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.

  • Archives

  • May 2021
    S M T W T F S
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    3031  
  • Categories

  • Subscribe

Posts Tagged ‘New York Post’

YaVaughnie Wilkins should get a life

Posted by James McPherson on January 24, 2010

Chances are you’ve never heard of YaVaughnie Wilkins. But two of Rupert Murdoch’s “news” organizations, Fox News and the New York Post,  hope you will–and that you’ll somehow blame Barack Obama for the fact that Wilkins carried on a long affair with Oracle tech conglomerate owner Charles E. Phillips. I’m not kidding.

Yeah, as the articles breathlessly exclaim, Phillips is an “Obama advisor.” But he’s just one of fifteen members on one board, and the board is just part of a long list of folks advising the president on economic affairs. Presumably the board does not advise Obama on marital affairs. And by the way, weren’t conservatives just recently complaining–and lying –about the supposed lack of Obama advisors with practical business experience?

Besides, especially in a week when John Edwards finally ‘fessed up, do they really need this kind of goofy stretch to try to make Dems look bad? And do they want really want us thinking about the kind of sleaze engaged in by “the mostly-conservative (in recent years) “brotherhood of the disappearing pants“?

Wilkins has spent perhaps a quarter-million dollars to for billboards in three cities (though at least one was killed after just a day, something Fox fails to note in its front-page story today) proclaiming her “love” for Phillips, with a link to a Web site that the Post proclaims is “a veritable shrine to Wilkins’ ex-love.” But I spent a few minutes (as much as I could stand) checking out the site, finding more pictures of Wilkins (including a collection of swimsuit shots, which I assume are to show us what Phillips is missing)  and an assortment of now-exposed but unidentified other people–including children–who presumably are friends or family members of one of the two ex-lovers.

Because of those people, I won’t link to the site here. But they can now count themselves among the victims of Wilkins, Fox and the Post. As for Wilkins, someone stupid enough to be involved with a married man for more than eight years isn’t going to win much sympathy, I’d think.

Though I do wonder who is paying for those billboards. The newshounds at the Post and Fox didn’t bother to find out, of course.

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

Twit lit: Palin publisher hopes ‘rogue’ stays in vogue

Posted by James McPherson on October 3, 2009

Apparently not bothering to read much gives Sarah Palin lots of time to write, as her new book will hit bookstores next month, rather than next spring. Perhaps this Thanksgiving will go better than last year’s for Palin.

Publisher HarperCollins reportedly want to take advantage of the Christmas shopping season, though I suspect fears that the Alaska Abdicator may completely fade from relevance may also be a factor.

Some Republicans think a Palin nomination would be “catastrophic” for the party (admittedly that quote comes from a John McCain aide, but then, who knows GOP disaster better than McCain folks?), and the conservative New York Post reports that the Moose Killa from Wasilla has not proven to be much of a draw on the lecture circuit,

“The big lecture buyers in the US are paralyzed with fear about booking her, basically because they think she is a blithering idiot,” says one apparent insider. “What does she have to say? She can’t even describe what she reads.”

That doesn’t raise much hope for the book, whose “author” (not surprisingly, she has a co-author) can’t even stay honest on Facebook or Twitter (come to think of it, that seems to be a common problem on social networking sites, though most writers are lying about themselves, not about policy proposals).

Regardless, considering Palin’s level of accuracy within 140 characters, or speak coherently for 20 minutes, pity whomever decides to try to  wade through 400 pages.

Posted in History, Politics, Women, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Watch out Mr. President, they’re polling again

Posted by James McPherson on February 20, 2009

A new CNN poll shows President Obama with an approval rating of 67 percent, down 9 percent from early this month. Most of the losses came from Republicans, who apparently during the past month figured out that their side lost, that Obama isn’t a Republican, and that he wouldn’t bow to their every whim. Still, even about a third of Republicans (along with 92 percent of Democrats) still approve of the job Obama is doing–after he’s been on the job all of one month. George Bush needed a terrorism attack to get numbers that high from the other side.

Put another way, the poll numbers are essentially meaningless at this point. There are several more big issues for Obama and Congress to tackle in the coming months, and Obama’s approval rating means almost nothing for most of the next two years–and only then to other Democrats who are running for election.

What will matter is the shape of the economy, and perhaps the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some time down the road. Most Americans are willing to give the president they just elected a chance–after all, they waited out the Bush years without storming the White House, indicating a certain level of patience. What happens over the next few years, not what happens in the first 100 days of the Obama presidency, will determine whether he is later viewed as an FDR or a Hoover.

The CNN poll even shows that 60 percent of Americans approve of the just-passed stimulus bill–despite two Fox News lead story headlines today that read, “Resentment grows overpaying for others’ foreclosure misery,” and  “Watch out Mr. President, because we’re mad as hell!” The latter is an opinion piece written by Dan Gainor, vice president of the Business & Media Institute, an organization you’ve probably never heard of but which has an advisory board that includes representatives of the National Taxpayers Union, the Galen Institute, and Cato Institute, the founder of TechRepublican.com along with the author of a blog titled “The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid.”

One of the highlights of that blog is a “joke of the day,” on which currently posted  jokes include versions that are anti-Obama, anti-Clinton and anti-Muslim. Despite that, author Donald Luskin still manages to get far too much air time as a talking head on various networks (including Fox, but also the so-called “liberal media.” Another indication of Fox writer Gainor’s political perspective is that his own organization’s biggest ad is one urging people to “join the fight” against the Fairness Doctrine (a fictional threat, as I’ve noted here and here).

Somehow I don’t think Gainor, BMI or Fox will become fans of Obama whatever he does. Having those folks “mad as hell” should be viewed as a good thing. So would a cessation of news organizations creating news through polls, though I don’t think that’s likely, either.

One other interesting note about the BMI, in light of the controversy over the New York Post monkey cartoon. Below is the cartoon (dated Feb. 11) that is now on that organization’s front page:

hrblockhead-cartoon

Posted in History, Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Stimulus prompts cartoonish monkey business

Posted by James McPherson on February 18, 2009

I haven’t understood why the story of a crazy chimpanzee has been worth days of coverage on virtually every news site. In fact, until today I had not read any of the stories, and have managed to tune out most of the television discussion of Gonzo Bonzo.

Now there’s another reason to hate the fact that the media have gone ape, so to speak, over the story: It helped prompt a cartoon that some perceive as racist, on the same day that attorney general Eric Holder calls the United States “a nation of cowards” on the issue of race. Ah, remember the good old days, when all we had to worry about with the attorney general was his unwillingness to follow the Constitution, and his inability to remember if he had followed it?

Syndicated columnist and regular TV talking head Roland Martin is among those now arguing that a New York Post cartoon offers a racist portrayal of Barack Obama. For its part, the Post, drawing international attention, pleads innocence. It claims that the dead stimulus-writing monkey in the cartoon simply represents the widely reported chimp gone crazy, which police shot and killed, while making fun of the flaws in the stimulus bill.

The Post argument would be more convincing if it weren’t known as a conservative anti-Obama newspaper. It also doesn’t help that today’s first story highlighted on the Post Web page is titled “From baby to beast,” while the second is headlined, “Bam’s $75B house call.” (The site also prominently carries a “pop video quiz” titled “Wet hot swimsuit models”–those conservatives do like their T & A.) And while the first complainant about the cartoon was publicity hound Al Sharpton (and no, Rev. Al, I’m not comparing African Americans to dogs), who would call someone a racist for commenting that a plane crash occurred on a dark night, Martin is not the same kind of loony that Sharpton is.

Even if we give the Post the benefit of the doubt–and I think that when it comes to matters of race we should be as gracious as possible in assuming the motives of others–we also shouldn’t automatically ignore the aggrieved parties, either. Regardless of any racist intent, the cartoon still represents a cluelessness on the part of the newspaper, because in fact African Americans have been negatively compared to apes throughout history. Not long ago a Voguemagazine cover featuring basketball star Lebron James drew similar criticism. Much longer ago, noted sportscaster Howard Cosell referred to black wide receiver Alvin Garrett as a “little monkey,” drawing considerable criticism (despite the fact that at one time Cosell may have been one of the best friends that black athletes–especially boxers, and especially Muhammad Ali–had in any press box).

Still, the racial aspect that probably bothers me most about this incident is one I’ve noted before, that any dead or missing little white girl or pretty white woman will get far more attention from the media than a missing or dead black or Latino child–and now it is clear that a dead chimpanzee can get more ink, as well.

Next-day update: The New York Times reports that even employees of the New York Postapparently are among those troubled by the cartoon, which ran one page after a large photo of Obama signing the stimulus photo. Ted Rall, president of the Association of Editorial Cartoonists also dislikes the cartoon, but not because he thinks it’s racist (he doesn’t). According to a Poynter piecewell worth reading, Rall calls the cartoon “a cheap form of editorial cartooning,” in which a not particularly ambition tries to combine two unrelated news events into a cartoon that is “rarely clever” and typically “doesn’t mean anything.”

Another cartoonist, Chip Bok, also didn’t consider the cartoon to be racist–just “in bad taste” because the chimp had seriously injured a woman. As Rall noted, however, there are almost no cartoonists who aren’t white men, so their depth of understanding as a group may be a bit limited.

Next day update #2: The Post now “apologizes for” and defends the cartoon, after singer John Legend urged people to boycott the newspaper.

The new cartoon, followed by the Labron Vogue cover and one of the comparisons from various sites:

monkey1

lebron21

Posted in Journalism, Media literacy, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments »

Four reasons newspapers won’t soon disappear

Posted by James McPherson on November 30, 2008

A friend recently reduced his subscription to the local daily, to get it only Wednesdays and Sundays (so he gets the most important ads), while reading online the rest of the week. As much as I love newspapers, I still couldn’t offer him a good reason not to do make the change.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the decline of print media, and I suspect that my political science professor who predicted in 1993 that print newspapers would disappear “within 10 years” is still making the same prediction. Still, I expect that newspapers will be with us for some time to come, for the following reasons:

  1. Big events. People still turn to print newspapers for coverage of events ranging from elections to mass disasters. Print media provide more depth of coverage than broadcast media, and they also provide a physical reminder of the event. Internet newspapers might provide the former, but I can’t see most people wanting to print out a Web page to save in their family mementos.
  2. Supermarkets and department stores. This weekend provides a big reminder that there is no good alternative for some types of newspaper ads.
  3. Sundays. Too many of us like to peruse the newspaper in a leisurely fashion on Sundays, laughing at the funnies, and trading sections and observations with others whom we care about.
  4. Mass transit, which is necessary in some American cities (and more widespread overseas) and may become increasingly important in the United States if Barack Obama is serious about rebuilding infrastructure while reducing our dependence on oil. Some of the massive subsidies now used to prop up our highway-centric lifestyle might be diverted to more logical transit alternatives. And until handheld devices become as cheap, simple and portable as the New York Post or USA Today, subway riders will turn to print.

Newspapers will continue to change, in many ways not for the better, and the staff cuts at most publications are alarming to those of us who care about journalism and journalists. Some papers will publish less frequently in the future than they do now. Newspapers and other media will increasingly go online, and will figure out new ways to make a profit.

Student Jasmine Linabary, the Pew Research Center and various folks at the Poynter Institute are among those tracking the changes, some of which make the future of media look at least as exciting as it is scary. As for me, you’ll have to excuse me: It’s time to grab a bite and finish the Sunday paper.

Posted in History, Journalism, Media literacy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

‘Breaking’ story: Ann Coulter shuts up

Posted by James McPherson on November 25, 2008

 It’s not like liberals need one more thing to feel thankful for this Thursday, but if the conservative New York Post is correct (never a totally safe bet), Ann Coulter won’t be speaking–at all–for a while. That’s assuming the wires, hold, of course.

We also are left wondering, so far, if someone punched Coulter or if her jaw simple wore out from excessive use.

True or not, the story about Coulter’s supposed broken jaw quickly became the most popular post at the Huffington Post.

Posted in Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »