Let me share with you an easy way to make people think you’re reasonable: tell them you’re a centrist. Pose two extremes and say you stand in the middle. How can somebody be wrong if he/she is taking the so-called middle ground? Politicians, being the great wordsmiths, spin masters, and cowards that they are, love “reasonable” centrist rhetoric. And many times pundits follow suit.
Take the example of the debate on reproductive health that occurred during the campaign season. So-called centrist candidates like Manny Villar and, to some extent, Noynoy Aquino, advocated a middle ground between the anti-RH position of the Church hierarchy and the pro-RH stance of most Filipinos. The middle way apparently lies in teaching both perspectives. Never mind that the Church stance is based on lies about how condoms are harmful and how IUDs are abortifacient; it’s another side. Go ahead; lie to people because it represents the “other side of the coin.”
This reminds me of the way the American corporate media frame the debate on climate change. Outfits like Fox news conceive of the debate as one between those who believe in the reality of man-made climate change and those who don’t. It doesn’t matter that climate deniers are considered nutjobs by 90% of climate scientists; they represent another side of an argument. Give them equal airtime.