of Truth in Televisionand pays with his life but he has an illuminating conversation with Daja in which he points out that workers of "ordinary" magic do highly necessary work such as sanitation, preventing food spoilage, etcetera, and deserve more credit than they usually get. He also defines learning as "when other people can work their spells as you do and get the same results." Replace "spells" with "experiments" and you have a key part of the Scientific Method. But Daja dismisses his opinions as more "bile."
Zacharias Smith of Hufflepuff is depicted very unsympathetically for merely asking why everybody is accepting Harry's story that Voldemort is back. Keep in mind that Harry's been described by the adult authorities as "disturbed and dangerous" and as an attention-seeking glory-hound. Also, Zach might have other reasons to distrust Harry—-Harry told a tabloid newspaper about Cedric Diggory's death first, instead of the boy's housemates, who idolized him and really wanted to know. For this high crime, Zach has become the fandom's Butt Monkey; very few characters get less sympathetic treatment than he does.
Marietta Edgecombe betrays the DA to Umbridge. This activates a secret jinx from Hermione that writes "SNEAK" across her face in boils. Cho considers this a mean trick, and eventually breaks up with Harry over it. Thing is, Marietta was motivated by the risk of her mother losing her job at the Ministry, never wanted to join in the first place (Cho pressured her), and it's kind of unethical to trick people into signing a contract that punishes them for betrayal without telling them. (Heck, Hermione didn't even let her best friends know what would happen until later.) Rowling herself seems to be firmly on Hermione's side; when she confirmed that Marietta was permanently scarred, she said "I loathe a traitor!"
In LARP: The Battle for Verona, the main characters' home, the island of Verona outside of Washington, is invaded by Mongolians who use Medieval weapons, and the main characters, who have no military or combat training, but who do Live-Action Role Playing, want to help free it. The US military gives very good reasons for them not to — i.e., they're citizens with no military or combat training, no real weapons and no guarantee they could get any, no real idea what they're going up against, and any action they might take in their ignorance might make the situation worse, including getting the people of Verona killed. The "argument" the main characters put forth essentially comes down to "we just want to be cool" and that they're somehow more qualified to attack people who use Medieval weapons because they use replica Medieval weapons once a week. Somehow the military thinks these are good points and lets the main characters and their LARP friends go in to save Verona.
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 charitable interpretations of the scene run head on into J Michael Straczynski's own words in the DVD Commentary, in which he outright declares that the scene was an expression of his disgust with historians who try to explain events in terms of large-scale social, economic and geopolitical forces, who he thinks are pathetic losers who just want to tear down the Great People who achieved things.
Another example is Garibaldi and Sheridan's fight in Season 4. Later it's revealed that Garibaldi had been manipulated by telepaths and they make up after Garibaldi apologizes. Upon reflection, though, Garibaldi's critiques of Sheridan make a lot of sense - Sheridan really is building a huge army loyal to him personally, he's encouraging or at least allowing a cult of personality to build up around him stating that he has mystical powers, and he's leaving his friends and co-officers out of the decision making process. Since Sheridan's a fictional character he never abuses his position, but he continues to wield massive, essentially unchecked personal power from this point for the rest of his remaining lifespan. In real life, Garibaldi would be perfectly correct to not approve of this, and Sheridan never really addresses concerns on these points.
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?
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. See here
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.
Both Harriet Jones and Torchwood One are presented by both the Doctor and the script writers as being entirely in the wrong for activities such as harvesting alien technology and destroying retreating alien spaceships. Problem is that the Doctor is reckless who treats death like a game and he is someone who is not likely to be there when the Earth needs him and he is actually responsible through his indirect actions for a good portion of the threats the Earth encounters - the Master becoming Prime Minister being the best example. We need people like them (and UNIT) to guard us in a very dangerous universe.
ER: Kerry Weaver was seen as a villain for wanting people to follow rules and policy.
Frasier: In "Room Full of Heroes", Niles begins to say, in-character as Martin, that he and Frasier were disappointments to him. Martin sharply cuts him off and says he's portraying him as a "drunken judgmental jackass." While Niles was certainly over the line and had indeed had a few beers, considering how Martin treats the two of them and routinely expresses exasperation about their behavior, it's hard not to see why Niles would think this way.
