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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‘What’s happenin’ here?’ The news ain’t exactly clear: How to keep up with what’s going on, and why

Posted on December 2, 2008

I got a kick out of it a few months ago when former student and follow blogger Grady Locklear, wrote in a post that I seemed “to check in with every news source under the sun on a daily basis.” I don’t, of course, though I do follow the news more closely than most people. After all, […]

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Posted in History, Journalism, Media literacy, Personal, Politics | 2 Comments »

Ben Shapiro and Spokane

Posted on March 14, 2019

Close on the heels of a decision by Young America’s Foundation to keep conservative Ben Shapiro from speaking at Gonzaga University, the student government at Spokane’s other university (where I spent most of my academic career), has voted to block a student club from bringing Shapiro to campus.For the record, despite my liberal bent and […]

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Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

A weird, sad week in journalism

Posted on February 12, 2015

Journalism has taken a lot of hits in recent years, but this week has been weirder and sadder than most. Respected television journalist Bob Simon died Wednesday– not in one of the many wars he covered, but in that most mundane American way, a car crash. Two days earlier, even more popular (though less talented) journalist Brian […]

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Posted in Journalism, Media literacy | 3 Comments »

Comparing Obama to other presidents — and to mermaids

Posted on May 31, 2013

After watching an Animal Planet program about mermaids the other night, I realized that the sea creatures and President Barack Obama have some things in common. Perhaps the comparison is inevitable, considering that the Weekly World News, a “news source” at least as reliable as World Net Daily, assures me that Obama has met with mermaids. Less […]

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Posted in History, Journalism, Legal issues, Media literacy, Politics, Written elsewhere | 15 Comments »

Republican platform: gallows for GOP suicide?

Posted on August 25, 2012

It has seemed for some time as if the Republican Party is suicidal, and determined to make sure that Barack Obama wins re-election. Maybe Republicans just want to prove that a couple of professors who forecast a Mitt Romney win aren’t so smart. Because the schedule proposed platform for next week’s GOP national convention provide new evidence […]

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Posted in History, Journalism, Legal issues, Politics, Religion, Written elsewhere | 45 Comments »

Do you know what you’re investing in, and where?

Posted on July 11, 2012

The question above may be trickier than it looks, but since many right-wing media have decided that their readers are clueless about how investment funds work. Maybe they’re right–they’d know their audiences better than I do–but, regardless, the question in the headline seems worth asking today. The Weekly Standard yesterday offered a post critical of Democratic […]

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Posted in History, Journalism, Legal issues, Media literacy, Politics | 14 Comments »

Since your ballot won’t matter, why not vote against both Obama and Romney?

Posted on June 25, 2012

Newspapers tell you every election season that your vote counts. I’ve even said so myself in my pre-blog life, including six years ago with a guest opinion in my local newspaper. But at least I noted that people were “least interested in the local issues they could most influence and which usually affect them most. They’re much more likely […]

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Posted in History, Politics | 25 Comments »

Another reason Romney will lose: Bad graphic design

Posted on April 18, 2012

As expected for some time, the presidential race is down to Mitt Romney(s) vs. Barack Obama. And unless something dramatic occurs–such as Republicans figuring out that they’re running in 2012 rather than 1952–Obama will win handily in November. Regardless of what the conservative activists on the Supreme Court have decided about health care. I’m not […]

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Posted in History, Media literacy, Politics | 8 Comments »

Election Day: A boost to Obama’s 2012 campaign

Posted on November 2, 2010

So how many House seats with the Democrats lose today? A record is unlikely, thanks to modern gerrymandering by both parties. The Democrats lost a record 116 House seats in 1894, exactly 20 years after the GOP lost 96. This election is likely to be closer to the 53 the Democrats lost in 1994, the […]

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Posted in History, Politics | 2 Comments »

Hey birthers: Obama impeachment not an option

Posted on September 19, 2010

OK, so we have to accept the fact that nutty conspiracy theorists, like the Biblical poor, will always be with us. But do the wacky purveyors of those theories  have to keep suggesting to their poor deluded followers that if those followers get fired up enough, somehow Barack Obama will magically be impeached? “Naturally Floyd […]

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Posted in History, Legal issues, Politics, Written elsewhere | 14 Comments »