by John Hawkins | November 5, 2003 12:05 am
Conservatives have been raising holy hell about the Reagan mini-series that CBS was going to put on. The complaints about the movie have been largely centered around loathsome bits of dialogue that were made up out of whole cloth. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about…
Ronald Reagan: “It’s Armageddon… that’s what it is. Armageddon. The Leader from the West will be revealed as the anti-Christ, and then God will strike him down. That’s me. I am the anti-Christ.”
Don Regan On Nancy Reagan:: “So, Deaver — tell me. You’ve known Madame Fuhrer a lot longer than I have. How the hell do you manage to put up with her?”
Ron Reagan On AIDS Patients: “They who live in sin shall die in sin”.
Here’s more from Patti Davis, Reagan’s daughter…
“Reading the script actually made me feel better in some ways. It is, quite simply, idiotic. Everyone is a caricature, manufactured and inauthentic. My father is depicted as some demented evangelist, going on about Armageddon every chance he gets. My mother is cast as a female Attila the Hun, and I and my siblings are unrecognizable to me. There are absurdities, like depictions of Mike Deaver and political aides camping out at our house during my father’s early political career — in every scene, there they are, hanging around the house day and night. I suppose this is meant to explain why, when my sister Maureen visits, my mother tells her to sleep on the floor. Funny, but I have no recollection of any of this. Nor do I remember conducting an impromptu yoga class at my wedding reception. (I promise you, no one at my wedding was chanting Om or Shanti.)
But the idiocy of the script can’t dilute the cruelty behind it. To deliberately and calculatingly depict public people as shallow, intolerant, cold and inept, with no truths or facts to back up the portrayals, is nothing short of malevolent.”
Here’s more from Reagan’s son, Michael Reagan…
“It’s horrendous, it’s absolutely horrendous,” Michael Reagan complained after viewing eight minutes’ worth of excerpts of the film, which stars James Brolin, husband of Reagan-hater Barbra Streisand, as the 40th president.
“They paint my father as a buffoon,” the former first son-turned radio host told fellow talker Sean Hannity. “They also have my dad taking God’s name in vain in an angry, angry way. … They have him calling another person in anger an S.O.B.”
“I’ve never seen my Dad that angry and I’ve never heard him use the ‘G-D’ word in my life,” Reagan complained.
“They dislike my father, and you can see that,” he said. “They actually infer that Alzheimer’s was setting in at the time the whole thing was going on with Ollie North and Iran-Contra – which is absurd.”
…”The eight minutes’ worth of clips that I saw [showed] Nancy as the head of the government and Dad was just the buffoon going along for the ride, with everybody laughing at him,” Reagan said. “It is so sad.”
Taking all this into consideration, I think it’s safe to say even without having seen the mini-series, that “The Reagans” can be categorized as a political hit piece. Given that, I think that it’s entirely appropriate to slam CBS for planning to run it & to threaten boycotts against the advertisers. Were I CBS, I wouldn’t even give this mini-series over to Showtime, I’d shelve it permanently.
Now some people call this censorship, but it’s actually just consumers voting with their wallets. CBS could have chosen to run the mini-series if they were willing to take the furious criticism and greatly reduced advertising revenue that would have gone along with it.
But you’d think that since networks make money by putting on programming that their viewers want to see, CBS would have known that it was a poor idea for them to put together this kind of movie about a revered figure like Reagan who of course can’t even defend himself because of his Alzheimer’s. But as I’ve pointed out before, “don’t ever expect a conservative to get an even break from the mainstream media”.
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