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Pompous Political Pundit

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I could not dig, I dared not rob
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Rudyard Kipling, "A Dead Statesman"

A loudmouthed political talking head whose views tend toward radical right-wing (or, less commonly, left-wing) political positions often to the point of the Boorish style of 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 '80s and The '90s after a combination of the FCC scrapping the Fairness Doctrine, and the increasing popularity of cable television, which isn't beholden to FCC rules, led to 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. Many examples are explicit parodies of specific figures, like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Alex Jones. The Trope Maker was ABC's coverage of the 1968 US presidential elections, when ABC executives wanted a low-cost way to stand out from conventional election coverage — in this case, the hiring of political polar opposites Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. to take part in a series of debates. The relationship between Vidal and Buckley was covered in-depth in the documentary Best of Enemies.

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.


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    Comic Books 
  • 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.
    • Morgan Edge, also originating in Superman media, is about equally likely to be portrayed as this trope or a shady media executive.
  • Glorious Godfrey is this for The DCU as a whole. He works for Darkseid spreading propaganda that incites people to serve his purposes on Earth.
  • 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's population tells us what a Crapsack World it is.
  • Heavily used in Frank Miller's later work, such as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and especially The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
  • In Static, the A Nazi by Any Other Name supervillain Commando X started out as one of these. He was a Malcolm Xerox with a public access television show attacking "the Man" and blaming Greedy Jews for black people's struggles, but after his show got Screwed by the Network he descended into domestic terrorism.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Depending on the Writer, J. Jonah Jameson.
      • In most storylines, about 99% of Jameson's rants, editor's messages and TV shows are anti-Spider-Man 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. About the only super he actually likes (most of the time) is Jessica Jones, who rescued his adopted daughter when she went missing in Alias. Though to all his bluster, Jameson prides himself on being the last honest man in the news. When shown evidence of fake pictures of Spider-Man in one of the movies, his immediate concern is that he will have to print a retraction, and he hasn't done that in decades. Sure, he wants to ruin Spider-Man, but he isn't about to use information he knows is fake to do that.
      • To expand: that one story mentioned above has Tony Stark himself coming to Jameson and offering a massive amount of money with the explicit condition: "By the way, Spidey's an Avenger now, can I ask you to lay down the bile, if only a little?". Jameson took the money... and the day afterwards he ran a rant hating on all of the Avengers that essentially started as "You are not the boss of me." Take note that this was done a long time before Stark would have answered to that with him summoning a literal Army of Lawyers to sue for libel and potential breach of agreement, so the Avengers can only go "our arms are tied."
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Jameson initially backs a political campaign of a man who is tied to known mobster Wilson Fisk because the candidate is anti-Spider-Man. When the candidate loses it after one question in a softball interview (any answer other than threatening the reporter and destroying the recording device would have satisfied), Jameson pulls his support immediately.
  • 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 particular, the pro-Alliance pundit resorts to ad hominems against Mr. Universe (using his Robosexuality to paint him as a pervert) to discredit the message (Mr. Universe was already dead by the Alliance's hand when the message was sent; Mal just used his equipment).

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Spider-Man:
  • Right-wing talk show host Lewis Prothero in V for Vendetta, who staunchly supported the ruling regime, and called out its opponents with a lot of macho bluster.
  • The film Moon has a talk radio host who sounds a lot like Rush Limbaugh at the very end (after Sam returns to Earth in an ore hopper, and supposedly tells the world what happened to him up there), who ridicules Sam's story thusly:
    Radio Host: You know what, he's one of two things. He's a whacko or an illegal immigrant. Either way, they need to lock him up. Line two!
  • Howard Beale in Network is a more heroic example, though he's still pompous and quite possibly insane. His politics aren't explicitly left- or right-wing, instead being a broader "mad as hell" populism.
  • In A Face in the Crowd, Lonesome Rhodes is already well-established as a pompous TV entertainer when he decides to use his popularity to bolster a Senator's ailing political campaign.
  • Airplane!: "They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say let 'em crash."

  • 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.
  • In Rex Stout's 1949 Nero Wolfe mystery, The Second Confession, there's a rabidly anti-Communist radio commentator who Wolfe finds so repulsive that he makes firing him part of his fee.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Blue Bloods episode "Inside Jobs" features Curtis Swint, who is one of these with a side of anti-immigrant, borderline white supremacist rhetoric. When Swint announces that he's going to be doing a live show in a New York City theatre, Commissioner Frank Reagan must face the To Be Lawful or Good dilemma of ensuring Swint's constitutionally protected freedom of speech rights in spite of his own disdain for Swint's message, not to mention the absolute disgust of Mayor Carter Poole and Reverend Potter (both of whom are black). He ends up foiling Mayor Poole's attempt at Bothering by the Book to shut down the theater where the host is making a live broadcast (due to the discovery that the theatre's boiler is overdue for an inspection), then places Swint's police protection inside the theater and arranges for it to be comprised entirely of non-white officers led by a beefy black sergeant. The kicker? Said sergeant is from the same state as Swint.
  • 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 badgerings about said accused person being guilty was because she had a grudge with lawyer firm TNT&G (and Ron Trott especially) 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".
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had Martha Cobb, a haughty Blonde Republican Sex Kitten and Ann Coulter expy who's beaten and violated with a picket sign handle during a protest that devolved into a riot. At one point Benson reassures her that they'll find the man responsible (they don't) while going out of her way to tell her she "hates everything she stands for" with little provocation. After their prosecution attempt falls through, the episode ends with Cobb deciding to start hanging out at her rapist's place of work to spite him while he quietly seethes at her.
  • The New WKRP in Cincinnati: The radio station starts broadcasting Lash Rambo, and has to deal with the fallout of extreme broadcasting.
  • The Punisher (2017): Senator Stan Ori is a liberal stereotype whose desire for gun control is depicted as hypocritical (he hires Billy Russo's company ANVIL to protect him because he is a Dirty Coward, which every single other character lampshades, not to mention it's obvious he's all about the money and political power), naive (he pretty much preaches that everybody with access to a gun is a potential maniac), opportunistic (exploits the Lewis Wilson bombings to talk fire and brimstone and lead people to give him pity votes) and dangerous (he pisses off the aforementioned Wilson, who is a pretty resourceful Right-Wing Militia Fanatic — if not for Frank Castle literally jumping in and Taking the Bullet, Ori have been unceremoniously shot).
  • 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. The thing that prompts his rant? When he enters the room...she is LITERALLY the only person who does not stand to greet the President, showcasing a complete and utter disrespect for him personally and his office. So he proceeds to show her none as well.
  • 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).
    • Kennedy now participates in political discussions on Fox News.
  • Henry Winkler played one in the shortlived 90s Sitcom Monty, which was cancelled after five episodes.
  • Sliders has an Alternate Universe where America lost the Revolutionary War, and the Sheriff of San Francisco (who just happens to be an alternate version of one of our main characters, see picture above) becomes a colonial British version this trope.
  • The Babylon 5 season four finale "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" has a trio of them attacking John Sheridan's motives in creating the Interstellar Alliance, describing him as a megalomaniac who was mostly in it to glorify himself (which nonetheless had overall good results). They're completely upstaged by a surprise appearance by Delenn, who calls Sheridan a good man and gives them a nasty What the Hell, Hero?.
  • Homeland has as its season six antagonist Brett O'Keefe, an analog for Alex Jones and James O'Keefe.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sam the Eagle is sometimes portrayed as this in The Muppets productions, often interrupting the show to make a speech about the wholesome values that these weirdos totally fail to live up to. In the 2011 movie, he has a show on a FOX News parody station called Everything Stinks.

    Video Games 
  • Borderlands 2 features Hunter Hellquist of the "Hyperion Truth Network", whose "news" reports are nothing of the sort.
  • 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.
  • DmC: 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.
  • One of the radio stations in The Conduit stars Timothy Browning, a right-wing talk radio parody who blames everything on liberals.
    "Where are the Democrats on this matter? What have they done to make this country safe? What really needs to be done here is the Democrats allowing the GOP to take charge in this time of crisis so no more lives will be spent needlessly!"
  • Mafia III has Remy Duvall, the host of the talk radio show Native Son on WBYU, where he rails against the counterculture, the Civil Rights Movement, and all the other social changes of The '60s. He's also the leader of the Southern Union and an associate of Mafia boss Sal Marcano, using his radio show to promote legalizing gambling (Marcano's big plan is to open a casino) as an alternative to funding a football stadium. He has a full-fledged Villainous Breakdown on-air when Lincoln starts coming after his criminal racket.
  • Not for Broadcast has Alan James, an Alex Jones expy whose Establishing Character Moment is him promoting his book called "Alan James Is Always Right". To his credit, he's one of the first to speak out when the country begins to backslide into a People's Republic of Tyranny. Later on, he becomes the spokesman for La Résistance after a Jerkass Realization, but his efforts to do right by his countrymen lead to him becoming a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Road Kill has Stu Pickles, the host of PICK 96.3. In between celebrating murder and violence for their own sake and blaming the Democrats and the liberals for The Plague and the resulting apocalypse, he seems to have transitioned quite nicely into becoming a propaganda mouthpiece for the local warlord Axl, promoting his enslaving people as a "work-study program" that gives people direction in life.
  • Spider-Man (PS4) has J. Jonah Jameson running a podcast where he dedicates his time to attacking Spider-Man and blaming him for everything wrong in the city. Unlike other examples, he does occasionally make good points about things such as how certain things the city and police are doing would count as civil liberty violations or how supervillains need to be kept under tighter security while imprisoned and later on when the city goes to hell he stops the fearmongering and tries to help the New Yorkers. After Spider-Man saves the city in the end he does briefly praise him before returning to his regular schedule of harassing him in later broadcasts.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Beavis And Butthead has a Rush Limbaugh-type in Gus Baker, who invites the boys as guests on his talk show due to a misunderstanding (they called in thinking his disapproval of music videos was because the videos sucked, not a moral objection like Baker actually said). This bites him in the ass in a major way, as Beavis and Butthead end up alienating Baker's audience, gets his show cancelled after Beavis moons the camera and ruins his grass-roots presidential campaign.
  • Animaniacs (2020) has Tuck Buckerson, a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and Ben 10: Omniverse had Will Harangue, a Hate Sink anchorman who outright hates Ben and declares him a menace on television, besmirching his name on every turn and actually tried to kill him once. Later on, he becomes The Quisling for the Incurseans during their Alien Invasion of Earth simply because they defeated Ben which destroys his reputation.
  • Young Justice (2010) 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 shows 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 (2012), 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.
  • Justice League features "Glorious" Gordon Godfrey in the episode "Eclipsed", who accuses the League of exploiting their fame for personal gain. Mind, after the latest world-saving feat from the League, his popularity nosedives and he's bumped to a 4 AM timeslot, just after the farm report.
  • 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.
    • Recurring 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.
  • Cartman becomes this, modeled after Glenn Beck, in the South Park episode "Dances with Smurfs."

Alternative Title(s): Neocon Newscaster