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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About the blog

This blog considers issues related to the mass media and the political process, particularly as those two intersect. As a media scholar, I believe that the primary reason for the First Amendment, and for American journalism, is to help U.S. citizens govern themselves. But unless the new media choose to accept that role, and unless media users have some degree of media literacy, journalism can do relatively little in promoting a democratic society. Because of those factors, and because the United States is the most media-immersed culture on earth, this site also will discuss issues related to media literacy in general.

I am a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. My publications include two books (pictured below), The Conservatism Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right (Northwestern University Press, 2008), and Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present (Praeger/Greenwood, 2006); chapters in four other books; articles in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, American Journalism, Journalism History, and the Journal of Mass Media Ethics; and numerous other articles, conference papers and book reviews.

I have a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science from Washington State University, and am active in the American Journalism Historians Association. A former newspaper reporter, editor and public relations professional, I teach Media Criticism, Mass Media History, Reporting, Writing for Mass Media, and Editing, Layout & Design. I also advise Whitworth University’s award-winning student newspaper, The Whitworthian. A primary reason for this blog is the same as for many other things I do: my students at Whitworth University. As a teacher of media studies, media history and journalism skills classes, I want to use as many ways as possible to try to connect with and to learn from those students. I hope they–and you, whoever you may be–will join in the conversation.

15 Responses to “About the blog”

  1. J9 said

    What a shame McPherson — all that your forefathers railed against — you embrace.

  2. James McPherson said

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, friend, but I’m confused about which part of what my forefathers railed against it is that you think I disagree with them about. The part about the First Amendment, the part about a free press in general, the part about democratic (small “d”) self-government, or the part about my belief that we should be a more media-literate society?

  3. […] perceived political bases. Still, I will continue to add or delete links as they seem to meet the primary goal of this blog–to serve the needs of my students. And I hope you enjoy the variety. Tagged […]

  4. […] cool, especially considering that I started this thing as a way of connecting with students and to learn more about the process. To all of you who have […]

  5. […] I’ve said elsewhere, I’m doing this primarily for the same reason I do most things outside of my home: my […]

  6. melfamy said

    Yer a commie, Please cansel my subscription, and refund the unused monetary portion to me.

  7. James McPherson said

    🙂

  8. jm said

    My friend, when you get a chance, go to your DASHBOARD; Settings; Enhanced Feeds, and check “Share” for your articles so that they can be printed, emailed and shared online.

  9. James McPherson said

    Thanks, Jm–I’m not as tech-savvy as I could be. There was an extra step, but I think I’ve done it. Perhaps you could let me know if I missed something? Thanks again.

  10. jm said

    You’re cooking!

    You found the Sharing Settings.

    You and your readers now have great flexibility to share your content on the sites of a number of communities including, of course, FACEBOOK and TWITTER. Your content can be easily printed and distributed in hard copy, and emailed.

    If you have not done so, you should join GOOGLE+ It’s a growing GOOGLE based sharing community. You can post links to your articles, and comment on the content posted by others. In addition, folks can post a “+” on your posts, link them and route them to the community.

    Glad to be of assistance.

  11. James McPherson said

    I needed your help four years ago, when I was blogging much more regularly. 🙂 I’ll check out GOOGLE+ when things become a bit less hectic. Thanks again.

  12. jm said

    You should find interesting the program entitled: “The Twilight of Network News: A Conversation With Ted Koppel on Democracy and The Press,” which was hosted by Marvin Kalb.

    The comments made by Koppel on the program for the most part parallel your scholarship and writings.

    The video, press release and transcript are at this Link: http://research.gwu.edu/kalb-report

    I hope that you and your family enjoy the holiday.

  13. James McPherson said

    Thanks, Jm. I was familiar with the Kalb Report, but hadn’t seen that. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, as well.

  14. Hi James,

    I would like to know whether you are impartial or biased in your thinking. So I have a few questions I would like to ask you and I would appreciate you answering them for me.

    Are you as protective of my II amendment rights as your are about your I amendment rights?

    Do you believe the Government is granted the Constitutional authority to limit my II amendment rights?

