The Demagogues

Posted on 7th March 2004 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior

“[P]olitics has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.”
–Henry Adams

A Demagogue is someone who attains influence or political power through inflaming people’s emotions. The methods Demagogues use are legion, from distorting the truth, selectively choosing what facts to portray, to outright lying. Demagogues pull you into their world, make you see only what they want you to see, and only the way they want you to see it.

Perception is reality. We only have data to define our world, and the Demagogue exploits this fact by overriding your data, your perceptions with their own. Demagogue’s don’t like being called this, they prefer the term “Pundit,” which implies a certain degree of legitimacy to their bias.

I have listed here some of the most influential of Demagogues. There are many more, but these examples from the Republicans and Democrats cover a fairly broad spectrum of tactics employed. It was very easy to group these into foils. : )

Democrat Republican
Michael Moore Rush Limbaugh
Maureen Dowd Anne coulter
Ted Rall Sean Hannity
FAIR Media Watch Dog
Al Franken Denis Miller

Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore

I could play with the Freudian implications that the two kings of disinformation are both obese, but that would be an ad hominem digression. Suffice to say that these two personality cults suck their audience into their world and keep them there, rewriting their worldviews with dishonest explanations of events.

Articles on Rush Limbaugh

Articles on Michael Moore

Anne Coulter and Maureen Dowd

A sad commentary on women in politics when the two most popular female pundits are so obsessively puerile in their vitriol:

Articles on Anne Coulter

Articles on Maureen Dowd

Sean Hannity and Ted Rall

These two commentators are most famous for their ability to demonize the opposition through reductionism, fear-mongering, and conspiracy theory.

Articles on Sean Hannity

Articles on Ted Rall


Here are two political activist groups disguised as “research centers”, but are actually spin factories, publishing biased media analysis to support their ideologies.

When media watchdogs like FAIR and MRC complain about bias, they often only reveal their own.

Dennis Miller and Al Franken

These two hide behind the duel roles of “Commentator” and “Entertainer”. When they say something too outrageous they can hide behind their “Entertainer” role and state that they are not to be taken seriously. Once the danger has passed, they revert to their “Commentator” role and continue to feed their audience falsehoods… until they go too far again. Alternating roles they avoid any responsibility to civil discourse.

All of these pundits are trying to bring you into their worldview, fill you with rage, and send you out a raving extremist. Xenophobic enclaves of like-minded thinkers don’t evolve into anything but better Xenophobes, developing better rationalizations to convince only themselves of the superiority of their beliefs. If you listen to any of these Demagogues, try listening to their foil sometime. Try to see how the tactics your enemy uses to influence their choir relate to the tactics your “pundit” uses to reaffirm your beliefs.

We must challenge our beliefs in order to strengthen them. The mind is like a muscle, it must be worked. Engaging in fair, open-minded disputation with those we disagree with will help us to work our bad ideas out of our Cognitive Schemas and reinforce our good ideas with stronger arguments.

Don’t let the Demagogues override your reality. Define it on your own.

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