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Acceptable Political Targets

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"You don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference..."
Richard Nixon, after losing a race for governor in 1962, six years before becoming the President of the United Statesnote 

A subset of Acceptable Targets. This one deals with demonized political groups. It's gonna be a Long List, because politics is one arena where (in a democratic society, at least) all groups not only have to compete against each other, but have to publicly compare themselves with each other. This too easily leads to making the other guy out to be a Straw Character.

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It is important to remember that your opinion on how (un)deserving of ridicule or hatred a given political group is has nothing to do with whether it should be listed here; this is merely an index of how the group is treated in popular culture. So ideally, examples shouldn't be "These guys suck lol" or "We deserve to be on here because we're so persecuted" or "This stereotype is not true."

This is not That Other Wiki, so we're not concerned with what groups actually believe or don't believe. It's also not just about groups that are disagreed with or controversial — the group has to be among the Acceptable Targets for mockery and derision.

It can be taken as a given that literally any political position is a valid target in media intended solely for people who oppose it (or in political ads intended as an attack); so for sanity's sake, this list should mostly be limited to political targets that are viewed as acceptable in "mixed company" or media with mass-market appeal. You might attack a major, mainstream political party on a TV channel intended for its opposition, for instance; but you would (almost) never do so in a Hollywood blockbuster, and not without significant backlash if you did, because it's probably not an acceptable target to the public as a whole.

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See also Straw Character.

No Real Life Examples, Please! TV Tropes is not a political website. We don't want flame wars.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Politicians as a Whole 
Sleazy, corrupt, and willing to lie to their grandmother to get elected. Ultimately, politicians are about the easiest group to make into an acceptable target - just about any politician has a topic that they can be attacked on legitimately, and the profession as a whole tends to disproportionately attract sleazeballs only interested in power. It generally takes several years of cleanliness, honesty, and competence before a politician is truly respected by most people - and then, to paraphrase an old Disney song, you're not a politician anymore, but a statesman.

Attacking politicians as a vaguely-defined group also allows writers to avoid offending anyone by insulting their specific brand of politics; politically-minded viewers can still laugh and assume that they're attacking all the other politicians.

Comic Books

Film

  • Obi-wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy takes a very dim view of politicians in general, as he demonstrates when he warns Anakin not to trust Senator Palpatine specifically because he is a politician, who in his mind are liars and manipulators who only care for themselves. In regards to Palpatine, he is indeed correct.

Radio

  • Bleak Expectations starts off small in its first series, with a minor character being the Secretary of Bribery and Corruption, before taking the idea Up to Eleven in the second. The British Parliament is portrayed as a group of hedonistic drunkards, who spend all but a few minutes of every day getting really drunk, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is an evil, undead super-villain ("Because whatever better job is there?") who is bribing them into going along with his plan to take over the United Kingdom. And when Parliament house is burnt down, due to a mixture of an exploding Speaker of the House of Commons and brandy fumes, their only complaint is having nowhere to eat and drink and sleep and "ruin the country" from. In series 4, the House of Lords is stated to be so boring that a man can actually bore himself to death listening to them speaking.

Video Games

  • Dragon Age II allows Hawke to make 'politicians' jokes at every turn, and at one point if you tell Varric that you are going to change the way Kirkwall works he tells you that entering politics is either "idealism or madness...so, either way, right up your alley."

Webcomics

  • This line from Lackadaisy:
    If you're so inclined to consort with unscrupulous crackpots, consider politics instead.

    By political ideology 
Communists

Given the infamy of Communist leaders including Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot, the ideas of communism itself and the intense geopolitical competition between the Soviet Union and USA known as the Cold War (which nearly led to nuclear Armageddon in 1962 and 1983), it's no wonder that Communists are acceptable targets.

Stalin was responsible for the deaths of about 10-12 million Soviet citizens including 6-8 million during the Collectivisation of Agriculture (1932-1934), 2 million state prisoners from overwork and starvation during World War II, 1 million in the famines of 1946-7 caused by the Germans' scorched-earth strategy, 800,000 executed during the purges of 1935-9, and thousands executed or dead in prison as a result of political crimes (as opposed to robbery, murder, etc). Stalin also did little to prevent Nazi German and Imperial Japanese POW, Nazi German and Japanese citizens, and German and Japanese settlers evicted from eastern Europe and east Asia, from being victimized by Soviet or local troops and citizens. Several hundred thousand of these may have been killed or died after being robbed of food, and more were sexually assaulted.

Chairman Mao Zedong was responsible for the deaths of at least 36 million Chinese citizens including about 35 million during the abortive Second Five Year Plan (marketed as "the Great Leap Forward", 1958-61), about 1 million designated as "landlords" by local communities and executed in public show trials, at least several thousand identified as "reactionaries" and "capitalist-roaders" and killed by teenaged Red Guards in the mob violence of the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, and several thousand more executed or dead in prison as a result of political crimes.

Pol Pot was responsible for the deaths of at least 1.5 million Cambodian citizens, largely in the Cambodian Genocide of 1975-9 which reduced the population of the country by a fifth in an attempt to totally extirpate all non-Communist influences.

The few "Communist" governments which survived the collapse of the Soviet Union now largely exist in name only. These include the People's Republic of China, which implemented market reforms in the 1980s and exists today as the largest holder of US debt, and North Korea, which replaced Marx-Leninism with Juche and dynastic succession, and remain a thorn at the US's side with its constant threats of nuclear annihilation and hilarious propaganda videos, Vietnam, which also implemented market reforms and actually has good relationships with the USA and trades regularly with them, and Cuba. Despite this, many "evil Commie" tropes of the Cold War era, aside perhaps from those in Vietnam, can still be applied to these countries, albeit with a new coat of paint.

Alternatively, they could be portrayed as out to overthrow the government. The overall stereotype has shifted over time, going gradually from one of Ax-Crazy Terrorists Without a Cause a century ago to today's "Big Brother" portrayal (which invariably gets conflated with the Nazis — though as the Secret Police and The Gulag show, these bitter ideological enemies are Not So Different).

Film

Video Games

  • All games in the universe of Fallout play on this, although that stems from the cultural nature of the games: the United States just before the nuke in 2077 represented what people in the 50s thought the future would look like, with Bauhaus-ey furniture and cars and extended use of nuclear energy, and still thriving waves of the Red Scare.


The Nazis

Being megalomaniacal racists bent upon world conquest and mass extermination of anyone labeled "undesirable" is obviously wrong. The fact that the Nazis are one of the few groups that made a serious go at world conquest in real-life and spread the effects as far as they did took the idea of it from "stock goal of fictional villains" to Adult Fear and No Mere Windmill.

The fact that the Nazis, despite their evil, gave birth to a very common weapon on Internet debates: Godwin's Law. Mere association with them also made card-carrying Fascism unacceptable among NATO countries. Debates may exist over how cartoonish a fashion it is acceptable to portray the Nazis (do you make them as cartoonishly bad as possible, in an attempt to make them ridiculous and thus impossible to take seriously? Or do you take them perfectly seriously, because anything else would be disrespectful to their millions of victims?). In fact; start mocking their victims about it and you'd better be prepared for every civilized person in the western hemisphere to get pissed. Of course, a further unfortunate repercussion of their existence is that even today they continue to generate a rather unfortunate impression of Germany and its citizens.

Film

  • In Blazing Saddles, we see Nazis in line to try out for Hedley's army of thugs, and a (heavily implied) Jewish actor playing the dictator appears briefly. He is also visible repeatedly giving Nazi salutes in the background of the Great Pie Fight, as well as during the swearing in scene.
    Hedley: RIGHT hands!
  • You Nazty Spy! was the first film to ever lampoon the Nazis.
  • Nazis. Indiana Jones hates these guys. They're the secondary villains in two out of four of his movies. After directing Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg decided he would never again do a movie with "cartoon Nazis".
  • The Blues Brothers hate Illinois Nazis.
  • Deliberately averted in Downfall (2004). According to director Oliver Hirschbiegel, the message of the film is to show people the Nazis were people too (albeit very flawed people), and not just cartoonishly evil monsters.
  • Subverted in Iron Sky. The film really isn't subtle with its portrayal of the Space Nazis, lampooning many Reichstropen, but it also does not shy away to take a jab at other nationalities, especially Americans. In fact, the American government is portrayed as just as cartoonishly immoral as the Space Nazis, while one of the protagonists is a Space Nazi who genuinely believes National Socialism is a good thing, seeing the Space Nazis' upcoming conquest of earth as bringing enlightenment to the planet, but soon realizes the opposite is true (she had been misled by their propaganda).

Live-Action TV

  • Crisis on Earth-X: "I hate Nazis," is said by literally every superhero at Barry and Iris' wedding when they attack. They all promptly drop their Thou Shalt Not Kill rule for this specific enemy, and nobody holds it against them. It's to the point that the alternate earth where said Nazis came from, Earth-X, is regarded as a Crapsack World that no sane person would ever travel to and is practically unlisted in the multiverse. That's how hated Nazis are.

Video Games

Web Original

  • Lampshaded in Hellsing Ultimate Abridged a couple of times:
    • While the Hellsing compound is under attack by Nazi vampires.
      Willingham: Uh, so, sir? What's the over-under on any of us finishing this mission alive?
      Pip: About as good as any of us actually getting laid tonight.
      Willingham: I don't know, those vampires do look kind of rapey.
      Other mercenary: Holy shit, dude!
      Willingham: OH, WHO THE FUCK AM I OFFENDING?! THE NAZIS?!
    • While the Nazi leaders themselves are watching Alucard murder their entire army:
      The Doktor: Also, I belive our forces are being quite literally slaughtered.
      The Major: Ha! Who gives a shit? Zey're Nazis!


Fascists

Fascism is also politically unacceptable given the atrocities committed by Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, and the quasi-fascist states of Romania and Spain. Fascism is rhetorically slippery - unlike Nazism, which is seen as extreme when used to refer to anything other than the actual Nazi Party, 'fascism' has become the general term for extreme-right ideology altogether, a blanket term that includes the beliefs of the Nazis, many other far right political movements, as well as (in popular conversation) other situations of nativist oppression, from armed insurrectionists to that one local cop who fires his gun at kids for smoking weed on the street corner. This is because fascism doesn't have a specific body of theory, and is instead characterised by extreme bigotry, an attempt to cling onto power at all costs, Appeal to Tradition, attempts to return to a non-existent Golden Age (after society's downfall was caused by the scapegoated racial, sexual or gender minorities getting too many rights), vapid and sentimental rhetoric popular with insecure members of the middle class, and use of oppressive armed force against dissent at home and foreigners abroad who have stuff they want to take. While one of fascism's trademarks is its suspicion of intellectuals (and, in fact, independent thought), fascism is obsessed with aesthetics over real policies, and will often end up wracked with infighting about who makes art and architecture that is more like the way it was done in the old days when we were great. In short, fascism is a political ideology that doesn't have any real ideology in it, meaning that it can be slipped into all kinds of settings and political environments very easily.

With the end of WWII, the notion of a Fascist politician or leader has become very unpopular in the West, usually along with the idea that one couldn't come along in this country any more - usually also combined with a simultaneous panic that any potential leader who holds large rallies or seems popular (whether on the left, right or centre) is a fascist and worth panicking about. This is not to say that fascist partisans do not exist - they have become increasingly electorally competitive over much of Europe in the last ten years - but that traditionally they had to perform all kinds of rhetorical gymnastics in order to present themselves to the public, while mainstream political groups often adopted some of their rhetoric in order to appeal to their bases (without becoming truly fascist themselves). Many countries in the world now have leaders that openly use fascist rhetoric, but do not completely destroy democracy to install dictatorships, as fascists did in older times; economically they often govern like (extremely corrupt) free-market conservatives, which isn't a contradiction if you accept that one of the main appeals of becoming a fascist leader is that it can help you make lots of money.

In a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, the most notable subversion (especially as time passes and people forget) is probably Fascist Spain, which maintained its openly, explicitly fascist and Axis-friendly government from the 1930s right up until 1975, largely thanks to not officially having taken part in WWII despite allowing Spaniards to join the Waffen-SS, and having sent in the Blue Division to help German forces on the Soviet front.

Video Games

  • While all the political ideologies in Disco Elysium come out badly when expressed by your insane loser of a main character, it presents Fascism as by far the worst of the ideologies. While most of the Fascist characters in the game are sympathetic and even likeable, this is very clearly despite their views, rather than because of them, and their views are generally something that they came across due to personal failings or self-hatred. If your player character chooses to become a Fascist, it's presented as a form of nihilistic self-harm, even giving him Morale damage every time he says something Fascist due to his beliefs being a coping mechanism to deal with his self loathing. It also increases his stat gain from indulging his life-ruining alcohol addiction, showing that Fascism is him indulging his worst impulses, and is not compatible with him growing as a person.


Libertarians

Generally portrayed as some or all of the following: paranoid wackos stockpiling guns and Krugerrands for the imminent collapse of society, regular conservatives who just want to smoke weed all day, crypto-racists and anti-Semites, "fuck yours, I got mine"-style sociopaths, closet ephebophiles and obese basement-dwelling armchair political theorists posting on Reddit. Love using words like "fact", "reality" and "truth" as it makes them sound like genius outcasts. Often, liberals will see them as an exaggerated version of their stereotypes of conservatives, and vice versa. They're nearly all depicted as straight white men of upper-to-middle class upbringing who view the UN, environmentalists, women and pretty much whoever has differing opinions to them as a communist threat. Note that these words do not mean the same thing outside the United States. Outside the US "liberal" is more akin to libertarian, while "libertarian" means "social anarchist" (i.e. of the collectivist/communist type). Yes, the linguistic evolution of these terms is weird.

Anarcho-capitalists are a sub-type that are generally stereotyped as completely amoral, greedy, and heartless bastards who turn a blind eye or engage in all sorts of disgusting behaviors so long as it benefits them, and don't care a single shred about anything but themselves and money. In the worst cases, they'll be portrayed as pseudo-tyrannical dictators, profiting off the oppression of others. See Libertarian stereotypes.

Live-Action TV

Western Animation

  • Dale from King of the Hill isn't a libertarian, but is subject to the same hostile caricature as a more right-wing leaning libertarian.


Anarchists

The word invokes images of groups of bikers with guns and Molotov cocktails spreading terror to the surrounding countryside and militia that do what they please, regardless of the damage that is done in the process, because, after all, Anarchy Is Chaos. Of course, they tend to see the government the same way (in reality, Anarchism has a wide political spectrum including hippie-type activists, pacifists, capitalists, communists and even primitivists.) Anarchism was particularly strong in the 1800s, mainly because anarchists went around assassinating world leaders (Leon Czolgosz killed William McKinley, for example). Then anarchists tended to be the social type (i.e. collectivist/communist) though now there is a strong element of "lifestyle" (hippie types) or primitivists (more or less very extreme "greens") and overlap exists as well between these.


Neoconservatives

The term refers to a specific subset of US conservatives who believed in the aggressive use of unilateral military action to achieve American foreign-policy goals and "spread democracy";note  as this led to the fiasco in Iraq, it is generally considered to be discredited. Their military interventionism is often accused of being motivated by a desire to control the supply of oil or other natural resources. Their other plank, regarding deregulation of businesses, is still alive and well. However, the term is thrown around generously to refer to any US politician who belongs to a conservative party yet advocates incautious action. By the end of the George W. Bush's second term "neoconservative" had come to mean "Republican I don't like," which has them overshadowed by the Alt-Right.

Film


Neoliberals

A term with a similar degree of application and abuse to Neoconservative, only for liberals, with similar attitudes towards corporate deregulation and foregin interventions. More interested in "spreading democracy" then overtly controlling resources though. Are sometimes perceived as insincerely adopting progressive positions simply to appeal to progressives, only to "forget" to incorporate them later. Tends to be shorthand for "Democrat I don't like".


Nationalists

See also Misplaced Nationalism

According to most people and media nowadays, every nationalist party or movement is the KKK, the neoconservative paleoconservative elite, or British National Party in disguise — though possibly for a different race. This goes double for people in first world countries, triple for people in world "superpower" nations, and quadruple... err... times infinity for people in the United States. The rule of thumb is that the hate a nation will earn for expressing nationalist sentiments is proportional to its perceived political and cultural power in the world.


The Green Party

Members of the Green Party of the United States tend to get portrayed as Politically Green Single-Issue Wonks who don't care about anything but their overly naive brand of environmentalism. Their platform is actually a lot broader than that. In fact, the word "green" in their case might be said to stand for reform or renewal rather than the "woodsman-spare-that-tree" cliche.


Modern-day Democrats and Republicans in general

The latter is often portrayed as a warmongering Bible-thumping "party for the rich", while the former is often portrayed as a bunch of cowardly corporate sell-out hippies that constantly "betray their base" and that has moved too far to the political center in many key issues, if not being outright ineffectual. In many places, both parties are portrayed as fully pro-war, fully pro-corporatism, and fully pro-big government, and both working for the Federal Reserve in taking away your constitutional rights, with their differences really superficial ploys to fool the voters into supporting one or the other in elections.


Liberals and conservatives in general

Due to The War on Straw, people perceived as being, or who defend even a single position that is, far to the left or right of center politically are often portrayed as crazy or evil.


Islamists

Islamists can end up being painted as people who want everyone to be Muslim and take us back to The Dark Ages, or are all considered to be in league with Al-Qaeda and/or ISIS (no Sunni/Shia divide here!). Osama bin Laden is mentioned on Godwin's Law for this very reason. The fact there are a number of political parties opposed to Islamic immigration that paint a view very similar to this doesn't help much. The Islamist advocacy of using Sharia as a "source of legislation" riles up Western Anti-Islamists and the more liberal Muslim alike; it doesn't help that it's often unclear what this means to the specific Islamist group in question (for some it means "our proposals for secular laws will be inspired by Islamic religious ones, in much the same way that laws in the West are influenced by Christian morality; if you don't agree, we'll debate it in Parliament", while for others it means "our extremely strict interpretations of Scripture will be imposed on everyone whether they like it or not"). It's been slowly becoming discredited as an acceptable target on the left, but is still very much a target on the right.

Film

  • The Kingdom: The villains are al-Qaeda like terrorists who blew up an American compound in Saudi Arabia.
  • True Lies: The Big Bad, Salim Abu Azir, and his Crimson Jihad. They check off most of the stereotypes, including committing acts of terrorism, seeking out weapons of mass destruction to escalate this terrorism to the next level, and a sexist attitude towards women including their own hired contractor. Also played for ridicule.

Literature

  • Dale Brown has featured islamist villains from time to time:
    • Shadows Of Steel takes place primarily in the Persian Gulf and features the real life ruler of Iran, Ali Khamenei, as one of the main villains.
    • Wings Of Fire features a 20 Minutes into the Future version of Libya where Qaddafi has been overthrown (a decade before this happened in real life) and replaced by a hybrid islamist/monarchist regime aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.
    • Ultimately averted in Air Battle Force. The heroes are initially deployed against a Taliban army operating on the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border. However, the two ultimately join forces when faced with a Russian invasion of Turkmenistan.
  • Stephen Coonts will feature islamist villains as well. In an earlier example than most, Final Flight featured an expy of Muammar Qaddafi as the main villain, one that very heavily played up the islamist rather than the leftist aspects of his ideology.
  • Tom Clancy's Ryanverse has used them multiple times, particularly after The Great Politics Mess-Up made it harder to use communist villains. Unlike some adaptations of this trope, however, Clancy goes to great lengths to stress that not all Muslims are islamist and to give his villains good counterparts among allied Muslim nations. Islamist terrorism is repeatedly compared to the IRA, another group the Ryanverse frequently singles out for criticism despite the fact that it shares a religion (Catholicism) with the author and his two main characters.
    • Averted in The Sum of All Fears: despite the popular misconception, the Palestinian villains are actually left-wing radicals associated with the real-life Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, not islamists. Although they're still shown to be Muslim, and moderately serious about practicing their religion.
    • In Executive Orders, the main villain is Mahmoud Hajji Daryaei, the religious dictator of Iran. His plan ultimately revolves around creating a United Islamic Republic centered on the Persian Gulf and ruled by Koranic law under his leadership.
    • Teeth Of The Tiger and Dead or Alive take this trope into The War on Terror era, with Saif Rahman Yasin and the Ummayad Revolutionary Council being the Ryanverse's expies for Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

Live-Action TV

  • Among the most common villains of 24, as you might expect given the series' The War on Terror grounding. Seasons 2, 4, 6, 8, and the movie Live Another Day all prominently featured islamist terrorist villains, though they often were not working alone and some of them only featured as a Disc-One Final Boss.
  • JAG featured islamist villains more and more heavily as the series moved from the 1990s to the 2000s. As you might expect given the show's Ripped from the Headlines approach to storytelling, these villains often followed real life enemies of the United States very closely. While other shows often temper their inspirations by portraying fictional terrorist groups and imaginary countries, JAG unhesitatingly references factions like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda, and nations like Iran.
  • Its spin-off, NCIS. would continue this tradition, as would NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans.
  • Tyrant features an ISIS expy known as "the Caliphate" among its villains.
  • Islamists are recurring villains on The West Wing, which various main characters, especially CJ and Toby, have a particular loathing for. Unusually, the islamists featured are a blend of real and fictional. The series invents the Bahji terrorist network as a stand-in for al-Qaeda, and the nation of Qumar as a stand-in for officially pro-Western nations like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan that the U.S. has accused of covertly supporting jihadist networks. At the same time, real-life groups like Hamas and Hezbollah still appear (sometimes having a major impact on the plot, as when Palestinian suicide bombers killed off a recurring character and precipitated a major crisis), and the religious policies of real countries like Saudi Arabia regularly come in for a drubbing.


The Liberal Democrats

In Britain, the Lib Dem stereotype has recently changed drastically. Up until the first TV debate of the 2010 General Election, they were considered a party with no chance of ever getting any power,note  and the usual candidate for protest votes. Several months, a coalition, and a lot of broken promises later, they have become a by-word for spineless, power-grabbing hypocrites.


Any extremist political faction (far-left, far-right, etc)

While most people wouldn't admittedly classify themselves as "extremists", these do, unfortunately exist, though extremists tend to think of themselves as the "true" representation of their affiliation's ideals. Often ridiculed as fringe lunatics (and considered dangerous) not only by the mainstream of the other party but also by more moderate members of the same wing, who tend to disown the extremists. Of course, the debate on what makes one a "true member" of a particular group and just where the line is crossed over into crazy territory continues in the calm, rational manner that such "civil discourse" is known for. Naturally, this doesn't prevent opponents from using the extreme examples as their go-to insult for a given group, considering Communism was historically a far-left political philosophy, and Fascism was far-right.

Film

Magazines

  • When a poll was circulating among Belgians to vote for who was the best Belgian ever the celebrity magazine Deng decided to organize a poll where people could vote for the worst Belgian. The "winner" was Filip De Winter, the leader of the far-right Flemish movement Het Vlaams Belang.

Web Original

  • Geert Wilders is an infamous extreme right activist in the Netherlands that gets a lot of hate for his extreme right ideas, to the point that he is seen as a racist prick.

Any moderate political position

Depicted as sit-on-the-fence types who sway to one side or another depending on what recently most appealed to them, naive do-gooder types who just want everyone to be friends, or sleazy opportunists who are only concerned with making themselves presentable to the broadest demographic possible without any serious ideological stance they would care to stand on. In works partial to one or the other side, they might also be presented as unaware useful idiots or actual fifth columnists of [insert "wrong" faction], meant only to sway away the potential supporters of [insert "right" faction].


Third positionists

Overlapping somewhat with "extremists in general", third positionism is an ideology that intentionally combines elements of fascism and communism (in practice, this always means a far-left economic policy and a far-right social policy, as the opposite would be what Americans consider to be Libertarianism) and as such, third positionists are viewed by everyone else to be promoting evil for its own sake, since fascism and communism are both bad enough, but putting them together?

    By social or political movement 
The Ku Klux Klan

A reactionary extremist group based around racist beliefs who are known to violently attack and kill those they're prejudiced against and anyone who associates with or supports them is obviously wrong.

Film

Literature

Radio

  • Notably, they were featured as the villains in The Adventures of Superman... back in the '40s, when they were still considered kind of respectable. Well, the villains were called "The Clan of the Fiery Cross," but it's very clear who they meant. That show helped expose the truth about their racist agenda, which led to the organization as it was then being eventually completely disbanded (Klansmen nowadays are pretty much all imitators). That's right, Superman defeated the Klan.

Video Games

  • In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, several Klansmen make brief appearances all of which show them as subservient traitors to the triumphant Nazi regime. Despite sharing white supremacist views, the even Nazis treat the KKK as idiotic minions with one soldier belittling a pair of Klansmen for failing to speak proper German.
  • In Red Dead Redemption 2, Arthur Morgan can randomly encounter the Klan appear in random encounters. Every encounter with them ends in them accidentally killing themselves (unless the Arthur decides to shoot them first). Even the user interface hates these guys, as it rewards Arthur with honor for killing them in cold-blood.


McCarthyism

Joseph McCarthy was a second-string United States Senator (Republican from Wisconsin) who was on the fast track to censure by—or even expulsion from—the Senate for less than honorable dealings he had engaged in while a Senator. The Republican Party thought that by sending him to speak in Wheeling, West Virginia it would be near the last anyone would ever have to hear of him. However, after delivering a speech in which he claimed to have a list of 200-odd prominent members of the U.S. State Department who were also active members of the Communist Party, his fortunes revived and he became almost untouchable for a time. Between 1950 and 1954 Senator Joe McCarthy led a crusade against communist infiltration in the U.S. government and society. Although immensely popular during his heyday, these days McCarthy is used in fiction and other discourse to represent the absolute nadir of political mudslinging and opportunism, and he's often in some way connected with the dark Government Conspiracy that authors like to create. Quite an accomplishment (so to speak) for a man who's been dead for over half a century.

Note that according to the reports of defectors, corroborated after the fall of the Soviet Union by both the opening of the KGB archives and the declassification of the VENONA intercepts (a CIA/NSA program of tapping Soviet diplomatic telegram traffic) there actually were quite a few Soviet agents in the government, including some who did pose a threat (it finally proved, for instance, that Alger Hiss was a spy after all). This is not this trope. McCarthy didn't particularly care whether or not there were Communist agents in government, just so he could piggyback on the issue to ensure his political future, and did not care just how much bullying or slandering of reputations he committed to attaining that one goal of political survival. For all of his accusations, he only managed to accuse a single person who actually did turn out to be a Soviet agent, and it was coincidental, as he had nothing more against her than any others.

Film

  • The Manchurian Candidate makes that explicit by having its McCarthy analog actually be a Soviet agent whose antics served to discredit more responsible anti-Communists. They also have him pick the number of communists he can identify off a ketchup bottle. Presidents Harry S Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhowever had both commented that McCarthy couldn't have been more helpful in discrediting anti-communism if he were a Soviet agent himself-it appears that the writer ran with the notion.
  • George Clooney's film Good Night, and Good Luck., telling the story of news reporter Edward R. Murrow's attacks on McCarthyism, featured actual footage of McCarthy speaking. When screened for test audiences, most of them thought that it was an actor hamming up McCarthy's lines.
  • This paranoia was brilliantly mocked in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.
  • Also, chillingly portrayed in Fail Safe were the dire consequences that many feared would be a result of the tensions between the USSR and the US.


The Tea Party

Springing up in the wake of the 2008 elections, the Tea Party is mostly made up of junior Republican Congressmen and Senators. The term is ill-defined and usually self-applied, though liberals use it as an insult. According to the Left they're a bunch of theocratic racist fascists who hate women and worship the super-rich, as well as many other accusations. The name comes from their anti-tax stance as a reference to the Boston Tea Party, and Taxed Enough Already.


Social justice activists

Pretty much stereotyped the same way as feminists, although the range of social issues their activism covers is much larger than just women's issues. Often pejorativelynote  referred to as "social justice warriors" by detractors and the political right. The stereotypical modern social justice activist runs a Tumblr and Twitter as their de facto blog site and unofficial headquarters for spreading their political views and hates white people, men, straight and cisgender individuals, and especially straight cisgendered white men. Tends to see the existence of all of the above as a hate crime in and of itself. Usually stereotyped, like feminists, as being incredibly unattractive as well as morbidly obese. It is mostly believed by many people that they are unable to take other's opinion that's disapproving. Detractors also call them "special snowflakes" and mock their beliefs into "every emotion or viewpoint needs to be taken seriously", as well as "hypocrites" if they disagree with a minority on a particular issue.

Web Video

  • Most known famous YouTubers (from gaming to the political commentary) like The Amazing Atheist or MrRepzion usually hate these people for what they believe they are, some as they benefit from current political climate or a few more common reasons for hating them.

Western Animation

  • PC Principal from South Park starts out a very raw example, beating up anyone who isn't careful with their choice of words. While the rest of the town tries capitalising on progressiveness, it's later revealed that PC Principal is genuine in his stand against bigotry. He gradually begins to see the error of his ways and mellows out, but his children become the new anti-SJW strawmen.
    Hey! They're strawpersons, bruh!


Feminists

Tend to be characterized as shrill man-hating harpies who twist any kind of male/female interaction, no matter how innocent, into a warped representation of male domination and violence against women and who, at the furthest extreme, actively wish to see men eradicated. In fiction, they're usually presented as physically unattractive, implying that they only think this way because they're too ugly/fat/hairy/whatever to get laid. They're also often presented as utterly humorless, absurdly politically correct and hypocritical lesbians who actively hate sex, especially if it involves a man. For such characters, feminism is a kind of reverse-chauvinism, rather than a movement for equality.
For that matter, male feminists are presented as confused, out of place, or only pretending to believe in the ideology to get laid.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Big Mouth generally takes the side of feminism, but it's practitioners are usually shown as being belligerent and ill-informed. Jessi Glaser being the main offender, with her proposal of a slut walk quickly shifting from a protest on a girls-only dress code to straight-up antagonising boys for being attracted to girls. Her friend Missy balances this by being a far more amicable feminist.
    • Male feminists are treated with a similar disdain as full-on misogynists. One really creepy example being the teacher Mr Lizer, who plays the male ally card but holds contempt for any girl who gets too pro-active. Plus, his interactions with some of the girls cross right into ephebophilia.


Men's rights activists

Frequently characterized as bitter, dumb straw misogynists posting incoherent, hateful screeds on Reddit and 4Chan about "the gynocracy" and being "friendzoned" at their best, and complete psychopaths who think that all rape and domestic violence victims are either liars trying to drum up support for their misandrist agendas or sluts who asked for it because they wanted the attention at worst, with the latter frequently having open support for famous rapists or anti-women extremists, as well as possibly being either domestic abusers themselves or straight-up budding serial killers. While they will doubt a rape accusation against a white man, they very rarely show this kind of skepticism when it's against a black man or a Muslim.

Popular culture portrayals are few and far between due to the comparatively recent emergence of the movement, but when they do show up, expect fedora-clad Redditors who go on about being "nice guys" and whose support for the movement mostly comes from extreme resentment caused by being repeatedly rejected by women, which is almost always because of their obvious undesirability.

  • The TFL (True Forced Loneliness) movement probably emerged based on this mentality. But it consists mostly of middle aged basement dwellers posting rants to YouTube.
  • Somewhat related is the budding movement of American men who claim to be fed up with American women whom they perceive as superficial, selfish, and unattractive. These men often speak well of women in Asian countries where feminism is not part of the culture. Their answer to this is what many essentially perceive as sex tourism.
  • Some are men who completely opt out of dating women altogether for a number of arguments, but this is a related-yet-separate phenomenon called MGTOW (Men Going their Own Way) - but it is worthy to note that MGTOW has more relation to the MRM than aforementioned sex tourism.
  • A closely related movement are "Incels" (Involuntary Celibates) who complain about their lack of a sex life, which is blamed on anyone but them. They are mostly portrayed as woman-hating losers whose problems are mostly of their own making, who foster an extreme pessimism in their members (i.e. that it's hopeless for them in regards to having relationships). The fact that a few mass shooters such as Elliot Rodger have been associated with them doesn't help, of course, as their motive is blamed on lashing out against all women because some rejected them.

Film

  • The film The Red Pill is built upon the subversion of this premise, offering a more polite look at MRAs and their arguments.

Live-Action TV

  • Played Straight in the Saturday Night Live skit, Jewelry Party where the MRA is portrayed as a creep who lost his virginity to his mail-order bride and shut down two Planned Parenthoods.
  • The Parks and Recreation episode "Pie Mary" lampoons this group. They first appear picketing the eponymous event (a pie baking contest between the wives of the state's political candidates) and accuse Leslie of being a domineering bitch to her husband Ben because he's the one competing in the Pie Mary (when, in fact, he volunteered to compete to subvert the whole thing). Later, their leader is shown to be a pretty pathetic man who blames women for all his life's problems and doesn't like how women have gotten more opportunities. Leslie herself calls the group a joke by the episode's end.
  • Incels are portrayed darkly in one episode of Law & Order: SVU, where a pair cooperate in committing rapes. Some of their real beliefs and terminology are highlighted.
  • The character of Fran Dodd from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is an extremely unflattering depiction of MRAs. He's a misogynist and rape apologist who tries to prove the innocence of blatantly awful criminal men (namely Reverend Wayne, the same man who kidnapped the title character as a teenager and held her captive for 15 years) and generally rants (with little evidence) how women undermine men and are out to hurt them. Fran is especially pathetic in that much of his misogyny stems from his lack of success with women, completely blind to the fact that his lack of success comes from how he exclusively flirts with his female customers (he runs a bridal dress store, meaning he flirts with brides-to-be and their moms). When Kimmy gives him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, he's too embarrassed by the fact that he was beaten up by a girl to press charges.
  • In the third season of Santa Clarita Diet, the protagonist sentient zombie (who is dedicated to only eat the scum of the earth) and her husband lure a Straw Misogynist man with a fake MRA meeting.

Web Original

  • Cracked featured an article comparing them to white supremacists.
  • Dave Futrelle, writer of the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, makes no secret of his utter hatred of the movement, calling their usage of legitimate issues facing men to be a thin smokescreen for their toxic misogyny.

Web Video

  • Completely averted by the discussions had at the International Conference on Men's Issues. Each speaker provides evidence for their points and the demographics they belong to subvert common stereotypes.
  • Meninists in some episodes of The Nostalgia Critic are portrayed as immature trolls (similar vein to Alt-Right stereotypes) and loser nerds that usually failed or portrayed as opposition to hypocritical feminists and even Devil Boner calls them out as jokes that bring shame to the male gender as a whole.

Western Animation

  • In Big Mouth Andrew Glouberman considers becoming an MRA after being rejected by his crush Missy. He goes to one of their meetings and within the first minute they go from scapegoats women and girls to black and Jewish men. Andrew realises his error and goes as far as to call them Nazis for their beliefs.

Egalitarians

As a Whole: Depicted as coming from a (relatively) privileged background and believing that racial and sexual discrimination died in the 70s, so no-one has the right to take offense to what they say.

Gender-based Egalitarianism: Depicted as the best option because of the Golden Mean Fallacy between radical feminists and MRAs. Feminists strongly suspect that they're just MRAs trying to wash away the stigma of their movement, while MRAs may see them as too progressive in that they don't demand women step down from traditionally masculine roles. May include women who believe that feminism is redundant, using their own privileged upbringing as a basis. May also include feminists who are transphobic and assume that trans people have it just as easy as men solely because they have some testosterone.

Race-based Egalitarianism: Depicted as entitled racists who hide behind the Civil Rights Movement as soon as they're called out. The general school of thought is "We're paying you now, what more do you want?". May mention how someone with a darker skin tone than themselves is more successful than they are, so it must make the poverty-stricken members of their group. They loathe Affirmative Action.

Economic Egalitarians get a bad rap in Europe, especially in France where, since the 80s (when liberals decided that liberty is better and more preferable than equality) it's associated with communist sympathizers, crypto-Stalinists and people who are jealous and envious of the rich. These stereotypes played a huge role in explaining the general consensus for austerity and in Germany is used to justify writing off Greece. This is mostly because of Political Ideologies where European liberalism differs sharply from American liberalism (which sees some amount of equality and social justice as coterminous with liberty).

Classical Liberals are a self-described group of disillusioned left-leaners on YouTube who claim to wish to distance themselves from the far-left without embracing right-wing politics. Naturally they come across as insufferably pretentious and arrogant whose allegedly prized "skepticism" and "rationality" gets dropped the second they encounter a position that fits their biases. Defines "Social Justice Warriors" or the "Regressive Left" as "Anything I don't like, on the Left." Gets accused of being secret right-wingers.


Eugenics supporters

Eugenics is the belief of improving the genetic quality in humans, and its ambiguous definition brings the picture of genocide and bigotry. Supporters are usually viewed as Axe-Crazy murderers with lots and lots of Black Comedy surrounding them. They also are by definition perceived as in favor of abortion, which makes them a very beloved target for pro-life works. The Evilutionary Biologist is an easy villain to make with this viewpoint. The fact that the Nazis were eugenics supporters also helps make this a go-to category for villainy.

Live-Action TV

  • The majority of the antagonists of Orphan Black are part of (or at least linked to) a movement called Neolution, that preaches eugenics and transhumanism in generally immoral ways.

Web Animation

  • Foamy the squirrel from Neurotically Yours supports eugenics. He's also a Villain Protagonist who openly abhors everyone.
  • In FilmCow Ferrets, the unnamed ferret's view that eugenics makes a "pretty face" is supposed to be one of his many psychopathic traits.


The Alt-Right

A movement which claims to have developed in reaction to Political Correctness Gone Mad but critics of it say it is mostly united around racist causes and fears of one day no longer being the "majority". Typically characterized as spoiled brats and angry white men (usually) who say things they know are racist with no real purpose outside of trying to appear edgy, often by ranting on the Internet because of the G.I.F.T.. Can't stand hearing about social justice issues, but will bring them up when they're marginalizing a group they hate so they can call SJWs hypocrites. They also are seen as running high on Insane Troll Logic and claiming formerly innocuous mascots as "theirs", like Pepe the Frog and Mac Tonight. Claim to be all about creating discussion (when they're not claiming to be doing it for the lulz), but accuse anyone who disagrees with them of pushing an agenda and trying to silence them. Defines Marxism as "anything I disagree with". Gets accused of being allied with The Klan and Nazis.


