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 ‘Monica Crowley’

See you on the radio

Posted by James McPherson on February 14, 2011

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/182415_203629729653463_121277961221974_902465_7424672_n.jpg

I’ve written in the past about how much I value my regular discussions with a friend and colleague who happens to disagree with me (or me with him) on many things.

Now Mike and I are taking our “Civil Disagreement” (the name of our new program) to the air. Or at least the Internet air, via Whitworth.fm, the student radio station at the university where we both work.

Each Thursday at 3 p.m. (Pacific Time) Mike and I will chat for an hour about politics, media, or anything else that strikes us as interesting that week. He’s a former star debater and debate coach so I might have my work cut out for me, if the goal was simply to win arguments.

But even though both of us can be fairly competitive, unlike with much of what you hear on talk radio and cable news, our goal isn’t–and never has been, in more than a decade of arguing in hallways and over lunch–“to win” a debate. Our hope as both friends and academics is to simultaneously teach and learn–and now, to share how we do that.

Unlike what you might expect elsewhere, on this program sometimes the committed liberal and the avowed conservative will even agree on an issue. After all, most Americans do, too–which is why even as some of us complain about the impact of the likes of Fox News and MSNBC, more Americans both liberal and conservative actually tune in to phony “reality” programming than watch any news network.

And guess what–most people even on those cable debate shows probably don’t dislike one another as much as it might seem. I recently attended a taping of “The McLaughlin Group” and found both Pat Buchanan and John McLaughlin, like my friend Mike, to be warm, funny and friendly.

That shouldn’t be surprising, considering that Buchanan regularly ventures into the “enemy camp” on MSNBC. He and Eleanor Clift, the most liberal member of the panel, are obviously fond of one another.

For the record, I am no more a fan of Monica Crowley after meeting her than I was before. But considering my experience with Buchanan and McLaughlin, in the words of political philosopher Meat Loaf, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

And by the way, if you don’t understand the headline above, you can see its origin here.

Posted in Education, History, Journalism, Media literacy, Personal, Politics, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Monica Crowley’s brother-in-law breaking up with Sean Hannity

Posted by James McPherson on November 24, 2008

Alan Colmes will step down from “Hannity & Colmes” at the end of this year. The big question: Will anyone notice that he’s gone? Hannity is quoted as saying he will “genuinely miss sparring with such a skillful debate partner,” but of course the program has provided little semblance of “debate.”

“Hannity & Colmes,” the second-most-popular show on Fox News, has long been one of the worst cable “news” programs in terms of learning anything. If you watch Bill O’Reilly, you know he’s a blowhard but that he will occasionally provide useful information and a modicum of wit. But with “Hannity & Colmes” you get Sean Hannity berating all things Democratic and fawning over all things Republican, while Colmes occasionally tries to insert something more liberal and/or rational.

I occasionally check in on Colmes’ blog, and can’t help but wonder if he’s leaving the show because so many people responding to the blog have criticized him for being too weak. I think much of that perceived “weakness” is an unwillingness to be as obnoxious as Hannity is–and unless Fox execs somehow persuade James Carville to take the job, I can’t imagine they’ll find anyone who is.

Not that they’d want someone like that, anyway. Hannity makes himself look like a fool often enough without having someone on the other side to help out, but he does appeal to the conservative Fox base.

Consideration of the program also again raises the issue of how conservative what passes for “liberalism” has become in America. Keep in mind that Colmes’ sister-in-law is the most obnoxious regular on “The McLaughlin Group,” conservative radio host and former MSNBC personality Monica Crowley.

Unlike other supposedly liberal media types Campbell Brown and Andrea Mitchell (and even Carville for that matter), Colmes may not literally find himself in bed with a conservative each night. If not, chances are he’s still sharing holidays with one. Somehow I don’t see Hannity holding hands with a liberal while saying grace this Thanksgiving–though he may be praying that Fox doesn’t find and pair him with a thinker who is as loud as he is.

Next day update: Apparently Hannity will host the show by himself, as he often seems to think he is doing, anyway.

Posted in Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »