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 December, 2010

“Gay apparel’ to soon include military uniforms; Senate deep-sixes ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Posted by James McPherson on December 18, 2010

In a 63-33 procedural vote, the U.S. Senate has effectively killed the ridiculous Clinton-era law regarding homosexual service in the military. The vote gives President Barack Obama his second big win in a week–and produces another high-profile loss for the increasingly irrelevant John McCain.

Though a formal vote  on the bill itself (which has passed the House and will require only 51 Senate votes to go to the president) is still to come this afternoon and the changes will take some time to implement, the United States is on the verge of joining the rest of the “civilized” world in allowing openly gay soldiers to serve their country and to be killed in stupid wars.

For the record, here are other countries that allow homosexuals to serve in the military: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

Merry Christmas to the gay community and to all those who care about fairness.

Same day update: As expected, the Senate passed the bill. Two more Republicans joined the side of fairness, making the final count 65-31.

Posted in History, Legal issues, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Columbia faculty support WikiLeaks, free press

Posted by James McPherson on December 15, 2010

The journalism faculty at one of the top j-schools in the country are urging the Justice Department not to prosecute WikiLeaks, noting that, “As a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. But perhaps New York Times columnist David Carr could (of course, he gets paid more for his media analysis of media than I do): This week he offers a cogent consideration of the evolution of WikiLeaks.

Posted in History, Journalism, Legal issues, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »