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, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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Poll puts Obama lower than Oslo’s temperature

Posted by James McPherson on December 9, 2009

Though often I wish that CNN would avoid editorializing and the sort of programming that I most disdain about Fox News and MSNBC (the departure of Lou Dobbs was a good step; if Nancy Grace and perhaps Jack Cafferty would follow Dobbs out the door I’d be even happier), I admit that I still appreciated the irony of this CNN lead today: “President Obama–fighting wars in two countries–will arrive in Norway on Thursday to accept the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.”

The story also reminds us, “Nominations for the prize had to be postmarked by February 1, only 12 days after Obama took office. The committee sent out its solicitation for nominations last September, two months before Obama was elected president.” After last week, and especially since the number of Americans who think Obama deserves the prize has dropped below 20 percent, I wonder if the Nobel Committee would like a recount.

By the way, the expected low temperature for tomorrow in Oslo, where Obama will pick up the prize, is 26 degrees. The expected high is 32 degrees (right at freezing, though not as chilly as the reception he might get from former supporters when he campaigns for re-election). Come to think of it, many Americans may be thinking of traveling to Norway to warm up.

On the other hand, another 35 percent of those surveyed think it likely that Obama will eventually do enough to deserve the prize. Based on that thinking, with this semester nearing an end, perhaps I should assign final grades based on what I think students will someday achieve. But I can’t, since I keep telling them that actual performance matters and that actions have consequences.

Obama and the Democrats who let us think that poor Americans wouldn’t have to risk getting shot in Afghanistan to get a job or decent health care may find out in 2010 and 2012 just how much their actions matter.

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2 Responses to “Poll puts Obama lower than Oslo’s temperature”

  1. Luis Lopez said

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Jim, but doesn’t Jack Cafferty serve as a commentator on CNN? I know that Cafferty was a news reporter before he joined CNN, but his role on the network has changed over time where he now fits into providing commentary about stories that appear in the news each day. Considering how he doesn’t necessarily classify himself as a reporter, I don’t necessarily see a problem with his current role.

    Moreover, about Nancy Grace. Technically, she isn’t on CNN. Granted, she is on a network spun-off from CNN (HLN), but the channel itself is something of a pop-culture oriented channel (Joy Behar has a talk show that follows Grace’s). A long time ago, HLN did devote its airtime to airing news, but not so much now. I don’t particularly care for Nancy Grace, but I think it’s important to note that her show does not air on CNN proper.

  2. James McPherson said

    Yes, Cafferty is a commentator, and I have mixed emotions about him (that’s why a put him as “maybe”). I like what he has to say, but I think Cable news has too many opinionated talking heads, and CNN is the best hope for news without serious spin. But that hope is negated regularly when a news piece is followed by Cafferty immediately telling us how we ought to feel about it.

    You’re right about Grace, too, and the degeneration of what was formerly Headline News. But the difference is that Grace, while no having a show on CNN, still is regularly featured on the CNN Web site (as Behar is right now, sandwiched between Campbell Brown and Anderson Cooper–CNN seemingly wants to claim Grace (and Behar–I’d forgotten about her, and have never watched her show) when it suits the network and to distance her when it doesn’t. Thanks, Luis.

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