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I listen to one radio talk show where the host is firmly and strongly on one side of the political aisle, and whenever somebody of the opposite political persuasion calls he always readily ridicules and mocks that listener even when he says reasonable and logical things. But when somebody who happens to lean politically on the same side calls, the host is much more tolerant, and only the blatant idiocy on the part of the listener would elicit the negative undertones from the host.

What is the best word to describe such attitude? One word I have is biased, but biased describes such twisting of logic only to much slighter degree in my mind. Another word is propagandist, but it doesn't have the logic implication, I think. Pushy, aggressive, assertive, militant, brash, bullyish would be other general terms but they only describe this situation in general terms.

Did I exhaust the semantic space for this case, or there are as-yet-undiscovered corners left? Anything to add to biased propagandist?

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    How about Rush Limbaugh? Feb 21, 2016 at 1:34
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    Going full Limbaugh - is a good one -) Feb 21, 2016 at 1:53
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    Your tags have been changed. Please read the description of the S-W-R tag, as you now need to include an example sentence.
    – Mazura
    Feb 21, 2016 at 3:40
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    How about a sophist? Don Feb 21, 2016 at 3:57
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    There probably isn't a single word for this, because the failures in reasoning you have pointed out are called logical fallacies. Politicians in general use this as a tool to persuade people through false logic to agree with them. You can find numerous resources on the internet that cover this topic. Here are a couple: logicalfallacies.info yourlogicalfallacyis.com
    – Tim Ward
    Feb 21, 2016 at 4:45

7 Answers 7

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Panderer, as defined by vocabulary.com

A panderer is someone who tries to please others, not to help them but for an ulterior motive. A panderer kisses up to get something. A panderer is sometimes vulgar..... Pandering is dishonest because the panderer says what they think others want to hear, not what they really believe....

a person who serves or caters to the vulgar passions or plans of others (especially in order to make money)

Who knows what the talk show hosts you describe really believe? They pander to the passions of their devoted audience, and are paid well to do so. The hapless person who does not agree with them, and is foolish enough to call in, is insulted for the enjoyment of panderer's fans.

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Since Plato, often a 'Sophist' (sophism) meant someone trying to persuade another whether or not the sophist believed in what he/she was arguing for or against. A philosopher sought how to discover truth through dialectic while a sophist taught how to win an argument. However, the word you might be searching for is 'demagogue', which usually refers to someone who is biased usually in regard to some political party and who appeals to emotion rather than logic but also one whose argument is masked as logic.

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We have the adjective : partisan in the negative sense of the word.

During the War of Spain & WWII, "partisan" was positive it meant resistance ; so positive that Germans rather use the negative word "terrorists". It was exactly the same during the American War of Independence, with the Red coats : the English our enemies we called "lobsters".

But before the term was so connoted, partisan describes an excessively devoted adherent or blind supporter of a person, group, party, faction, cause, etc. especially a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance. This is the first sense I suggested. This term finds its origins in the medieval Italy, realm of the city ​​State.

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  • Hi, Dave, This answer was flagged as low-quality because of its length and content. Can you try to include reference or link (that can support your answer) and its essential part? Please don't leave such a short answer.
    – user140086
    Feb 21, 2016 at 15:26
  • OK I'll try by editing my post.
    – DAVE
    Feb 21, 2016 at 18:11
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While attempting to google political commentator, this was the first hit:

A pundit (sometimes also called a talking head) is a person who offers to mass media their opinion or commentary on a particular subject area (most typically political analysis, the social sciences, technology or sport) on which they are knowledgeable (or can at least appear to be knowledgeable), or considered a scholar in said area. The term has been increasingly applied to popular media personalities. In certain cases, it may be used in a derogatory manner as well, as the political equivalent of ideologue. –Wiki

I'll take this opportunity to say that all the other answers here are WRONG! (SNL, The McLaughlin Group)

punditry, noun –TFD

A source of opinion; a critic: a political pundit.
the expressing of expert opinions

punditic, adjective –TFD

of or relating to pundits


We'll be right back with more impulsive poll figures, more pundits punditing, more of David Gergen's somber analysis, more of my strong two-handed gesturing and interactive map skills, and more amazing insight from our swing state focus group.wordnik.com/words/punditing

In an attempt to remain impartial, I'd have to say that attitude is correct because this is show business. But IMO, the name for the entire concept is a farce.

farce, noun

a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations. –Google
an empty or patently ridiculous act, proceeding, or situation: the trial became a farceMW

I thought the new host was going to be great but it turns out that their show is a farce just like the rest of them.

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I think the word you are looking for is “demagogue.”

Demagoguing is when your political speech is designed to appeal to emotional desires rather than rational thought. Facts are not important because facts are rational. There is extreme bias because you are not engaging in debate, you are only looking to get people to follow you.

Dictionary definitions may say demagogues are “political leaders” and sometimes people think that means only a President or someone running for office can be a demagogue. But the host of a political talk show or anyone with a Twitter account who comments on politics is a political leader.

Common demagoguing techniques: scapegoating, mischaracterizations, name-calling, faux outrage.

Propagandists can certainly engage in demagoguery.

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Whether or not Rush is responsible for coining “drive-by media,” he certainly uses the term a lot to describe and attack so-called “agenda-driven” media outlets and their news.

The only real difference I see, however, between what Rush calls “drive-by media” and his own entertainment empire and its “news” is the agenda behind and driving it.
Therefore, I think you could explore using “agenda-driven” alone as an adjective to get you beyond the “just-enough-to-get-beyond-neutral” problem that “biased” could convey:

That host’s treatment of his callers is clearly agenda-driven.

As part of a two-word noun phrase, you could add it to any of the good nouns given so far in answers and/or comments, although some of them might be redundant and not need or go well with “agenda-driven.”

My late entries for a two-word phrase would include:

An agenda-driven tactician [using “agenda-driven tactics"].
(an example of “…tactician” found in ‘A Four Way Foray for Four Winds’ by W. H. Matlock Iii, via Google Books)

Or

An agenda-driven manipulator [engaging in “agenda-based diatribe"].
(example of “…manipulator" found in ‘The Early Morning of War: Bull Run, 1861’ by Edward G. Longacre, via Google Books)

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The host is simply intolerant which means:

Not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own: 'People with these ideals are so ‘liberal’ that they come full circle to conservatism, completely intolerant of people with differing ideals.'

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

Those partisan, biased and prejudiced could be either tolerant or intolerant of other parties' views or opinions. But the host of the talk show is intolerant of them. That's why "he always readily ridicules and mocks that listener even when he says reasonable and logical things".

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