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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Joe the Author: Writing worth flushing

Posted by James McPherson on December 7, 2008

Timothy Egan can write. I wish I had time to read everything he has written. Someday, perhaps, though there are a lot of other fine writers whose work I haven’t read enough of, either.

“Joe the Plumber,” on the other hand, is an “author” whose work I hope never to read. In fact, this worthwhile New York Times piece by Egan is the last thing I’d like to ever read about Joe.

December 20 update: Joe’s book is out. Naturally Fox News made it the lead story of the day.

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4 Responses to “Joe the Author: Writing worth flushing”

  1. The idea that someone who stumbled into a sound bite can be published, and charge $24.95 for said words, makes so many real writers think the world is unfair.

    I think this every time folks like Jerome Bettis, Ric Flair, Bill O’Reilly, Shaq, Ted Turner, Denis Leary, you name it, get books deals. Writers, you say? Dictators to an audio recorder, maybe, but not writers. It’s a shameful business these days. But, of course, if Faulker or Hemingway turned up in the publisher’s office today seeking their first deals, I would imagine they’d get laughed out the door.

  2. Correction: Hmm. That first sentence was supposed to be a block quote. The html apparently didn’t work.

  3. Gabrielle said

    Great article about the state of literature these days *is snobby English major who works in a library*

    You might be amused to know that I had a dream last night about some wacky political happening, and my first thought was, “I have to get over to the Media and Politics blog and see what James says about this!!” Haha.

  4. James McPherson said

    Gee, Gabrielle, what kind of sleep medication are you on? Maybe I can persuade more people to take it! Thank for reading, and thanks to both of you for the comments.

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