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Concept.png "Apologist" 
A pejorative word for a person who a person who supports or sees nuances of a particular political or social belief.

An "apologist" is a pejorative term for a person who sees nuances in how to analyze a belief or political system.[1] It is especially a propaganda label used against someone who does not support the most militarist solution against a foreign country, and even speaks or writes in defense of it. See also "denier".

  • If the "apologist" supports or sees nuances in something that is unpopular with the rulers, he or she risks cancelling and other forms of persecution.
  • On the other hand, defending an establishment policy with all sort of bad excuses risks no negative consequences.[2]

Use in corporate media

Christopher Hitchens accused Ramsey Clark and Cindy Sheehan of being apologists, and thus disloyal:

But now, the anti-warriors do have a permanent representative in Baghdad, in the form of an apologist for the past crimes and aggressions of a man who makes his hero, Mussolini, seem like an amateur. I wonder: What will Cindy and the other humanitarians say this time? Or are they not “antiwar” at all, but simply pro-war and on the other side?[3]

In 2001, a few months before the invasion, British Junior Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain "fired back at opponents of its hawkish policy on Iraq, dismissing critics as apologists for President Saddam Hussein's brutal rule". "The Hans von Sponecks of this world and many others...put themselves in the position of becoming effective fellow travellers and apologists for the maintenance of the Iraqi regime's brutal rule under Saddam Hussein," Hain said.[4]

The deep state Atlantic Council as the their CIA proxy war against Syria bogged down, fumed on how {{QB|Worse still, some journalists have doubled as Assad’s apologists: They - Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn, and a crop of clones blessed with all of their impulses and none of their talents - have deliberately diluted the regime's responsibility for Syria’s catastrophe.[5]}


Professor Stephen F. Cohen wrote how:

I have been repeatedly assailed—no less in purportedly "liberal" publications—as Putin's No. 1 American "apologist," "useful idiot," "dupe," "best friend" and, perhaps a new low in immature invective, "toady." I expected to be criticized, as I was during nearly twenty years as a CBS News commentator, but not in such personal and scurrilous ways. (Something has changed in our political culture, perhaps related to the Internet.) None of these character assassins present any factual refutations of anything I have written or said. They indulge only in ad hominem slurs based on distortions and on the general premise that any American who seeks to understand Moscow's perspectives is a "Putin apologist" and thus unpatriotic. Such a premise only abets the possibility of war...Equally important, however, these kinds of neo-McCarthyites are trying to stifle democratic debate by stigmatizing us in ways that make us unwelcome on mainstream broadcasts and op-ed pages, and to policy-makers.[6]


Appeasement is a variation of the theme, where anyone supporting any other option than military force is portrayed as an apologist. The term utilizes a shallow understanding of the events leading up to World War 2.

Thus, neoconservatives downplay diplomacy and compromise and routinely charge anyone who endorses it with advocating "appeasement." To the neocons, every adversary is another Adolf Hitler and it is always 1938.[7]

In 2020, the Australian think-tank China Matters complained that "Australian business leaders are afraid to wade into public debate about China because of a toxic climate in which advocates of close economic ties may be labelled as apologists or appeasers." Chief executive Michael Clifton said "few business leaders were willing to make the case for balancing security interests with commercial interests for fear of being labelled an apologist for the Chinese government, with some critics being "quick to conflate calls for engagement with acts of appeasement".

Fellow traveller

A fellow traveler is a person who is intellectually sympathetic to the ideology of a political organization, and who co-operates in the organization's politics, without being a formal member. In the post–World War II era, "fellow traveler" became a term of derision, applied by conservatives to people who did not outright condemn Communism. Albert Einstein, for example, was called a "dupe and a fellow traveler" by Time magazine in 1949 for his outspoken belief in socialism.[8]

Useful idiot

An useful idiot is a person perceived as propagandizing for a cause without fully comprehending the cause's goals, and who is cynically being used by the cause's leaders. The term was often used during the Cold War to describe non-communists regarded as susceptible to communist propaganda and psychological manipulation.

A number of authors attribute this phrase to Vladimir Lenin, but this attribution is not supported by any evidence.[9]


In Germany, the label Versteher ('someone who is understanding') is used in a similar pejorative way, as an apologist. Gabriele Krone-Schmalz wrote how

Because there are no more debates in the leading media and everything that only smells of understanding with Russia is being ironed away. The "new Ostpolitik" at the beginning of the 70s was also defamed as a betrayal of the Fatherland and its representatives were branded as a Fifth Column. Today, this is done with terms such as "understander of Russia", "understander of Putin" and "conspiracy theorist". Leading media have taken over the sovereignty of interpretation and anyone who wants to appear there must howl with the wolves. What is missing today is a powerful peace movement that formulates a simple, clear demand as unideologically as possible and not entangled in trench warfare: we are fed up with saber rattling, no matter on which side, we want to read, hear and see about detente policy and similar ideas it everywhere, so that we can tackle it.[10]

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