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 ‘Father Charles Coughlin’

Limbaugh’s life and legacy

Posted by James McPherson on July 6, 2008

Rush Limbaugh’s insecure life,  post-drug-addiction (we assume): deafness, a French-inspired house, a cat, and a full-sized portrait of himself. At least “Rush is a lot smarter and crafter than Don Imus.” Or so says Al Sharpton, noted for his ability to grab almost as much time on stage during the last Democratic Convention as the candidate. Despite their millions, is there anyone much sadder than these two blowhards–other than the millions who apparently believe every word one or the other of them has to say?

Admittedly, Rush gets it right on occasion, such as when he says about Bill O’Reilly, “The man is Ted Baxter.” But remember, the fictional Baxter was the only survivor of the final WJM-TV shakeup. Rush and his copiers have helped guarantee a media world in which success means drawing the biggest audience, not offering the most insight or the widest range of news. A Baxter, an O’Reilly or a Limbaugh beats a Murrow or a Cronkite every time.

I don’t doubt that Rush, along with the likes of Charles Coughlin and Howard Stern (with whom Limbaugh shares a birthday), will claim a more significant place in history than O’Reilly. But thanks in part to the media environment he has helped create, your grandchildren likely won’t know or care.

Posted in Education, History, Journalism, Media literacy, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bill O’Reilly: liar, bully and buffoon

Posted by James McPherson on June 11, 2008

Father Charles Coughlin often serves as the historical prototype for on-air fanaticism and bullying. As it turns out, statistically the good father was a slacker compared to Bill O’Reilly.

Below are some of Bill’s “best”–helped in the first case by the laughably inane Ann Coulter-wannabe Michelle Malkin. Malkin, you’ll remember, managed to turn right-wing Dunkin’ Donuts (which she previously had promoted over Starbucks) into an Islamic terrorist front, forcing the company to pull some of its advertising. She is noted for lying and distortion. (By the way, Michelle, Dunkin is now promoting “going green.”)

And you gotta love when O’Reilly says (late in the first video),  “We stayed in the parameters… of what was true.” Oh, and just for fun if you want to get a real sense of what it must be like to work for Bill, play all three videos at once.

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