James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Archive for November 10th, 2008

Nothin’ but ‘Net’: Obama, the Web and the White House

Posted by James McPherson on November 10, 2008

Barack Obama won the presidency in part because his campaign used the Internet so well to raise money and connect with supporters. As a senator, he sponsored the law that meant any of us could see online where many of our federal tax dollars are being spent.

Now Obama is taking the presidential transition to the Web, with a new Internet site. A lot of talking heads have been discussing how this presidency could be a tranformational one in the same way that Ronald Reagan’s was, because of its effect on the youth vote. Young people who voted for Reagan tended to continue voting Republican. Democrats obviously hope that young Obama voters will stay with their party.

So far, Obama is doing the right things to keep those voters. How he performs after moving into the White House, of course, will matter most. For my part, after seven years of Bush/Cheney secrecy, I am encouraged by glimmers that Obama favors more openness in public policy. But I also know that Obama ran a tightly controlled campaign, and presidents tend to be bigger fans of secrecy when it’s their own secrets they’re keeping under wraps.

Posted in History, Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Off to Moscow (Idaho, of course)–come say hello

Posted by James McPherson on November 10, 2008

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll guest lecture at the University of Idaho, from which my wife, daughter, father, brother, sister, sister-in-law and son-in-law all have degrees. Yes, we’re an overeducated family, especially considering our history–though I didn’t attend UI, my brother and I both have doctorates, and my wife, father, sister and sister-in-law each have at least one master’s degree.

After the lecture from 5:30 to 7 p.m. I’ll read and sign books at BookPeople of Moscow, one of my favorite bookstores (along with Powell’s in Portland, Auntie’s in Spokane, and the Elliot Bay Book Co. in Seattle). Of course I’m also fond of the Borders Books in North Spokane, which invited me to do my first reading and treated me very well.

Posted in Education, Personal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »