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Who is James McPherson?

November 6, 2010

Who is James McPherson?  Good question, but I must clarify.  I am not speaking of the James McPherson that has won a pulitzer prize for his authorship in the realm of history.  The James McPherson I am speaking of is an author of much less renown.  He also posted a comment on my blog.  It was quite substantive and added much to the conversation, as should be expected from an associate professor of communications studies at Whitworth University.  Here is the entirety of his comment:

True, Olbermann shouldn’t have done it, because of the policy. But it’s accepted practice at Fox News: — sad for an organization with “News” in its name.

This was his comment in regards to my post on MSNBC suspending Keith Olbermann, wherein I defended Olbermann’s choice to donate to politicians, even if it did violate his company’s policies.  Not once did I mention FOX in my post, nor has FOX in any way been linked to the suspension of Keith Olbermann.

My response was as follows:

Wow, its almost as if you didn’t read my post at all. I think the policy is stupid, because of its stated goal of maintaining journalistic impartiality. Last time I checked MSNBC and FOX and every other news source in America has left the impartiality bus a long time ago, so lets stop with the freaking charade already.

If you would have read my post, I said Olbermann should be allowed to express himself through monetary support of a candidate, why not, he does it vocally every night on his show, so what’s the difference?

I allowed your comment, even though it is spam, to show that yes FOX does it too, but they are not so deluded that they pretend they are impartial and suspend there people for doing it.

Keep reading Media Matters you hack, and next time leave a substantive comment.

Maybe not up to the level of an associate professor of communications studies, but hey, I tried.  And yes I called him a hack, because his spam was trying to smear an unassociated party to the discussion.  His intentions are clear when you see he posted almost the exact same comment at the Blog de KingShamus:

True, Olbermann shouldn’t have done it. But it’s accepted practice at Fox News:

King Shamus’ and my conclusions to the story of Olbermann getting suspended were polar opposites.  He cheered the suspension, and I defended Keith.  Would you not expect a more substantive answer from two decidedly different posts, especially from an associate professor of communications studies?  Is spam an accepted form of communication being taught at Whitworth University? (can’t help but pronounce that in my head like Thurston B. Howell III)

In defense of his unprofessional smear, James McPherson responded with this:

“If you would have read my post, I said Olbermann should be allowed to express himself through monetary support of a candidate”

And if you had read my comment carefully, you’d have seen that I disagreed with you about Olbermann–while pointing out that Fox has a policy (or non-policy) that I also think is bad.

But if my “spam” isn’t substantial enough for you, no problem. All you have to do is either block it or ask me not to send anything further. Or you could simply resort to insults.

His first comment, which I have “read carefully” implies the thrust of my post was about Olbermann “not having done it.”  Which is completely innacurate.  My post, which is titled “NBC lacks principles, proves it by suspending Olbermann” is about the hypocrisy of NBC.  And the fact that the former journalist McPherson starts his first comment with “True, Olbermann shouldn’t have done it”, I am lead to believe he doesn’t understand what the word disagree means.  I feel sorry for his students.  I digress.

In response to his latest comment, I decided to call him out on his obvious hackery:

Okay, so to follow your reasoning.

Olbermann should have been suspended. Ok, I can live with that. But then you throw in FOX, which does not have the same policy as MSNBC. And instead of addressing the point I made about FOX, you ignore it and suggest I resort to insults. You are a hack.

How interesting. Are you challenging my point that you spammed me? Do you really want me to point out the other blogs you posted the exact same comment on?

Is this a lack of originality on your part? Are you a one trick pony? These are all question, not assertions. Answer them to the best of your ability and we can have a discussion, but you bringing FOX into a discussion about MSNBC is an obvious red-herring. You don’t still rely on rhetorical tricks do you?

You are a hack, the proof is in your comments on this blog and others. I asked you for a substantive comment and the best you can deliver is “And if you had read my comment carefully, you’d have seen that I disagreed with you about Olbermann–while pointing out that Fox has a policy (or non-policy) that I also think is bad.”

Which is the exact reason you are a hack. I disagreed with you about this, but hey look over here a unicorn that is also bad.

Try again. lets see if you can do any better on the third go round.

This man, being an associate professor of com…blah, blah, blah, one would expect he could defend his behavior with something substantive on the third go round.  I guess he isn’t used to people challenging his views in the great land of divergent thought that is our proud universities, for this was his final reply:

Sorry, if a “discussion” is what you want–and I suspect you don’t–you can bring it on over to my blog (which has been around a lot longer and which offers a much broader range of discussion than this one).

In the meantime, continue to have a good time exercising your “sheepish wit” here without me.

He turns the tables on me.  Wow, first he accuses me of not wanting a discussion, which is absolutely false, I would just like more than one-liners professor, or links to an admiteddly biased news watchdog.  I would bring the discussion to your blog, but considering  the majority of your content is attacking FOX news, Sarah Palin, and the Tea Parties, as well as a disturbingly fascinating interest in “the birthers” with regards to the President, I would have to disagree with your assertion of a broader range of discussion.

And yes his blog has been around a lot longer than mine, since April of 2008.  And while this attempt was meant to marginalize my opinion, I would have to say it backfired.  While I have only been blogging since September of this year, my current rank on Technorati is 16,378, by no means setting the charts aflame.  But in comparison, James’ excellently biased unbiased blog is skyrocketing up the ranks at a fantastic clip, he currently sits at 80,070.  Heads-up professor, the lower the number the better.

But to his credit, James McPherson has done more in his life than I.  He has authored two books, which I will not plug here, but will give their Amazon ranks so we can point and snicker, #1,723,107 and #3,024,064.  And in his own words, he used to be  “A former newspaper reporter, editor and public relations professional”.  How’s that saying go?  “Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach.  Those who can’t teach…teach communications studies.”

Update – 11:03 pmThanks to NoOneofAnyImport for pointing this out – The distinguished Professor James McPherson post his original spam message 8 times within less than 5 hours on other blogs.  What you got to say bout that teach?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2010 9:23 pm

    A typical liberal tactic: instead of debating the substance of the post they use diversionary tactics. He lost the debate, so he tries to change the argument!

    • November 6, 2010 9:28 pm

      The sad part is we didn’t even have a debate. I would hope a man with a Ph. D could acquit himself better than he did, but he obviously doesn’t like it when people call him out. Look, I defended Keith Olbermann for goodness sake! I am going to give you more than enough chance to prove I am wrong and you are right, but he didn’t even try. I feel sorry for his students.

  2. KingShamus permalink
    November 6, 2010 9:42 pm

    Yeah, the dude’s a hack.

    But at least he’s consistent.

    Consistently pointless.

    Thanks for the linkage, BTW.

    • November 6, 2010 9:57 pm

      It was my pleasure. =)

  3. JustFacts permalink
    November 6, 2010 10:27 pm

    As the old saw goes, Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

    • November 6, 2010 10:46 pm

      Who you calling a fool? Just kidding, lol.

      Yeah, this guy is a piece of work. His “blog” is supposedly for his students. Nice to know they are getting the impartial teachings of a journalist. My guess, he couldn’t take the bias so prevalent in the world of journalism, so he just had to move on. Poor guy. So now he writes books about the bias in journalism. Your ready for what that bias is? Conservatism, hahaha.

      Yeah, journalism is so biased towards the right. What must your viewpoint be if you feel the New York Times is conservative, or MSNBC, or CBS? Huffpo maybe? Daily KOS? All bastions of conservative thought. Score another for the cause tovarich.

  4. James McPherson permalink
    November 7, 2010 2:04 pm

    Colin, since you seem to want one, I’ll give you the courtesy of a response. You can do with it what you will, but allow me to make a couple of points.

    About the range of my blog–if you look at the topic cloud, you’ll see that Barack Obama is the leading topic. I regularly criticize MSNBC, and you didn’t mention that my most recent post (written before yours about the same topic, I believe) was critical of Olbermann. Most of that commentary has been critical. Having said that, I confess to being a liberal, critical of much (not all) of the Tea Party movement, and of Palin (though I also wrote in June 2008–two months before she was chosen and before most Americans had any idea who she was–that she should be McCain’s running mate).

    As for the blog being “for my students,” that refers mostly to the very long list of categorized links–both liberal and conservative. My students know my politics, and I know most of theirs. I teach at a Christian university, so most of the students are conservatives when they meet me and still conservatives when they graduate. When I teach media criticism, I always ask the student who most often disagreed with me the previous semester to be a teaching assistant. Perhaps my closest friend on the faculty is a conservative Southern Baptist, with whom I will co-host a radio program next semester.

    Feel free to “point and snicker” at my books. Academic writing rarely sells in big numbers, and we certainly don’t do it for that reason–though you also neglected to mention that the second (which you’ve mischaracterized a bit) was a finalist for a national award given for the year’s best journalism history book based on original research. But no, I’m not the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian named James McPherson, nor am I the Pulitzer Prize-winning short story writer by the same name.

    As for the current popularity of our respective blogs, I would hope that to be the case. I started my blog largely as an experiment, and posted almost daily for a year. Then I cut way back in April 2009, and sometimes now go more than a month without posting anything.

    Finally, the reason I didn’t give you more of a response previously was because you were so quick to resort to what I perceived as defensive insults. It’s your blog, so obviously you can do what you want. But I have little interest in that sort of interaction. If you’d like to know more (and if not, that’s certainly OK), this might be a good place to start:

    • November 7, 2010 3:04 pm

      I appreciate your response, and you still think I fear your disagreement; you truly need to get over that.

      No comment on your blog’s content, you characterized it yourself most eloquently.

      Your writing is what it is, my characterization was on your more popular book, not your second book, although I admit I failed to denote that in my comment, if I was to follow your lead, I should now link to a book that talks about Islam or something right?

      My point about our blog’s respective popularity was in direct response to your failed attempt at marginalizing my opinion by suggesting you have been doing this longer. For what other reason would you have made such a comment? Again, you purposely missed the point of a comment.

      Your final point is ridiculous. The reason you didn’t give more of a response previously is because you were spamming. Your comments were meant to demean FOX News, and you posted them on topics that had only tenuous relationships to that organization, i.e. they both are cable news operations. Did that bother me, absolutely, as any quasi-non-sequitor spam on my blog would. You admit it’s my blog, so I have the right to post whatever comments people put on there, so don’t try and weasel your way out by saying I don’t have to allow your comments – which in my book is a tacit admission of guilt.

      Look man, I don’t know you, I only know how you have reacted to someone calling you out. Instead of having the moral courage of your convictions and the intellectual honesty to admit your behavior is rather unbecoming of a university professional, you have frequently skirted the issues and used weak rhetorical tricks. Just admit you were spamming in an attempt to make Fox News look bad. And all will be forgotten.

      If you dislike Fox News so much, you being a professor of communication studies would know more than I of their faults and multiple failures, why do you feel it necessary to point it out in such a disingenuous way? This is the typical debate among liberals and conservatives. We both have ideas, but I don’t try to win by using tricks. If your ideas are better, then they will win, if mine are better, mine will win. And it is for that reason I said I feel sorry for your students. You don’t feel it necessary to debate on the same level. What does that teach your students? The ends justify the means? Do you not have some responsibility to teach them ethics as well as facts? We can both agree ethics are absent from the majority of journalists, and has been recognized as so for much longer than the immediate present. I recollect the excellent movie Ace in the Hole for a perfect illustration of my point.

      You are probably a really nice guy, but all I have to go on is your words and your responses to criticism of your actions. If being called a hack bothers you, then you should not act like one. If my response to your spam was “defensive insults”, its because I perceived your true intentions, and my insults were appropriate because you desired no discussion. If you did, you would have proven so by actually “discussing” the issue and proving why FOX is relevant to the topic – which you have still not done!

      So here it is. Until you can explain how FOX was relevant to a post defending Olbermann’s donating of money to politicians, that had nothing to do with FOX, you are a hack. I welcome your response.

      • James McPherson permalink
        November 7, 2010 3:43 pm

        “… marginalizing my opinion by suggesting you have been doing this longer.For what other reason would you have made such a comment?”

        As a response to your “one-trick pony” comment–sorry I didn’t make that clear.

        “how FOX was relevant to a post defending Olbermann’s donating of money to politicians, that had nothing to do with FOX”

        Simply as a commentary of the sad state of broadcast “journalism” in general. I should have made that more clear, especially when writing someplace new as opposed to my own blog or those where I comment more regularly.

        MSNBC sucks; Fox News sucks. Neither needs my help to make them “look bad,” even if I had that power. Olbermann deserved what he got because he violated the policy. Fox should have the same kind of policy if it’s going to call itself “fair and balanced.”

        My views, of course. And if they’re still not clear enough, oh, well–both of us have devoted enough time and energy to the issue. You don’t like rhetorical “tricks”; I dislike argumentation via insults, so we probably don’t have a lot to talk about, anyway.

      • November 7, 2010 5:26 pm

        MSNBC sucks; Fox News sucks. Neither needs my help to make them “look bad,” even if I had that power. Olbermann deserved what he got because he violated the policy. Fox should have the same kind of policy if it’s going to call itself “fair and balanced.”

        I guess that’s as much of an explanation for the spam as we will get folks. So for a little over a day, I have been asking for an explanation of why Mr. McPherson felt it was important to include an unrelated fact about FOX News onto a post about the suspension of Keith Olbermann from MSNBC. He never once mentioned FOX not having the same policy as MSNBC. Instead, he continually showed his bias against FOX by frequently quoting their tag line while suggesting they are as bad if not worse than NBC.

        Is this how fair journalism is taught in our universities now a days? I freely admit, you posting comments on my blog does not constitute journalism, but if that is the method by which you conduct yourself in small matters, by extension I must assume you act the same way in regards to your profession. You purposely leave out facts, like FOX not having the same policy, which any person reading your spam would conclude they do in fact have the same policy, but are just hypocrites. If you were in any way capable of forming a cogent argument, you could have possibly said something to this effect:

        “While I think Olbermann is wrong for his donations, FOX has many people on their staff that do the same thing. They do not have a policy against this though, which begs the question, are they truly “fair and balanced?”

        If you would have spammed that, then we could have a discussion about FOX. It still shows your bias against FOX, but does not leave out the all important fact that FOX does not have a policy against supporting candidates. But instead you only commented to smear FOX, and you still can’t admit it. It is truly sad that you are actually teaching people how to be journalists.

  5. November 8, 2010 9:11 am

    I doubt he’ll admit he was spamming, no matter how doggedly you pursue him. (You are more of a pitbull than a sheep, lol.)

    • November 8, 2010 9:24 am

      Hahaha. Well he did not admit it on his own blog. So I gave him one more chance after that I am done with him. Its been fun though, lol.

  6. November 8, 2010 9:56 am

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention and stopping by my blog. I’ve definitely got a new blog to read throughout the day after checking out yours. Kudos on the good work.

    • November 8, 2010 10:21 am

      Hey thanks for the kind words. =)

      I will be checking in on yours as well.


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