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 ‘presidential limo’

Plane truths about power

Posted by James McPherson on February 15, 2009

One of the best perks of being president is that you get your own plane, and no one criticizes you for flying in Air Force One even after if you don’t do your job very well. Barack Obama may own a hybrid, but he won’t hitting the road in it for at least the next four years–another presidential perk is the cool ground transportation.

For the rest of us, flying has become more and more of an ideal. Sure, Southwest Airlines may have chipper flight attendents, and airlines may be producing custom-painted planes designed to appeal to sports fans–including the latest from Southwest, featuring Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Bar Rafaeli, a plane (pictured below) which seems designed to insult both conservatives and feminists while demonstrating yet again what constitutes “power” for American women.

Regardless of what’s on the outside of the plane, the fact remains that passengers inside are still treated like cattle as they put their faith in unknown pilots and the elements every time they take to the air. Still, admittedly, flying is safer than driving (and when gas was up to four bucks a gallon, it was also cheaper).

Trains are safer yet; maybe that’s why Obama took one to his Inauguration. I think one of the best things about the stimulus bill that he will sign tomorrow is the funds it devotes to mass transit. But having traveled across most of the country by train last summer, I hope Amtrak uses some of its funds to hire a few chipper Southwest employees.


Posted in Journalism, Media literacy, Politics, Women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Obama to get a new ride–but can he trust the service plan?

Posted by James McPherson on January 6, 2009

Like every president since John F. Kennedy’s assassinaton, “car guy” Barack Obama will get a brand new bulletproof limo when he takes office. The car is so quiet he’ll be able to block out even the press, and even without a Blackberry (and with a compromised Twitter account) he’ll have plenty of ways to keep in touch.

General Motors, the maker of the car, has announced that it will avoid bankruptcy, for now. But with its profits in freefall and new restrictions on ways the company can make money, the Secret Service might be hoping that the government bailout for GM is enough to cover to production of special Cadillac parts for at least four more years.

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

Obamatech: the presidential radio address & the presidential ride

Posted by James McPherson on November 14, 2008

A few days ago I noted that Barack Obama had used the Internet better than any candidate before him. In the comments section, reporter and fellow blogger Jeremy Styron wrote that Obama might take his weekly presidential radio address to the Web (thanks, Jeremy). I noted then that the address also could be posted on YouTube.

That is indeed the case, according to a Washington Post story by Jose Antonio Vargas, who also points out: “President Bush, too, has updated WhiteHouse.gov, which offers RSS feeds, podcasts and videos of press briefings. The site’s Ask the White House page has featured regular online chats dating back to 2003, and President Bush hosted one in January after a Middle Eastern trip.” Who knew?

Regardless of the Bush technology advances, Obama is likely to use the Internet to help govern in ways never seen before, even if it doesn’t reach the level of “the Internet-era version of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous ‘fireside chats’ between 1933 and 1944.” On the other hand, with a new Great Depression perhaps starting, those who can still afford high-speed Internet connections may get some of the same reassurance from Obama that FDR gave people gathered around their radios.

Maybe Obama will even be able to broadcast from the new presidential limo–especially if it’s parked next to the White House because there’s no fuel to run it. I wonder if he’ll get the new car if Congressal Democrats fail next week to bail out General Motors.

Posted in History, Journalism, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »