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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Posts Tagged ‘election’

Modern ‘poll tax’: Long lines hurt working class & democracy

Posted by James McPherson on November 3, 2008

Joe the Plumber may be able to take entire days off of work to campaign against the candidate whose tax plan would benefit him the most–however much one might wonder why he would do so, other than as a means of getting attention–but long lines at polling places may influence the ability of many other members of the working class to vote for their favored candidates.

Republicans and CNN’s Campbell Brown may see no problem with that, though as the daughter of a former Louisiana state senator Brown should know better. Of course Brown is yet another example of the so-called “liberal media” with obvious conservative ties. Daddy was a Democrat, but a southern Dem. Brown’s current husband, Daniel Senor, is a Republican consultant and Fox News regular who once served President George W. Bush as spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and then became a foreign policy advisor to Mitt Romney during Romney’s presidential bid.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has become increasingly strident and Keith Olbermann-like, but last night she pointed out the real problem with long lines–and why they pose a threat to democracy. I’ll post the video below.

I’m lucky, because I vote in Washington State and can do so by mail. Also fortunate, and smart, are those who can and do vote early. With luck, one day every American voter may be able to do the same. In the meantime, I agree with one thing that both Brown and Maddow said: Vote anyway, even if it’s difficult.

Posted in History, Journalism, Politics, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Neo-Nazis and other nuts: more reminders that race still matters

Posted by James McPherson on October 27, 2008

Just in case anyone can question whether race still is an issue in this country, and whether race might play a part in the election, we have had a number of cases in the past few weeks that help illustrate how impressive Barack Obama’s appeal truly is.

Even though some of the cases involve apparent John McCain supporters, no one should suggest that the McCain camp is involved in the incidents in any way, and I’m not doing that here. I am pointing out that Obama has to overcome issues that no white candidate would face.

Just today the feds apparently blocked an apparent plot by two white supremacists (probably more fantasy on their part than real threat), to kill Obama and more than 100 other African Americans. Earlier this week, of course, we had the apparently mentally ill McCain campaign worker who scratched a backward “B” into a cheek and then reported that she had been assaulted by a large black Obama supporter who noticed her McCain bumper sticker. We’ve also had at least two cases, in Oregon and Ohio, of Obama figures being lynched in effigy.

People who will cheer for a black person who can dunk a basketball or sing the National Anthem still won’t vote for an African American for president. In short, race matters. Perhaps if Obama is elected president, it will come to matter less.

Posted in Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »