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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See you on the radio

Posted by James McPherson on February 14, 2011

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/182415_203629729653463_121277961221974_902465_7424672_n.jpg

I’ve written in the past about how much I value my regular discussions with a friend and colleague who happens to disagree with me (or me with him) on many things.

Now Mike and I are taking our “Civil Disagreement” (the name of our new program) to the air. Or at least the Internet air, via Whitworth.fm, the student radio station at the university where we both work.

Each Thursday at 3 p.m. (Pacific Time) Mike and I will chat for an hour about politics, media, or anything else that strikes us as interesting that week. He’s a former star debater and debate coach so I might have my work cut out for me, if the goal was simply to win arguments.

But even though both of us can be fairly competitive, unlike with much of what you hear on talk radio and cable news, our goal isn’t–and never has been, in more than a decade of arguing in hallways and over lunch–“to win” a debate. Our hope as both friends and academics is to simultaneously teach and learn–and now, to share how we do that.

Unlike what you might expect elsewhere, on this program sometimes the committed liberal and the avowed conservative will even agree on an issue. After all, most Americans do, too–which is why even as some of us complain about the impact of the likes of Fox News and MSNBC, more Americans both liberal and conservative actually tune in to phony “reality” programming than watch any news network.

And guess what–most people even on those cable debate shows probably don’t dislike one another as much as it might seem. I recently attended a taping of “The McLaughlin Group” and found both Pat Buchanan and John McLaughlin, like my friend Mike, to be warm, funny and friendly.

That shouldn’t be surprising, considering that Buchanan regularly ventures into the “enemy camp” on MSNBC. He and Eleanor Clift, the most liberal member of the panel, are obviously fond of one another.

For the record, I am no more a fan of Monica Crowley after meeting her than I was before. But considering my experience with Buchanan and McLaughlin, in the words of political philosopher Meat Loaf, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

And by the way, if you don’t understand the headline above, you can see its origin here.

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3 Responses to “See you on the radio”

  1. Luis Lopez said

    This sounds absolutely fantastic, Jim! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to listen to the show because I have work when your show is on… 😦

    Furthermore, I think the main problem with our political discourse today is the fact that two people who may be diametrically opposed politically cannot have a rational and sane conversation without it devolving into a shouting match.

    I’m glad that you and Mike can agree and disagree on some issues while remaining civil. I’m excited to see how the show goes!

  2. James McPherson said

    Thanks, Luis. We had our first show today and I think it went OK–though people listening actually thought we were too nice to each other. We’ll find a balance that we’re comfortable with, I’m sure.

    Glad you’re gainfully employed. 🙂 If you’re interested, I think the show will be re-run once or twice during the week (I’m not sure when) with podcasts posted. Thanks again.

  3. […] I later chickened out on my Romney prediction, and have wavered since then–stating on the radio and elsewhere that Romney had the best chance of beating Obama, but probably couldn’t win […]

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