This could be why Martin reacts so poorly, at least partly; Niles's performance was clearly beginning to hit a bit close to home in other ways (such as his drinking habits) as well...
When Monica's parents tell her they spent her wedding fund, Chandler confesses he has some money saved up and tells Monica how much. She's immediately excited and makes plans to spend it on the wedding, but Chandler refuses to devote all of his savings to what he sees as a one-time party. While we're not told exactly how much money is being discussed, Monica says it's enough to pay for her dream wedding. Considering how she can be it's likely that it's a lot of cash Chandler has, and odds are also that a lot of the stuff she has planned are things she doesn't need. To both of their credit though, Chandler eventually relents but Monica agrees with him.
In the final season when Monica and Chandler move out of New York and start a family you finally learn why he was so reluctant to use that money.
In "The One With The Cat", Phoebe encounters a cat and suddenly gets the vibe that it's reincarnated from the spirit of her dead mother. Fair enough...except the cat has an owner (an eight year old girl to be exact) and Phoebe refuses to give it back. She doesn't mean it a jokey way either, she seems serious about it. When Ross calls her out on it, Phoebe basically accuses him of being intolerant of her beliefs and he is eventually pressured into apologising to the cat. Behind Phoebe's back, the others actually agree with Ross, but they don't support him when he actually confronts Phoebe. While Ross could've been a tad calmer about the whole thing, even contemplating the idea of stealing someone else's pet was definitely low of Phoebe.
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.
Gilmore Girls: Mitchum Huntzberger is portrayed as villainous for telling Rory he doesn't think she has it after she does some work experience at his newspaper. The thing is Rory is incredibly sheltered, doesn't join in with any ideas at a meeting about using university students (such as herself) to cover events and when told this she meekly accepts it instead of showing any sort of anger or telling him he's wrong.
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. The case is further compounded by the wife often physically attacking her husband, including one on-screen instance where she smacks the back of his head with a frying pan (and not in a comedic way).
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!
In general, the show does this all the time, and the Strawman is often proven wrong (and the detectives proven right) about whatever political point they're bringing up by the Strawman being found guilty.
Like the American Dad example below the boys from Malcolm in the Middle often have legitimate excuses for acting out (e.g abusive parents who constantly gripe about how much they’ve sacrificed) it's just that they go so overboard that they lose any sympathy points. For example in "Charity" when Lois forces the boys to help out at a church to build character. They quickly learn that every thing they’ve been giving away is better then anything they own. Trading their own stuff can be seen as Throw the Dog a Bone however they soon set up their own black market.
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.
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. note And if they had said "no", he could've asked why they're willing to do it for Jane.
While Jane is an excellent detective, he's also a con artist and expert 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.
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 is Abby's counterargument? 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?
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 ("Chained Heat"). The writers are clearly well aware of this; all of the villains have sympathetic motivations, and their families are frequently mentioned ("No Quarter"). Then you have Monroe becoming so deranged that he's killing loyal friends and soldiers out of paranoia, and trying to use a nuke ("The Song Remains the Same") and anthrax ("The Love Boat") 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 ("The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia").
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 ("Pilot"). The characters don't take his advice as much as they probably should.
Rachel in "The Longest Day" 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. Then in "Children of Men", she accuses Monroe of killing Danny to his face, and when he tries to point out that he wasn't even there when that happened, she yells at him to stop making excuses. They both have a point, because Monroe has been making excuses for his horrible behaviour, and Rachel is clearly going after Monroe Republic members, even if they didn't do the deed in question.
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.
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.
In the early episodes of Smallville, any interaction Clark had with Lex fell into this. The one that stands out the most however is "Memoria". In it, Lex was trying to regain his lost memories from "Asylum". When Clark tried to stop him, he ended up getting captured, and when Lex called him out on this, Clark's only excuse was that in trying to stop his father Lex repeatedly stoops to his methods and innocent people get hurt. However, this falls on its face when you realize that the only reason Clark got hurt was that he was trying to stop Lex because, as Lionel said, for his own selfish reasons. What Lex was doing only affected himself and that was his decision. Lionel wouldn't have known about it if Clark didn't get involved.
Every instance of Jonathan and Pete telling Clark that Lex couldn't be trusted through seasons 1-3 fall on there, as given the events of "Shattered" and "Asylum", not only did Lex protect Chloe by taking on all of the responsibilities of stopping his father, but throughout his stay in Belle Reve he never even hinted to Lionel that someone else had information, or used Clark's secret to bargain his way out. All of this proved that Lex not only could have been trusted with Clark's secret but would have protected it. A lot of bad thing probably wouldn't have happened if Clark had just told him from the get-go.
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 doesn't believe Teal'c 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.
Captain Jellico was intended as The Nedermeyer and is a massive jerk who treats everyone around him like dirt. The moral of the episode is that he is wrong and also an asshole, and he needs to be taken off the ship. However, nothing he really does is atypical for his job; mostly, he just seems to want to run the Enterprise like an actual military starship, which it is. Whether or not he's a Jerk Ass or the only competent officer in the series (or both) remains controversial.
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.
In the pilot episode, we're supposed to see Janeway's decision to destroy the Array that brought them to the Delta Quadrant in order to protect the Ocampa, rather than using it to get home, as a noble choice. However, Tuvok pointed out that destroying the Array would not only leave them stranded but could be considered a violation of the Prime Directive because it would affect the balance of power in that sector. He's waved off with a one sentence bit of "wisdom" from Janeway about how they're already involved so the Prime Directive no longer applies. When B'lanna also objects, she's told to shut up because Janeway is the captain. What's frustrating is that they undermined the whole dilemma by having Tuvok mention that the Array would take several hours to use without the Caretaker's help and that was before a Kazon ship crashed into it, disabling the self-destruct and God knows how many other systems, so they probably couldn't use it in the time they had.
Episode "Critical Care", an Anvilicious episode about health care, has the Doctor kidnapped and sold to a race that allocates medical treatment according to the patient's perceived value to society. Amidst all the expected swipes at real life health care (e.g. letting the cute kid die because he's exceeded his allotment of medicine) we're told the society ended up like this because of a series of natural and social disasters. While the hospital administrator is indeed a heartless ass, nothing refutes his actual point, which is that they don't have enough medical care to go around and have to make hard decisions. The medicines the aforementioned kid needed, e.g., were being used to treat a woman who ran the entire water distribution system for a subcontinent. The Doctor's would-be noble crusade to protect the downtrodden comes off as misguided sentimentality and a huge violation of the Prime Directive.
In "Fortunate Son," a human freighter tries to get revenge on a group of Nausican pirates who have attacked them, while the Enterprise tries to stop them. However, one of the freighter captain's main goals was to stop the pirates from attacking any more human ships, which Starfleet has utterly failed to do.
In "The Hatchery," the crew finds a crashed Xindi insectoid ship that has a nestful of eggs, and its crew evidently performed a Heroic Sacrifice to keep it running. Archer decides to save it, saying it's no different than saving a nursery of humanoid babies and treating a broken egg as a medical emergency. You'd be forgiven for thinking this is perfectly in line with Star Trek's theme of respecting life in forms you're unfamiliar with and, specifically, the Xindi arc's own theme that they're Not So Different and probably shouldn't be fighting. But Archer's behavior is presented as irrational and dangerous to the point where T'Pol is justified in leading a mutiny. Because they're weird, alien bug babies, and the only reason a human would do anything about it is if they get egg gunk on them that enzyme'd them into caring.
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 got anyone to take over Steve’s normal duties; no, in addition to his normal jobs such as teaching classes, being the 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 their 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.
The Walking Dead: Shane during The Barn. His motives are selfish and usually suspect, but in this instance, he's right — they're not safe and they're not people any more. Gangs of walkers have been able to knock down doors before, and there's no telling how old the wood and hinges on that barn are. They could have gotten out eventually. Unless some future episode shows a cure, in which case Rick is gonna have an EPIC Heroic Blue Screen of Death.
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.
In the Wonder Woman 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.
The BBC/Starz series The White Queen seems to want to have its cake and eat it too, insofar as it wants to present the characters who accuse Queen Elizabeth (Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of Edward IV, not the more famous daughter of Henry VIII) of witchcraft as irrational paranoiacs who are nuts to believe in witchcraft, and at the same time also presents the Queen as an actual witch, with very real supernatural powers. George, Duke of Clarence, and his wife, Isabel Neville, seem to be portrayed as being irrational when they accuse the Queen of using witchcraft to summon the storm that killed their son, except that, in the show, she did exactly that! So even though the show clearly wants us to have no sympathy for George, and a great deal for Elizabeth, who is, after all the main protagonist, the fact is that George, and the other characters who accuse her of witchcraft, are completely correct in at least most of their accusations against Elizabeth.
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.
On more than a few occasions, WWE will dabble in political storylines, and since WWE is almost incapable of subtlety, the characters in question will invariably become strawmen. However, WWE's fanbase is large enough and diverse enough that it's an inevitability that at least some of their fans will agree with the bad guys or disagree with the good guys.
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.
As with the mage example above, most White Wolf games, since they're games where you're usually explicitly playing a monster of one kind or another, has factions that are antagonistic and "evil" by virtue of being less harmful to humanity than you the player, in addition to the Eldritch Abomination factions that are evil because they're more harmful than you:
The mortal hunters, including a Knights Templar-style conspiracy tied to the inquisition, do basically what it sounds like: hunt, kill, and torture for information various supernatural beasties. Which seems pretty racist until you realize that half of the splats literally eat people for food or whenever they're angry, and the other two major splats tend to break the fabric of reality and release demons or destroy sanity whenever they're curious about something or just messing around.
Which is something the books themselves muse over repeatedly. The entire point of the Vigil is that, although it may do harm (by destroying "benevolent" supernaturals), it ultimately does more good than harm.
In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Wyrm, strangely, has a point. The other aspects (creation and stasis) broke the balance first, it's just trying to bring things back to the original intended balance by covering their roles itself... poorly, because it's Destruction (also Corruption, but only because of said broken balance), but still.
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.
But at the very least, the script makes it clear that you're at least supposed to sympathize with Judas and his exasperation.
In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Khajiit trading caravans are banned from entering the cities of Skyrim because the people of Skyrim suspect the Khajiit are criminals and thieves. This is obviously a commentary on real-life fears of outsiders and racism. Trouble is, almost every Khajiit you meet in the game is involved in some form of criminality. The trading caravans themselves fence stolen goods for the Thieves Guild...so they are criminals. They're also Skyrim's primary (if not sole) source of Moon Sugar and Skooma, the latter of which is illegal.
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. However it is important to remember that the resonance cascade occurred as a result of Breen's orders during Half Life 1 which means that he was at least indirectly and possibly intentionally responsible for bringing humanity to The Combine's attention in the first place.
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.
He might have been intended to be right all along, given that his ultimate goal is to help all the refugees and sane people escape the nation while the two warring factions all kill each other, and he even kills himself in the process to make sure his arm dealing can't cause another conflict like the one in the game.
In Pokémon Black and White, Team Plasma's position on the immorality of owning and fighting with Pokémon was a smidge too hypocritical to win many fans to their side but does make the rest of the cast less likeable, as few compelling or complete retorts are ever made.
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 2027 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.
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.
For 'mutant registration' in the X-Men comics, substitute 'the mage/templar conflict' in the Dragon Age series. It's really, really hard to root for Gregoir in Dragon Age: Origins wanting to annull the entire Circle (young children included) or Meredith in Dragon Age II whipping mages for merely speaking to people outside the Circle, but mages are at greater risk of demonic possession and some apostates really are dangerous—take the Baronness in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening or Idunna. Even Anders admits the necessity of mages getting proper training to handle their powers.
The point of contention most mages have isn't exactly that they need to be taught and trained in magic and all of its baggage, but rather the manner and methods the Templars keep when overseeing them. Even in the first game, you will find many a Templar who would not hesitate to see mages dead for unproven crimes (like Anders supposedly killing his Templar escort even when witnesses corroborate that it was the darkspawn that did it) to the Tranquil Solution in the second game, which would really just pushed many of them to the evils they're accused of. If you check with the Dalish, even they concur that mages need to be taught, but they don't need to resort Templars' heavy-handed approach.
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.
The United Nations of Sol in Schlock Mercenary actually has humanity's best interests in mind most of the time. Laws aren't unreasonable, the military is a completely necessary defense against internal and external threats, the intelligence community has plenty good reason to get involved where it does, and the transhuman immortality project is kept secret for perfectly valid reasons. The problem is that everyone employed by the government is incompetent and/or evil. Admiral Xinchub claims to do what he does for the good of humanity, but it's clear that he actually enjoys all the horrible things he's forced to do. The military and spies don't seem to care the least bit about what collateral damage they cause, and frequently end up causing even more problems trying to keep their constant screw-ups secret. The main cast by all means should be arrested for everything they've done, but they keep escaping by threatening to expose the UNS for the completely avoidable disasters it has caused.
Near the end of Red String, Kazuo is made to appear jealous and desperate by pointing out that he's upset Miharu is dating Makoto because he's a terrible person. While we're meant to see Makoto as the good guy and Kazuo the needy jealous ex, Kazuo is exactly right - Kazuo voiced his opinion because Makoto was so petty and jealous that he grabbed Miharu by the wrist and dragged her away from Kazuo without telling him. On top of that, while we're supposed to be sympathizing with Makoto's relationship, it's hard to feel like Kazuo is crossing any boundaries when Makoto is literally dating Miharu because he never stopped cheating on his own fiance to aggressively pursue Miharu while she was still in love with and planning to marry Kazuo. And as we are supposed to be thinking Makoto is this great guy that Kazuo doesn't understand, Makoto is at that moment screaming at Miharu in public (though out of earshot of Kazuo) for being too stupid to understand what Kazuo "really" wants. The scene ends with Miharu apologizing to Makoto, seemingly proving Kazuo right about what a terrible boyfriend he is, though the story presents her apology as a romantic moment sealing them as a perfect couple.
In Kazuo's final scene in the main storyline, he is again portrayed as a villain for angrily telling Makoto that he treated Miharu and her family's business like they were his property and he'd gotten his hands on both with no effort. Makoto angrily rebuffs that he "worked hard" to get what he wanted and that Miharu seems to "not care" that he "acts like an idiot." We are intended to take Makoto's side, but Kazuo is dead right - Makoto is literally dating Miharu entirely because Kazuo's father literally started beating him up to pressure him to end his engagement with Miharu. Makoto only has the restaurant because in spite of him not keeping up his end of the bargain and marrying Karen, his parents bought the restaurant anyway because the Ogawas inexplicably like him. Furthermore, while Makoto is angrily telling Kazuo he's a "puppet of his parents", Kazuo points out that Makoto's had an easy life because his parents give him everything he wants. Makoto's dispute that he works hard is rather weak when his parents are constantly shown bending over backwards to get him whatever he wants, even if its extremely expensive or time-consuming. And how does the story end to prove that Makoto works hard? He calls his parents and arranges for them to let him quit his job so he can date Miharu full time. As the call is not shown, it appears that Makoto got no opposition whatsoever. In the original script, it even read like they were literally letting him sponge off them without him ever planning to get another job. But no. We are really supposed to think Kazuo is being petty and jealous of the greatness that is Makoto, despite him once again being the only voice of sanity in the closing pages of the comic.
Kazuo just racks these up. Even earlier in the comic, Miharu decided the way to magically solve his abusive homelife was to get Kikuko to pretend she was in love with him and willing to marry him, all to convince Kazuo to enter cooking contests. Miharu felt this would teach him he had a choice. When Kazuo finally realized the entire thing was her manipulating him, we're intended to feel that he's crossed a line and hurt Miharu by confronting both Kikuko and Miharu. Instead, especially given later events in the story, it's hard not to feel sorry for him - his father actually beats the crap out of him whenever he tries to assert himself, and now he's learned that Kikuko's warming up to him was all a lie. Not to mention, winning a cooking contest would not fix his homelife. Much later in the comic, after he's Driven to Suicide, Miharu finally admits to Makoto that her plan was stupid, but the story wants us to think she's being too hard on herself.
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.
In one particular episode, Hank butts heads with a man who has a less-than-flattering interpretation of the Alamo (namely, that the Texans involved were a bunch of drunken cowards). The other man points out the logic behind his views, such as citing Sam Houston's troubled life and documented alcoholism and pointing out that the only people who know exactly what happened at the Alamo are long dead so all they have to go off of is historical records. In the end, Hank is dissuaded from smashing up the stage when he realizes that it's wrong to censor someone else just because you don't like their message, but he insists on giving a speech to relate the bare facts of the battle before the play begins.
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.
Magneto had schemes such as evolving the mutants he deemed to be 'worthy', and assembling a group of followers to his cause, in preparation for the inevitable war against humans when the world finds out they exist. Xavier always felt he was taking an extreme stance against humanity and opted to reveal themselves when they were ready...except there was one rogue SHIELD agent who deemed mutants a threat to humanity and built a Killer Robot with advanced weaponry to go after Wolverine and the larger X-Men and Brotherhood members, though Magneto arranged the battle was brought to the world's attention. The result is a widespread witch-hunt against mutants leaving them on the run. Xavier was conveniently out of commission thanks to Mystique, but one wonders what his reaction would be to see police around his school.
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. Indeed, for the Gala, Celestia deliberately invited the main characters in hopes of "livening up" the party, and afterwards claims it was the best one in a long time BECAUSE they screwed up a party which is, for her, exceedingly boring, further adding fuel to the fire.
Similarly, in "Bridle Gossip" the viewer is supposed to find the cast's suspicions of Zecora to be unfounded and based on misconceptions. The problem is that while they go a bit overboard, their suspicion isn't entirely unfounded as 1. Zecora lives in a forest that's infamous for being full of dangerous creatures 2. Zecora is a zebra, a species that none of the cast members have ever seen before and have no frame of reference for 3. Later episodes confirm that there are all sorts of dangerous creatures and persons in the setting 4. Zecora's behavior doesn't exactly help her case; she shows up wearing a cloak with Glowing Eyes of Doom and when she comes around she just sort of walks around aimlessly rather than making any attempt to communicate. In light of that, it isn't really that odd that the townfolk are a bit wary of her. It's especially true in AJ's case; it's not exactly surprising that she'd want to keep her little sister from following a stranger into a dangerous forest.
Speaking of Applejack, her convincing Twilight in the season 4 premiere to back out of the search for the Tree of Harmony makes sense at first — there was no guarantee they'd find Celestia and Luna, so Equestria would need someone to lead in their absence.
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.
In Daria despite Jakes rants he does sometime has a point especially in the episode Camp Fear. During the episode Jake and Helen decided to clean out the garage and kept finding objects they brought for plans they had to cancel at the last minute do to the fact that Helen’s constant need to work. In the end they make up when Jake finds a sexy nightgown that Helen had hidden for one of their trips: one cancelled because of his work. However that trip was a surprise one that Helen never told Jake about. So while Jake had many legitimate reasons to be angry Helen didn’t.
In The Legend of Korra Unalaq (who later proves to be evil and tries to kidnap and later kill Korra) offers to teach Korra about spirituality, but is met with objection by Tonraq (Korra's dad) and Tenzin (her current teacher), for little actual reason (respectively because Tonraq considers Unalaq an asshole (which to be fair, he is) and because Tenzin believed it was his destiny to teach her), without consideration for whether Unalaq was actually capable of teaching her. And it turns out that he really was a better choice than Tenzin could have been, given that he has actually visited the Spirit Realm and gained the trust of the spirits, even the xenophobic Wan Shi Tong, and his spirit calming technique is invaluable to Korra, but at no point are Tonraq and Tenzin's objections shown as wrong, not even when Korra admits that Unalaq's spirit powers are legit.
Additionally, in Unalaq's introduction, he is portrayed as, essentially, a religious fundamentalist ranting about how people have lost their connection to the spirits and prefer the values of materialistic culture over spirituality. Even if he is an extremist with this idea, especially considering that he tries to plunge the world into ten thousand years of eternal darkness and chaos as a result, much of the setting and characters (embodied in the commercialized Solstice Festival and greedy businessman Varrick) support most of the claims he makes.