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 February 15th, 2009

Plane truths about power

Posted by James McPherson on February 15, 2009

One of the best perks of being president is that you get your own plane, and no one criticizes you for flying in Air Force One even after if you don’t do your job very well. Barack Obama may own a hybrid, but he won’t hitting the road in it for at least the next four years–another presidential perk is the cool ground transportation.

For the rest of us, flying has become more and more of an ideal. Sure, Southwest Airlines may have chipper flight attendents, and airlines may be producing custom-painted planes designed to appeal to sports fans–including the latest from Southwest, featuring Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Bar Rafaeli, a plane (pictured below) which seems designed to insult both conservatives and feminists while demonstrating yet again what constitutes “power” for American women.

Regardless of what’s on the outside of the plane, the fact remains that passengers inside are still treated like cattle as they put their faith in unknown pilots and the elements every time they take to the air. Still, admittedly, flying is safer than driving (and when gas was up to four bucks a gallon, it was also cheaper).

Trains are safer yet; maybe that’s why Obama took one to his Inauguration. I think one of the best things about the stimulus bill that he will sign tomorrow is the funds it devotes to mass transit. But having traveled across most of the country by train last summer, I hope Amtrak uses some of its funds to hire a few chipper Southwest employees.


Posted in Journalism, Media literacy, Politics, Women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »