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In a recent article on washingtonpost.com, I came across the following passage (my emphasis):

On Friday […] an accusation that the New York Democrat [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] was employing her boyfriend as a member of her staff made its way around the Twitter pages of various conservative media magoos. Gleeful outrage ensued.

I've never encountered the word magoo before, and in the given context, it could mean anything, for example "pundit" if I want to go for a neutral reading, or e.g. "hypocrite" as a more loaded interpretation. The OED doesn't list the word, and a web search was also not very conclusive. I did come across the the cartoon character Mr. Magoo, but as I'm not familiar with that character, I don't know whether the present use is a reference to him.

So, what is the meaning of magoo?

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The most defining characteristic of Mr Magoo was his eyesight. He had terrible eyesight and kept mistaking one thing for another.

The writer in this case is suggesting that conservatives in the media can't see the world for what it really is.

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  • I respectfully disagree, although it does make sense about his eyesight. A Magoo is someone who has an outrageous flaw (like Magoo's bad vision) and knows it, knows it's also obvious to everyone else: nevertheless he continues to push his way and irritate everyone else with his boorish pushiness. He won't listen to anyone else, even when it's unanimously against him. The person referring to the other as a Magoo would also be subservient to the Magoo in some way so that they are compelled to suffer his impossible ways. – Denise Mar 20 at 16:54
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The word "Magoo" turns up in the lyric by Glen MacDonough for Victor Herbert's composition "Beatrice Barefacts," written for the 1903 stage production "Babes in Toyland": Oh, write to Beatrice Barefacts Whenever you are in doubt, Oh she will help you out, She’ll put your doubt to rout. The talented Miss Barefacts, She tells a thing or two In the Perfect Ladies column Of the Woman’s Home Magoo!

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A magoo is someone who is overly cheerful, excited and pretentious in an excruciatingly cringy manner. Check out the movie Liar Liar with Jim Carey. There's a definition on urban dictionary as well.

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  • Hi welcome to ELL! We expect answers to be detailed and substantiated. If there is an answer on another site, please quote it in your answer as opposed to simply giving a pointer. – Eddie Kal Aug 16 at 17:55
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In Oxford Learner's Dictionaries 'Mr. Magoo' is defined as

a character in a series of US cartoon films (1949-65). He is old and cannot see very well, so he talks to objects and walks into dangerous situations. A Walt Disney film, Mr Magoo (1997), used real actors, with Leslie Nielsen as Magoo.

According to Wikipedia

In 2002, TV Guide ranked Mr. Magoo number 29 on its "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time" list.

So he's a famous character.

He is an old and rich man. Old and rich?! Like the owners of conservative media?

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  • 5
    The reference to Mr Magoo is completely right, but the actual reference is to the lack of eyesight - in this case, metaphorical eyesight, the ability to see the world for what it is. – SamBC Mar 22 '19 at 19:56

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