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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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Catching up: A brief social media summary

Posted by James McPherson on June 10, 2015

A couple of nice comments on my most recent post made me realize that it had been more than three months since I’d written anything for this blog. Twitter, Facebook, my classes and one letter to the editor about Baltimore protests have been my only outlets for commentary during that time.

I can’t recapture here what happened in classes, but thought it might be worth sharing a few highlights of what I’ve posted on social media. I’ll exclude my regular ranting about the ineptitude of the Seattle Mariners, and there’s no way to include my hundreds of witty or snarky or reflective comments; after all, I’ve posted more than 1,300 tweets since February. For those comments, you’ll need to friend me on Facebook and check out my Twitter feed.

Topics, in no particular order, have included:

The idiocy of John Thune complaining that a Supreme Court decision against the Affordable Care Act (a decision scheduled for this week or next) could cost 6 million people their health care subsidies, which helps show “why Obamacare is bad for the American people.” Of course, the subsidies would not exist without Obamacare, and are at risk now only because of a Republican lawsuit, King v. Burwell. And even Ted Cruz has signed up for Obamacare.

Related to health care, as many of us already knew, Americans pay more for worse care than some people elsewhere.

Evidence that American politics have shifted far to the right, even as the American people have not. The good news about that is that it makes it more difficult for Republicans to ever again win the presidency.

The unprecedented secrecy of the Obama administration (also here).

Evidence that the economy performs far better under Democrats than Republicans.

“Altruism pornography” via “The Briefcase“: Just because reality television and privileged Americans’  disdain for the poor haven’t quite hit bottom in a country that is become increasingly divided economically.

Doubts that allegations regarding the Clinton Foundation will amount to anything, though I also have concerns about the foundation and its donors.

Problems with journalism in regard to dying newspapers, how Facebook filters news, and Fox News viewers being LESS informed than people who watch no news.

Lies or hypocrisy by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, in a fundraising email; Jeb Bush in talking about his brother’s rationale for the Iraq War; Ted Cruz over federal aid; Mike Huckabee over military service; Carly Fiorina about Chinese ingenuity; the State of Tennessee over a law making the Bible its official book; Idaho legislators worried about Sharia Law; the NRA restricting guns at its national convention; Cruz again about a variety of topics; Fox News over Benghazi.

In education, separating Wheaton (College) from the chaff (Dennis Hester), an arrogant professor, and the largely mythical idea that political correctness is scaring teachers. Plus God helping Ben Carson cheat in a chemistry class.

Craziness involving guns in Idaho, TexasHollywood (Vince Vaughn), an NRA seminar and the NRA’s national convention.

Race issues on Twitter and elsewhere on the World Wide Web, and new “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah.

The “American tradition” of rioting, the deadliest hate crime in U.S. history, LGBT equality and Republicans who favor it.

An old negative review of L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics, along with the insanity of Paula Geller, who compared herself to Rosa Parks, and of a Playboy-posing veteran who wants to “protect” the American flag.

The stupidity of war as tied to patriotism and the end of the world by the end of this year.

Why Americans should slow down and take it easier. Huh; maybe that’s why I haven’t posted for so long until now.

So there’s a small sample of what I’ve been thinking and writing about. But I’ll try to make better use of the blog as the political season heats up.

 

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19 Responses to “Catching up: A brief social media summary”

  1. Carolyn said

    And then there’s these McCarthy wannabe’s.

    http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=35a6cedd-2d8d-45ee-ae1b-e1ab2b16b507&c=ec251010-b9e8-11e3-bc22-d4ae52a4597c&ch=ed156380-b9e8-11e3-bc69-d4ae52a4597c

    I shouldn’t read your blog… I get too worked up.

  2. jm said

    Carolyn, I am delighted that you were engaged by Jim McPherson’s commentary, and that he will be commenting more frequently.
    He is a great writer and blogger. His observations and insights stimulate thinking, and go a long way in helping progressive writers and bloggers to keep current with the issues, and to confront and respond thoughtfully to coverage in conservative media.
    We don’t have a $900M pot of money like the Koch Brothers to fund our media, and to get our views heard.
    So to the extent we can influence thinking about policy and politics through blogging, and commentary in digital media and social media, and can make a difference in elections, we need the good Professor to keep blogging.

  3. jm said

    Dear Professor:

    “Catching Up” is an understatement! Glad you’re back in the game.

    Your post is excellent. I’ll make a few comments in this reply.

    Your “letter to the editor about Baltimore protests” pinpoints the conservative media war on those who criticize and protest police tactics. Cops, police union bosses and right wing conservative pundits and commentators “[rely] on Fox News and talk radio for [their] information,” and for the talking points fueling their attacks. But, as you have aptly demonstrated, the attacks can be addressed with responsive and thoughtful commentary.

    Those conservative media outlets also are channeled by GOP politicians. As you stated with respect to one such politician:

    The idiocy of John Thune complaining that a Supreme Court decision against the Affordable Care Act
    (a decision scheduled for this week or next) could cost 6 million people their health care subsidies,
    which helps show “why Obamacare is bad for the American people.” Of course, the subsidies would not
    exist without Obamacare, and are at risk now only because of a Republican lawsuit, King v. Burwell.
    And even Ted Cruz has signed up for Obamacare.

    Thune talks like he is auditioning for a Fox News segment instead speaking with the stature of a thoughtful policy maker who is serving in the Congress as a U. S. Senator.

    It is the case, as you have stated, that “American politics have shifted far to the right, even as the American people have not. The good news about that is that it makes it more difficult for Republicans to ever again win the presidency.” A similar view has been expressed by Larry Sabato in POLITICO. Link: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/myths-2016-election-candidates-118795.html?hp=lc3_4#.VXjbJGcw_IU

    The “secrecy of the Obama administration” as well as its embargo on making FOIA disclosures are, as you have noted, unprecedented. That certainly is not the level of transparency which was promised by and expected from the Administration. The policies have diminished a lot of the goodwill the Administration had with the media prior to the 2012 Election.

    “Evidence that the economy performs far better under Democrats than Republicans” is a salient comment. It is a compelling fact which Democrats have been unable to communicate well, and to use as a basis to drive a progressive political agenda which could transcend political parties and influence voters. Amazing!

    Pew Research has confirmed your observation concerning the “problems with journalism in regard to dying newspapers, how Facebook filters news, and Fox News viewers being LESS informed than people who watch no news.” Those points are indicative of the trends, and signal the challenges for quality journalism and commentary in the media and politics space. It will be interesting to see all those who emerge as the influential journalists, commentators and pundits in the 2016 election.

    Generally, most of your other points are, as expected, well stated and thought provoking. They clearly demonstrate the destructive influence and divisiveness of coverage in conservative media and on Fox News. They explain why Bruce Bartlett and other conservatives have launched an attack on Fox News. Bruce Bartlett, “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.” LINK: at this site of the Social Science Research Network. Progressives, however, still need to be vigilant, and to hit back.

    My friend, if this is “a small sample of what [you’ve] been thinking and writing about,” over the last several months, I don’t want to think about what you could produce with more free time on your hands!

    Great post!

    I look forward to hearing from you soon!

  4. Thanks again, JM. “Thune talks like he is auditioning for a Fox News segment instead speaking with the stature of a thoughtful policy maker ” is a great line. I look forward to seeing your blog.

  5. good summary.

  6. Thanks, gqrbrielle.

  7. gqbrielle said

    oh wordpress, you are silly. put my username as itself and then half of itself on the original comment 😛 oh well

  8. 🙂

  9. wmgates68 said

    McKinney pool cop: Good job or excessive force?

  10. jm said

    Dear Professor:

    Thanks for the compliment on the line about Thune.

    FYI, here are three interesting follow-up articles on Thune and his ACA tweet:

    John Thune’s just the beginning: GOP will blame Obama if SCOTUS guts health reform — and it’ll probably work, http://www.salon.com/2015/06/09/john_thunes_just_the_beginning_gop_will_blame_obama_if_scotus_guts_health_reform_and_itll_probably_work/

    GOP Sen. John Thune shows America that he is a moron using this one weird and dumb tweet,
    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/gop-sen-john-thune-shows-america-that-he-is-a-moron-using-this-one-weird-and-dumb-tweet/

    Senator Unveils New Obamacare Attack, Immediately Becomes A Laughingstock, http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/06/08/3667306/senator-unveils-new-obamacare-attack-immediately-becomes-laughingstock/

    The coverage on the Supreme Court decision and Thune’s tweet is bound to be interesting.

    BTW, I read the Twitter exchanges on Rachel Dolezal. Hot topic for sure!

  11. jm said

    Dear Professor:

    Thanks for the compliment on the line about Thune:

    FYI, here are three interesting articles about Thune’s tweet:

    John Thune’s just the beginning: GOP will blame Obama if SCOTUS guts health reform — and it’ll probably work, http://www.salon.com/2015/06/09/john_thunes_just_the_beginning_gop_will_blame_obama_if_scotus_guts_health_reform_and_itll_probably_work/

    GOP Sen. John Thune shows America that he is a moron using this one weird and dumb tweet, http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/gop-sen-john-thune-shows-america-that-he-is-a-moron-using-this-one-weird-and-dumb-tweet/

    Senator Unveils New Obamacare Attack, Immediately Becomes A Laughingstock, http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/06/08/3667306/senator-unveils-new-obamacare-attack-immediately-becomes-laughingstock/

    The coverage on the Supreme Court decision and Thune’s tweet is bound to be interesting.

  12. jm said

    Professor:

    I enjoy your Twitter feed.

    Your post on Trump and reference to @TheFix led to an informative article on news consumption through digital media, and how the rise of news consumption on social media has affected the model for advertising placement and ad revenues which, of course, beyond content is the holy grail for legacy media.

    Your posts about various aspects of new media have been instructive, so hopefully at some point you can post your insights on the topic with respect to political media in this election cycle.

    I also noted your post about the Bush logo and followed the references to the digital media commentary about it. No doubt that logos are important for image a presidential campaign. The commentary was informative.

    Other Twitter posts also were interesting.

    Sorry about the double posting of my June 14th reply. As luck would have it, my computer crashed when I clicked to publish it the first time, so when the page was restored, I clicked to publish it again.

    Keep tweeting!

  13. Reuel said

    JM Just noticed the Comment on the 900 Million from the Koch Brothers. Don’t get me wrong but as I recall in the last 8 years at least the Democrats have had more money for the media than the Republicans. The problem is the amount of money spent on politics (ALL); Progressive/Conservative/Liberal/Tea Party issues fought for by these two political MAIN parties are wedge issue and are used by the “Party” to ramp up voters interest, contributions ETC during voting season. (Which seems to always be that season these days.) My thought on this is that they really don’t want to resolve these “Issues”, well because then they would have to talk about the real problems like deficient/debt/lack of accountability of where all this money is being spent. The court system should be taking care of some issues and let the elected official get back to the job they are hired for. So you understand better my beliefs here is my thoughts; LGBT, Let them marry. Religion; Everyone should be able to worship in their own way. Immigration/Illegals; Someone has to sort this out by, yes if they are coming here to be a active member of the country and have a job. Fine, but our current amount of people struggling that are legally here need to be helped first. We can not police the world or save everyone suffering person in countries poorly managed. 7 Plus Billion people in this world. I wish we could but 320,000 million is what percentage of 7.5 Billion. To be honest I am unsure of what Progressive issues are. We are borrowing from our children’s future at a rate of increase that has gotten worse not better constantly from the first day they borrowed that first dollar to up to today. As I recall President Obama is Progressive and he had two years of full democratic control of congress. They did not even pass any of the wedge issues they promised they said they would. Republicans are just as bad. The left has Soros and the Right as Koch brothers. Third party would never stand a chance, the only answer is REAL campaign finance reform and TERM LIMITS. Hillary needs 2 Billion to run for office and the Right is going to try to match that. I bet the left ends up with more (Bundled contributions) than the right. Bundled in I mean magic money with not trail to follow.

  14. Sorry, folks; I just bought a new old house and have been working on it and ignoring the blog. So, in order: William, I thought it definitely was excessive force. I have some sympathy for police, but also have mixed emotions. I covered the police beat in a former life as a reporter, and some of the finest people I met were cops — but so were some of the scariest, most racist jackasses I’ve met. In short, they’re people. 🙂
    JM, thanks for the notes and links; glad you’re keeping up with it all.
    Reuel, I agree with you that money is a big problem in politics. And while you’re right that Democrats have had more direct money than Republicans, I’m relatively certain (but too tired to check) that conservatives gave and spent a lot more money through PACs. Much of that money can’t be traced to specific donors, but we know the politics of the PACs. In other words, Democrats probably spent more money ON candidates, while Republicans probably spent more money AGAINST candidates. What will happen this time? I suspect that Hillary will get the most of anyone, but that GOP candidates in total will bring in more. Too damn much on both sides, regardless.
    I agree with you on the need for campaign reform, but don’t like the idea of term limits. After all, if people don’t like their politicians they can just vote against them. More importantly, too much of what goes through Congress is largely the work of lobbyists and Congressional staffers. If members of Congress were always “new,” it seems to me that that reliance on others would only increase. Also, if members of Congress knew they would be out after a given period of time, I suspect they’d use the time they had to build contacts for their future jobs and make what money they could, with no fear that they could be punished by voters for any misdeeds.
    Finally, though I’m no fan of Obama I think I would be remiss to point out that while he did indeed have a Democratic majority in Congress, the rules of the Senate have been so seriously warped that it takes 60 votes to accomplish anything — and in many cases, as with judicial appointments (which the GOP has held up in record numbers under Obama), just one Senator can put a “hold” on an appointment.
    Thanks, all. Stay cool.

  15. Reuel said

    Yes but the 2 first year he had 60 in the senate and wasted his time on a bill no one understands even today. “Obamacare. . The rest I see your point. It is a broke system. Wow what just happened, my time away has moved me more to the middle. Something you wrote about Cruz early made me laugh, but if “The Donald” makes it to the debate Cruz may seem not so crazy. No I do not want to see Cruz in the White House. OR TRUMP. OR BUSH OR CLINTON. But from a song long ago. “You can’t always get what you want”. Problem is I really don’t want any of all the above, below or from either of the far left or right sides.

    See as for the money Democrats “Bundle it” Republicans “PAC it”. Both ways are hard to trace.

    Your words are wise. Also a nice break from Calculations, design specifications, stress loading and your basic reinventing of the wheel.

  16. Eric Voc said

    PROF:

    This fine post has been linked to G+

    LINK: https://plus.google.com/102197468499707352228/posts/HYKcaLYCqUR

  17. Eric Voc said

    PROF:

    FYI-I formerly commented under: jm.

  18. Eric Voc said

    Professor:

    I am following your Twitter feed.

    Here is another angle on Trump:

    Link: https://ericvoc.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/4-reasons-why-trump-surged-to-and-will-stay-on-top-all-the-way-to-the-white-house/

  19. Thanks, Eric. I just read and commented on your piece. Sorry for the delay; too many home projects and some travel.

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