I could not dig, I dared not rob
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
You all know the type: the talking head whose views tend toward radical right- or left-wing political positions often to the point of Type II Eagleland
(even if he isn't actually American). A gadfly to any form of political compromise with what he sees as socialist or libertarian causes.
This is one of the newer political tropes, one which seems to have come to prominence in The Eighties
and The Nineties
with a rise in prominence of right-wing punditry in American media. It's usually a parody or satire of these types, and the right-wing version is probably more common.
Sometimes part of Strawman News Media
. Compare and contrast Malcolm Xerox
, which is a similar Straw Character
type whose cause du jour is black rights and racism. Also compare Blonde Republican Sex Kitten
and Fox News Liberal
open/close all folders
- Superman had Dirk Armstrong, a character that existed for a few years in the late 1990s. A conservative columnist that was basically meant to be an Expy of Rush Limbaugh, same political views, same build and general appearance. At first an annoying unsympathetic character.
- Double Subverted in V for Vendetta. It's supposed that "FATE", the computer that controls every single aspect of England, is capable of talking (has its own radio program, "The voice of FATE"). It's a trick, the voice is from General Ripper Lewis Prothero. That the government has managed to trick England population tell us what a Crapsack World it is.
- Heavily used in Frank Miller's later work, such at The Dark Knight Returns and especially The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
- Depending on the Writer, J. Jonah Jameson is one of these, with about 99% of his rants, editor's messages and TV shows being anti-Spiderman bile and at least one story having him hating on The Avengers as well, if not the entire Marvel superhero community, for the sake of variation.
- The Serenity sequel comic Leaves On The Wind opens with a pair of pundits arguing about the Serenity crew's broadcast that the Reavers were a result of an Alliance social engineering experiment Gone Horribly Wrong. A balding male pundit pompously calls BS on the whole thing, saying it's a hoax to discredit the Alliance, while the female one thinks the accusations should be investigated.
- In the "Advise and Consent" series by Alan Drury, Walter Dobius embodies this trope, with assistance on the TV front from Our Anchorman Frankly Unctuous (that is the name actually used.) Note that Walter is not, repeat, NOT Walter Lippman.
- In L. Neil Smith's The Venus Belt, this role is taken by the Walter Cronkite Expy "Voltaire Malaise", whose catchphrase is "That's the way it looks."
- Little Green Men has John Oliver Banion, who starts worrying his sponsors when he starts talking about having been abducted by aliens (which is half true).
- Venus Prime has Sir Randolph Mays, a pundit who's hell-bent on exposing the Free Spirit.
- One episode of Blue Bloods features one of these with a side of anti-immigrant, borderline white supremacist rhetoric. Frank Reagan's plotline for the episode deals with the To Be Lawful or Good dilemma of ensuring the man's constitutionally protected right to be heard in spite of his disdain for his message (not to mention the absolute disgust of his black mayor and a Malcolm Xerox from a previous episode). He ends up foiling the mayor's attempt at Bothering by the Book to shut down the theater where the host is making a live broadcast, then placing the man's police protection inside the theater and staffing it entirely with non-white officers led by a VERY large black sergeant.
- The Good Wife Episode 1x11 "Infamy": Duke Roscoe was a caricature of Glenn Beck that continued to goad people into believing that a woman had murdered her missing baby until she killed herself out of grief and he said on television that he was glad she had done that. He makes the following trial for wrongful death a very hard process by continuously defending his First Amendment rights and anything related (like how he got his info). At the end of the episode the baby girl was found alive, plus evidence that he was misinformed about the dead mother by a (slightly) Loony Fan comes to light.
- Suzanne Fulcrum, the host of the Show Within a Show American Crime on the 2006 series Justice constantly called the Accused Person Of The Week guilty. The twist was that 1) sometimes the Accused Of The Week was guilty (but the audience didn't learn that until the episode's end), and 2) some of her continuous badgering about said accused person being guilty was because she had a grudge with lawyer firm TNT&G (and Ron Trott specially) and their continuous use of spin doctoring for the defense's sake.
- In The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert plays a parody of this. The show was literally pitched to Comedy Central as "Stephen Colbert parodies Bill O'Reilly".
- On The West Wing, President Barlett gives Dr. Jenna Jacobs (an expy of Dr. Laura Schlessinger) a verbal beatdown. After she tells him that homosexuality is "an abomination unto the Lord" he pretends to agree with her, then goes into detail about a bunch of other stuff from the same passage in the Bible that that's from. "How much should I charge when I sell my daughter into slavery?" and such.
- This was based on an actual letter that was addressed to Schlessinger, asking, among other things, why Americans aren't allowed to enslave Canadians.
- In the mid-'90s, MTV had an outspoken conservative VJ named Kennedy. On Murphy Brown, Lansing decides to shake things up at FYI by hiring the outspoken conservative MTV VJ McGovern, (though it is eventually revealed he was under the influence of Demerol before his triple bypass surgery).
- Henry Winkler played on in the shortlived 90s Sitcom Monty, which was cancelled after five episodes.
- Richard Bastion from Grand Theft Auto IV, host of the show bearing his name on WKTT, is written as a No Celebrities Were Harmed parody of Rush Limbaugh.
- The Xtended Terran Conflict mod for X3: Terran Conflict adds news services for each race. The Terran version, Terran Morning News, is a satire of Fox News as a whole and Glenn Beck's and Alex Jones' shows in particular, what with rampant paranoia, conspiracy theories, and subtle or not-so-subtle discrimination (Muslims in post-9/11 Fox News have been replaced by Aldrinites in Terran Morning News, for example).
- One mod for Fallout: New Vegas adds a radio station hosted by "Glen Morgan," a racist, pro-gun, right-wing Enclave supporter.
- Deus Ex: Invisible War featured a radio show called Talk Bullet, featuring an obnoxious pundit named Brett Steed who interrogates guests and then cuts them off before they can answer any of his questions. In a later chapter, he gets his comeuppance when he tries to pull his schtick on Saman, who refuses to play along.
- Dm C Devil May Cry has Bob Barbas of Raptor News Network, a thinly-veiled parody of Bill O'Reilly and the Fox News Network. He's actually one of Mundus' minions who specifically spews propaganda that put their enemies (such as Dante) in a bad light.
- Young Justice has a cross between this trope and Marvel Comics' J. Jonah Jameson. in the form of G. Gordon Godfrey. While he isn't overtly right wing, he is the human or Earth equivalent of a Nationalist, and deeply distrust the Justice League for their secrecy (which he isn't completely unfounded on) and disdainfully refers to members like Superman and the Martian Manhunter as "aliens". He uses his talk show as a soapbox and borders on yellow journalism and outright fear-mongering a lot of the time, and when the Reach show up he lavishes them with praise because of their good PR. In an interesting reversal, he actually turns on the Reach once their lies begin to get exposed, and in the finale it's heavily implied that like his comics counterpart he himself is an alien from Apokolips.
- On Ultimate Spider-Man J. Jonah has a television show which essentially makes him one of these.
- He's given a unique twist, though. He's NICE to MJ, when she makes a pro–Spider-Man video. In fact, he's one of the only two views she GOT.
- The Simpsons:
- The loudmouthed host of the talk show that appears on "Bart Mangled Banner". He continues asking the Simpsons if they hate America (and what specific part of it, as well) by yelling in their faces until Marge snaps.
- Homer Simpson himself became one after a video of one of his rants went viral and was hired by a news channel. He became so popular he convinced people to wear gravy boats on their heads and almost endorsed Ted Nugent for president.
- Recuring character and Limbaugh caricature Birch Barlow.
Birch Barlow: Mayor Quimby, you are well known sir, for your lenient stance on crime, but suppose for a second that your house was ransacked by thugs, your family tied up in the basement, with socks in their mouths, you try to open the door but there's too much blood on the knob-
Mayor Quimby: What is your ah, question?
Birch Barlow: My question's about the budget, sir.