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I think I read somewhere that "hidden agenda" has two parts. The part that's visible, and the agenda (which is hidden by the visible). Is there a term or word for the visible part of a hidden agenda?

  • The visible part that hides the 'hidden agenda' is called - 'the agenda'. Welcome to EL&U. – Nigel J Jan 20 '18 at 6:52
  • The visible part would be the 'published agenda' if there was a formal agenda, however many hidden agendas are completely concealed to the extent that the actions being taken or proposed don't even seem to be part of a plan. This doesn't mean that I believe in secret conspiracies, most people I've heard being accused of conspiracy couldn't conspire their way out of a paper bag! – BoldBen Jan 20 '18 at 11:16
  • Are you looking for "optics"? – Hot Licks Jan 20 '18 at 13:18
  • The "smokescreen". – Oldbag Jan 20 '18 at 14:25
5

The pretext.

pretext NOUN

a reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason.

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    Great answer, it would be improved with a citation for your definition (and beginning a line with a > will format that line as a yellow quote box) – Jim Jan 20 '18 at 17:04
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You could say someone had an agenda which consisted of both a hidden agenda and an overt agenda.

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The "visible part" that is hiding the hidden agenda is a front.

ODO:

front NOUN

3 [in singular] An appearance or form of behaviour assumed by a person to conceal their genuine feelings.

‘she put on a brave front’

‘Some people can put up a front and pretend to be someone they are not.’

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Cambridge Dictionaries defines ostensible as:

appearing or claiming to be one thing when it is really something else

In your case then there is the ostensible agenda and the hidden agenda.

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There isn't anything about hidden agenda that implies a visible part. But you might need to provide some explanation for actions taken in pursuit of said agenda on a case by case basis. In which case you need cover.

3
a : something that conceals or obscures under cover of darkness
b : a masking device : pretext The project was a cover for intelligence operations.

"Cover." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2018.

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