    Do you believe the Government is granted the Constitutional authority to limit your I Amendment rights?

    If something has to be killed to prevent it from growing by means of cellular division, is it deemed to be alive by both the scientific and medical communities?

    If something which both the scientific and medical communities has deemed to be alive, contains human DNA, is the only logical that it is a living human being?

    Are all human beings living on U.S soil equally entitled to all the rights and privileges granted to it’s Citizens in the Constitution of the United States of America?

    Is it lawful to impose a death sentence on a human being without a trial in a court of law having legal jurisdiction?

    Do you believe that anyone has a constitutional right to end another living human being’s life just because they want to?

    Do you believe that mass murderers have the right to make the choice to end another living human being’s life just because they want to?

    Do you believe a women have the right to make the choice to end another living human being’s life just because they want to?

    Do you believe that anyone who ends another human being’s life just because they can choose to do so, should be charged with murder and punished to the fullest extent of the law?

    I look forward to your answers.

    Have a nice day James,

    Guy R. Epperson

  15. James McPherson said

    “I would like to know whether you are impartial or biased in your thinking.”

    Definitely biased, Guy. Like everyone else.

    “So I have a few questions I would like to ask you and I would appreciate you answering them for me.”

    I’ll do my best to answer your questions, though I can guess by your phrasing that you probably won’t like all the answers.

    “Are you as protective of my II amendment rights as your are about your I amendment rights?”

    That depends on how you define your Second Amendment rights. I’ve written quite a bit about guns, including two of my last three posts, and this one: https://jmcpherson.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/batcrap-craziness/

    A question for you: Are you as protective of my First and Fourth Amendment rights as you are about your Second Amendment rights? https://jmcpherson.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/armed-and-delirious-save-2nd-amendment-to-heck-with-the-4th/

    “Do you believe the Government is granted the Constitutional authority to limit my II amendment rights?”

    Yes. I don’t think every person walking around has the right to carry automatic weapons, hand grenades, mortar lauchers, anti-tank weapons, etc. And I think “government” is people.

    Do you believe the Government is granted the Constitutional authority to limit your I Amendment rights?

    It already does, of course. Some of those restrictions I agree with, such as those regarding libel and false advertising.

    “If something has to be killed to prevent it from growing by means of cellular division, is it deemed to be alive by both the scientific and medical communities?”

    Like veal, you mean?

    “If something which both the scientific and medical communities has deemed to be alive, contains human DNA, is the only logical that it is a living human being?”

    Sorry, I’m not a scientist, nor am I interested in the argument you seem to be trying to start.

    “Are all human beings living on U.S soil equally entitled to all the rights and privileges granted to it’s Citizens in the Constitution of the United States of America?”

    Not necessarily. For example, “all human beings living on U.S soil” would include undocumented aliens, children, the mentally ill, and felons–all of whom, for logically reasons, have fewer “rights and privileges” than the rest of us. And of course the Founding Fathers managed to exclude women and people of color from those “rights and privileges.”

    “Is it lawful to impose a death sentence on a human being without a trial in a court of law having legal jurisdiction?”

    I oppose the death sentence in virtually all circumstances.

    “Do you believe that anyone has a constitutional right to end another living human being’s life just because they want to?”

    Of course not.

    “Do you believe that mass murderers have the right to make the choice to end another living human being’s life just because they want to?”

    Of course not.

    “Do you believe a women have the right to make the choice to end another living human being’s life just because they want to?”

    No. But definitions of “living human being” vary–and to repeat, I’m not a scientist. I suspect that very few women have abortions “just because they want to.” And I trust women and doctors to make rational decisions about their health care more than I trust men and/or legislators to do so.

    “Do you believe that anyone who ends another human being’s life just because they can choose to do so, should be charged with murder and punished to the fullest extent of the law?”

    I think my previous answers cover this one.

    “Have a nice day James.”

    Thanks–you, too. And thanks for coming by. By the way, I wrote a post that mentions both of your issues of concern almost three years ago: https://jmcpherson.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/supreme-court-nra-may-kill-2nd-amendment-aid-abortion/

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