Antifascist Action

A surprisingly old movement (the concept dates back to the 1930s, unsurprisingly) that has seen a relatively recent surge in popularity following political events in 2016-17, Antifa is short for Anti-Fascist Action and as such is utterly opposed to any form of Fascism; this opposition tends to take the form of street protests and riots to "make fascists afraid again" amid calls to "bash the Fash". Antifa tends to get accused of being literal Bomb-Throwing Anarchists and Dirty Commies whose members are upper-middle-class college students convinced they're in the early stages of a revolution but don't realize the consequences or costs of their actions. Defines Fascist as "anything I don't like".


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    By nation 
The United States Congress, or any legislature for that matter

As Mark Twain once put it: "If the opposite of Pro is con, then the opposite of Progress is Congress." It is generally accepted that people generally approve of THEIR senator/representative, often even supporting those who are of the opposite party, but view the Congress in general as a bunch of corrupt morons out of touch with reality. Except for the nontrivial number of people who despair that Congress is a bunch of corrupt morons in general including their senators or representative, and tend to spend their time voting for dark horse candidates in the primaries and then slouching through general election season in apathy. You know people don't like them when even the much-reviled Bush's approval rating was double digits more than the congresses under him. Even Richard Nixon had a higher approval rating during Watergate than Congress has had in recent years. So did BP during the oil spill and banks during the 2008 financial crisis. Other things which polls have determined to be more popular than Congress include root canals, colonoscopies, head lice, traffic jams, cockroaches, polygamy, and used-car salesmen.

Advertising

  • Often used by political ads, surprisingly enough. It usually goes like this: "Congress is full of evil, corrupt people. Of course, the candidate we're advertising is different, which is why you have to vote for them."

Film

  • Mars Attacks!: The Martians' second visit to Earth sees them meeting with Congress. The Martian Ambassador makes a short speech which ends with him whipping out a blaster and vaporizing two rows of the crowd before starting a slaughter of the rest of the Congressmen. An In-Universe example as well, Richie's elderly grandmother laughs that "They blew up Congress!" while watching the news.

Literature

  • Congress is the butt of many a joke by Mark Twain. Some of his more famous quotes:
    • "Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
    • "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."

Theatre


The United States Department of Homeland Security and the PATRIOT Act

Both were created in the interest of protecting American citizens from the threats of terrorism and sexual perversion. It goes both ways. Those who favor these new policies are accused of being "sheeple". Those who feel that these policies go too far in some aspects are accused of being one of the groups targeted: mainly terrorists and child molesters.

  • This brings to mind invasion of privacy and the government spying on and profiling normal citizens, especially if they are of a certain ethnicity or creed that is associated with terrorism. There is also the rising reports of TSA seizures of laptops and smartphones at airports in the search for terrorist information or child pornography.
  • Harsh punishments for minor offenses pertaining to obscenity or indecency. In some states, a man can be punished for the rest of his life for consensual sex with a slightly underage girl, even if there was only a year or two difference between their ages and even if they are both underage. In some states, urinating in public qualifies a person for the sex offender registry. In Florida, artist Mike Diana was convicted of obscenity by publishing the comic book Boiled Angel. Part of his sentence was that he was not allowed to draw. In 2011, an Iowa man was convicted of possession of obscene material (via the Miller Test) when his manga order from Japan was opened by postal employees without his permission (and without good reason) and the police contacted. Being of modest means, he pled guilty rather than face a lengthy, stressful, and undoubtedly expensive court trial.


Antebellum Southern Democrats

When one of the main platforms of a party is owning other people, it's fair to say that it won't be well-liked, especially since the ideology lost a war and subsequently disappeared. Whenever a Democratic politician or sympathizer appears in historical fiction, expect them to be a frothing-at-the-mouth racist Card-Carrying Villain plantation owner who mistreats and tortures his slaves in ways that are so over the top as to be almost unbelievable. Ironically, this portrayal came about as a result of so-called "southern apologetic" literature that portrayed the slaveholders as compassionate and their property with Happiness in Slavery while glossing over the atrocities that occurred; the backlash toward this type of literature caused the pendulum to swing in the other direction so that a slave-owning character that isn't an abusive monster is very rarely seen in media today.


The People's Republic of China.

See also China Takes Over the World and Yellow Peril.

Film

  • To a large extent they've replaced the USSR as the Communist Big Bad (see, for example, Tomorrow Never Dies). Interestingly, for a few years after the fall of the USSR the new Russian Federation (often incorrectly called things like the "Russian Republic") became a brief stand-in for the USSR due to the common misconception that it remained as powerful. Crimson Tide and GoldenEye were good examples of this.
  • This was very much a Cold War era trope. Consider the James Bond films: the Red Chinese are Goldfinger's backers (1964), and in they tolerate Scaramanga operating out of their country (1974).
  • And then there's The Manchurian Candidate...
  • Often averted lately, since China has become a large and important market for Hollywood movies. See for example the RedDawn2012 remake, which used CGI to turn the Chinese antagonists into North Koreans. The idea that North Korea could invade North America is utterly preposterous, which is a measure of how strongly the film makers wanted to avoid offending a potential Chinese audience.


The government of Myanmar (Burma)

A dictatorial, isolationist military junta of a country definitely isn't going to have many fans in the rest of the world, and they're generally blamed for the general poverty and low advancement of their nation. This has changed somewhat in recent years since the loosening of junta control, though the current government's treatment of ethno-religious minorities makes this image even more complicated.


The Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Imagine a cheap knock-off of the USSR under Stalin, as performed by a junior high drama club. Then give them constant food shortages, an insane cult of personality around their leader, and enough missiles to wipe the capital of South Korea off the map. It can also be a stand-in for the People's Republic of China if you don't want to risk your movie getting Banned in China.

Live Action Film

  • Red Dawn (2012). While the 1984 original had the Russians, the remake had North Koreans as the bad guys. Moreover, the villains were originally planned to be Chinese. After the movie was completed, the executives decided to change the villain from China to North Korea, and went so far as to digitally alter every Chinese symbol into a North Korean one and add additional scenes.

Live-Action TV

  • How bad is North Korea? It's like this: Jon Stewart had on a guy who wrote about his experiences helping North Koreans escape to the Freedom-Loving paradise that is... The People's Republic of China.

Video Games


Apartheid-era South Africa

Imagine an entire society with racism as its hat. Despite an awkward Cold War alliance with the U.S. and Britain, the apartheid regime was a pretty acceptable target in the West, especially for those on the left. Now that apartheid and the Cold War are gone, everyone who's not a neo-Nazi can comfortably denounce it in hindsight (at the time, many backed them as anti-communist allies).


Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union -- Patriotic Front

Basically the leftist counterpart to apartheid South Africa, but ruled by a tyrannical dictator on top of it all, seizing the farmlands that grew most of your nation's food from their owners just because they were white was never going to endear Mugabe's regime to the general public. In Africa, he's usually viewed as a tyrant who exploited his starving people for his own gain, but in the West he and his party are usually seen as complete racists on top of it all.


The Canadian Senate Held in particularly low regard because Senators are appointed by the party in power and there is no input from the voting population. Since Senators also have very little actual power, they are generally perceived as useless party cronies with no redeeming traits. People outside of Canada may notice this stereotype echoed in Canadian-made shows.


The Australian federal government

Subject to the usual vitriol, but state and local governments in particular are often seen as incredibly corrupt and/or comically inept, and either way painfully underfunded and of questionable use.

    People in politics 
"Talking heads"

Anyone who has no political qualifications but who talks about politics on TV. Everyone from Michael Moore, Cenk Uygur, and Rachel Maddow on the left to Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, and Ann Coulter on the right. They have less protection from satire than actual politicians because of the "who do they think they are?" factor. They also have the drawback of being easily recognizable symbols of the causes/political positions that they support, and thus being easily-recognizable subjects for parody, satire and mockery.

See the trope Pompous Political Pundit.


Politically active celebrities

Being famous gives you a big audience that you can use to bring attention and influence to the political and social issues that interest you, but it also opens you up to plenty of mockery, mainly for hypocritical and/or cynically self-serving behavior, championing political views and causes that they really don't care about just to please their fans and sponsors, or just plain not knowing what you're talking about, whether any of the accusations are actually warranted to begin with. A lot of celebrities become targets of pundits for having opinions simply because it's not in their job listing, even when they're being genuinely civic-minded. Male PACs are depicted as self-styled humanitarians who tell struggling middle-class workers to donate more to poverty-stricken nations whilst showering their 20-year-old trophy girlfriends in expensive gifts. Female PACs are typically considered to be exhibitionists who don't know enough about the cause they're supporting to make a speech, so they just strip naked, take some photos and sell them to PETA or another popular group. Both are bashed by non-celebrities who get sick of having to hear lectures from people they expect to merely entertain them; e.g., "Shut up and sing!" While some people on the left still hold these views, it's far more common on the right. And more often than not, people who hold such views about celebrities remain oddly silent whenever a celebrity espouses political views they agree with.

  • Frequently mocked on 30 Rock. Here's just one example:
    Tracy: Jenna, we're the most important people here, right?
    Jenna: Well of course, Tracy. We're actors. If we didn't exist, how would people know who to vote for?


Warlords

Forcing others to grow illegal drugs or join an illegal militia can't be right, can it? Throw in a couple Sex Slaves and Child Soldiers for good measure (or even have them be both at the same time), and you have a villain everyone will be glad to guilt-freely hate and oppose.


Incumbent politicians and those running for office

Because mocking them is only relevant for so long.

  • In "10 OPTICAL ILLUSIONS That Will MELT YOUR MIND!" by Matthew Santoro, Matthew talks about an optical illusion that makes the viewer think that pink dots that form a circle have disappeared. He then ponders if the effect that makes them appear to disappear works on people, because he'd love to try it on Donald Trump, who was running for President of the United States as a Republican at the time of the video's upload date, to see if he disappears.


Every single president of the United States of America since John Fitzgerald Kennedy

JFK is often regarded in the media, especially in alternative news and conspiracy media as the last "true" American president. And every single president after his death was often seen as incompetent or compromising at best, or a corrupt puppet or pawn of either Israel, Big Corporations, the Military-Industrial complex or the Federal Reserve (pick one, or all of them) at worst, with each administrations being seen as merely a continuation of the former (this is Truth in Television as the mistakes of a former administration often dominate the succeeding one, but whether this is due to the incompetence or mistakes of a previous administration combined with a succeeding one or to continue or to advance a malicious corporate agenda while suppressing genuine populism is up for debate). The questions that emerged out of how JFK has been killed, and speculation of what he could have done had he not been killed (end the fed, avoid Vietnam) didn't help things either.

  • JFK himself gets this sometimes, especially on his own actions regarding Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and racial segregation in the south.
  • In fact it can also be said that every single president even before JFK gets some form of backlash by those critical of the American political system. This could be due to possible Values Dissonance on the worldviews of the early presidents on slavery, treatment of Native Americans and their support of Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Woodrow Wilson have been hit the hardest by this. Only Washington, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt are unanimously considered Unacceptable Targets.
  • Though he is still very much an acceptable target among liberals and progressives, as far as mainstream conservatives are concerned, Ronald Reagan is practically an Unacceptable Target.


Richard Milhous Nixon

While all presidents are subjected to partisan ridicule, none have inspired such prolonged, public hatred as Richard Nixon, one of the few American historical figures to become a stock villain. Always a polarizing figure, Nixon's easily-caricatured appearance (immortalized by Herblock's cartoons and, of course, the Nixon Mask), awkward personality, handling of The Vietnam War, involvement in the Watergate scandal and resignation (not to mention his unflattering White House tapes) made him the media's poster child for corrupt politicians everywhere, an image he's maintained long after journalists and historians started offering more nuanced assessments. Decades after his death, Nixon's still evoked as a villain in everything from political dramas to cartoons, graphic novels and superhero movies.


Outsider Candidates

Seen as either having too much fringe worldviews indistinguishable from Communism or Fascism, depending on their political ideology, to be electable by the mainstream political spectrum, or not doing anything to genuinely change the system by the far left or the far-right, and may end up being an Unwitting Pawn to establishment politicians, who will "adapt" some of their ideas but never put them into policy once in power. Some examples:


Insider Candidates

  • See above how politicians in general are considered to be Acceptable Targets. It's fairly common for a candidate with little to no former political experience to campaign on a platform that distills down to "Throw the Bums Out."
    • Trump's victory in the 2016 election was at least partially due to him painting (in the Republican primaries) the other Republican candidates as privileged corrupt Washington insiders, and then doing exactly the same thing to Clinton in the general election.


Government itself

To a large degree. Virtually every type of government has been presented as the villain at least once; some that come in for a larger share are autocracies, corrupt democracies (democratic in appearance, but really plutocratic or dynastic), empires and monarchies.

Literature

  • Wildcat Under Glass: Alki Zei presents Metaxas' government in a pretty negative light. The ones who oppose it are hunted down and beaten to death, the treatment of the fortunate kids and of the less fortunate ones is unfair, kids are forced to commit illegal acts that "should make them proud" (stealing, for example), etc. Generally, Alki Zei must not have been a big Metaxas fan, as every time a photo of him appears, someone has to comment that he looks like a "frog".
Video Games
  • Stellaris goes one step further than just pretending. Every type of government can be villainous in this setting, even true democracies, since there can in fact be species that have a perfectly working democracy and do consistently vote on things such as exterminating aliens, genetic deviants or race traitors with no remorse.


Monarchies

Usually treated as lazy, greedy and exploitative people who take advantage of their people. The luxury of their facilities doesn't help that much, also. Note that this has been more or less a Dead Horse Trope for the past half century, but before that it was deadly serious.

  • Still very much a reality for modern day Monarchists who live in countries that were Monarchies a century ago or less who are sometimes viewed negatively in media in their nations and VERY negatively for monarchists who actively support a restoration.
    • Goes double for Germany, Monarchists are compared to Fascists and Neo Nazis. This is mostly the neonazis' fault for using monarchical flags since the swastika is banned, but its also because the Patriotism among monarchist supporters is viewed as dangerous. Again, because of the neonazis.


Silvio Berlusconi

The guy is infamous for a few things. He owns 80% of all Italian television and only has won the election due to the fact that those Italians get brainwashed by what they see on TV and they only voted for him due to that. It should also be noted that the only reason that he wanted to become the president of Italy is to not get prosecuted for raping children.

  • De Kiekeboes : The album Heil Bod has lots of jabs at his regime. The country in which the event takes place is "Berlusconië" and the president there is a fascist dictator that puts people in prison for few reasons and uses TV stations to manipulate people into believing that they are real criminals. Not helped is that at the end it is revealed that he gets a lot of fans because he shows porn at the watershed while flashing propaganda imagery in between it.
  • Hitman (2016): The target of the bonus mission "Landslide" is based on him.


Margaret Thatcher

Responsible for a lot of moral guarding and employing of Media Watchdogs during her career, Ms. Thatcher was generally seen as an unpleasant person both in and out of office. She is (indirectly) responsible for the Video Nasties debacle which painted her as a Control Freak. Gallows Humor set in among the British when she died in 2013, who promoted the song "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" in their national charts; it reached second place and stayed there for a while. She even has her own page for this, Margaret Thatcher in Fiction.

  • While the Harry Potter books NEVER portrayed politicians in a positive light, Margaret Thatcher is a frequent target of J.K. Rowling's scorn, as both Aunt Marge and Umbridge are obvious caricatures of her.


    Other 
Category Traitors

American political culture is full of stereotypes, and failure to fit a stereotype can open someone up to mockery just as much as adhering to it too closely. Wealthy individuals who vote progressively and poor individuals who vote conservatively are clueless and have no idea where their own interests lie. Men who vote liberal are sensitive wimps or naive hippies, and women who vote conservative are prudish shrews or submissive doormats. And everyone apparently knows that African-Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities are fools to vote conservatively, regardless of their personal beliefs; whites, on the other hand, always vote for whichever party is popularly perceived as more racist.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Some common complaints about PETA's policies can be refuted by a simple examination of their webpage. However, it's also worth noting that when it comes to PETA and certain other animal rights campaigners, the Animal Wrongs Group trope isn't entirely make-believe. Interestingly, PETA is widely disliked by many people and groups who agree with the fundamentals of their position, as many environmentalists believe that PETA makes it impossible for them to be taken seriously.

Web Original

  • In "Psychic Octopus & Oil Spills" by Matthew Santoro, Matthew insultingly calls PETA "nutjobs that do just about anything to get their name out there".


People who vote for major parties

Characterized as broken down or unable to think for themselves. Obviously, these people are brainwashed, there's no other reason they wouldn't vote for the right party.

Western Animation

  • South Park episode "Douche and Turd" have people who keep voting two major parties (even they are clearly broken in reality) as portrayed either Ax-Crazynote  or paranoiac/religiously political fantastic to one either major partynote  when come try getting apolitical voters like Stan to vote Douche or Turd for supposedly "Democracy".


People who don't vote for major parties

Characterized as stupid, naive or college students who only do it because they want to be different, and who often are considered to have wasted their vote, if not threw the election to the greater of two evils. Frequently overlaps with Communist, Green and Libertarian stereotypes.

Live Action TV


Moral Guardians

Let's face it, trying to get media censored, often for sometimes trivial reasons, won't ever endear anyone to you. Especially nowadays, when any media that succumbs under the pressure of them and changes its format is considered cowardly at best and criminal at worst.

Live Action TV

  • Marcia Langman from Parks and Recreation is an uptight and humorless Christian fundamentalist who gets riled up and offended by anything she deems improper. One particular instance comes in the episode "Time Capsule", where she calls Twilight anti-Christian because it uses the word "quivering" a few times (never mind the series' author is a Christian herself).

Western Animation


Conspiracy Theorists

If any of these people turn up, odds are good they'll be shown as Cloud Cuckoo Landers in tinfoil hats who believe absurd Urban Legends that anyone with a few facts and critical thinking skills can debunk in minutes. Considering that many prominent real-life conspiracy theorists are very easily disproved (for example, there are still some who follow the "birther movement" despite Barack Obama's genuine U.S. birth certificate being published long since) you can see why they come in for some ridicule. They do get a pass if it's a thriller a la The X-Files in which The Cloud Cuckoo Lander Was Right and there actually is a Government Conspiracy. Even then, though, they'll likely be depicted as rather loony and unhinged.

Live Action TV

Western Animation

  • Dale Gribble of King of the Hill is generally played up as an oblivious idiot and a borderline lunatic who's completely oblivious to the obvious fact that his wife's been cheating on him for over a decade.

Convicted criminals

The general attitude is "screw them, they gave up all right to be a part of society"...and in many cases it doesn't matter what they're in prison for.

Scarier still is what certain people state they would do to the worst criminals. People you would never believe capable of wishing such a fate on another human being. But still, it's mostly in words only... and one only has to talk about how horrible some of the absolute worst prisons in the world are in order to make people have pity with the criminals sent to jail and make them feel horrible for their own actions.

In the US, a sex offender (especially one who was convicted for child molestation) has few to no life prospects left after conviction (whether (s)he serves prison time or not). Many end up homeless and jobless with few opportunities. Those who express concern over these matters are often treated with suspicion and sometimes accused of being closet sympathizers. Worse, careless mass media can and has destroyed the prospects of people who were deemed innocent by the law via stocking Witch Hunts.

Film

  • In the climax of The Dark Knight, the occupants of two ferries evacuating from Gotham City are told by the Joker that their boats are packed with explosives. One boat is full of normal citizens and the other with prisoners. They're given a Sadistic Choice - one boat has to blow up the other boat by midnight or the Joker will blow them both up. The stance of most of the people on the non-prisoner barge is that they have more right to live because "those people made their choice, and they chose to break the law." No one on the barge points out that the barge also contains innocent guards and crew members. Ultimately, neither side goes along with the Joker's little game.


The Fox News Channel, or any news organization for that matter

Despite its slogan being "fair and balanced", its reporting on political events is often accused of leaning in favor of the Republicans and conservatives and it often gets hit hard with examples of the Strawman News Media, which is why it is frequently subject to the Ban on Politics. Other reasons, both concerning political coverage and otherwise, involve its rather sloppy journalistic practices, and quite a few people have noted that many of the stories presented are often seen as either facepalm-invoking or overly sappy. Of course in fairness news organizations in general are also subjected to this in that pretty much every news organization (and for that matter, every news journalist) has often have issues showing their biases and preferences when it comes to presenting the news. The sayings that "No News...is Good News" and "If it bleeds, it leads" pretty much sums it up.

Film

  • The film Network is all about satirizing these organizations.

Live-Action TV

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons mocked Fox News about their political leanings a few times which was so acrimonious that Fox nearly sued itself over it.
    • For example, Not racist, but #1 with racists.
    • We're unbalanced and it's unfair!
  • Family Guy had an entire episode mocking Fox News.

Other

  • Russia Today (RT) has been accused as a Russian propaganda machine, as it tends to air anti-western articles even that from conspiracy theorists. However, because it tends to report on arguably concerning issues in the West (the NDAA controversy comes to mind) that are often overlooked, it has a large following among those online and those in America that do not trust the government. The Iranian Press TV has a similar following among people with anti-American sentiments. Al-Jazeera is widely considered to be a propaganda machine for Islamists.
  • When the votes were coming out in the wake of the 2012 election, Megyn Kelly called out Karl Rove for engaging in "math Republicans use to make themselves feel better", as he was trying to spin the factors any way he could to say that Romney was on the verge of victory in Ohio.
  • Once Fox News co-founder Roger Ailes died, Speak Ill of the Dead seemed to be the rule - Rolling Stone even published an article named "Roger Ailes Was One of the Worst Americans Ever". That being said, most conservatives (and even several left-wingers like Al Sharpton) still came to his defense.

  • BBC News came in for torrents of flak, far more than usually so, during the December 2019 General Election. The BBC is expected to maintain a strict politically impartial position, particularly around election times. Its usual defence against criticism is to argue that if the political left is accusing it of favouring the right, whilst the political right accuses it of left bias, then it must be doing its job correctly. However, the Left have pointed out several occasions where the BBC's political editor made severe errors of judgement that could be perceived as favouring the right. note  Incredibly, she still has her job and has not been censured. It was also frequently noted how easy a ride far-right-wing nationalist politician Nigel Farage was getting from the BBC, with lots of sympathetic exposure and no hard questions; at the same time,an episode of a political satire show was pulled from TV because it featured an anti-Farage and pro-European politician. Whatever happened appears to have rebounded on the BBC: the doctrinaire right-wing government elected in December is now openly talking about removing funding for the BBC completely and effectively "privatising" the Corporation. If they were covertly appeasing the party thought most likely to become government, and which would then make decisions like, for instance, how much funding the BBC gets... well, the laugh's on them!

Anything political in general

You name it, you can always find a way/reason to hate/bash it.

Video Games

  • The Elder Scrolls: The Dunmeri (Dark Elf) Great House Telvanni, In-Universe. The In-Game Novel The Horror of Castle Xyr contains the following exchange between Clavides, an Imperial soldier, and Anara, a servant to a Telvanni nobleman.
    Anara: Please, serjo, go wherever you want. We got nothing to hide. We're loyal Imperial subjects.
    Clavides: As, I hear, are all Telvanni.
    (Note from the playwright: this line should be delivered without sarcasm. Trust the audience to laugh — it never fails, regardless of the politics of the locals.)

Web Comics

  • This Sluggy Freelance strip demonstrates that sometimes you don't even need to specify what political group you think is living excrement.


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