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CBS may cancel 'Reagans' mini-series over GOP protests.
November 4, 2003 2:17 AM   Subscribe

CBS may cancel 'The Reagans' mini-series over GOP protests. Rep. John Dingall has some thoughts on the matter: As someone who served with President Reagan, and in the interest of historical accuracy, please allow me to share with you some of my recollections of the Reagan years that I hope will make it into the final cut of the mini-series: $640 Pentagon toilets seats; ketchup as a vegetable; union busting; firing striking air traffic controllers; Iran-Contra; selling arms to terrorist nations; trading arms for hostages; retreating from terrorists in Beirut; lying to Congress; financing an illegal war in Nicaragua; visiting Bitburg cemetery; a cozy relationship with Saddam Hussein; shredding documents; Ed Meese; Fawn Hall; Oliver North; James Watt; apartheid apologia; the savings and loan scandal; voodoo economics; record budget deficits; double digit unemployment; farm bankruptcies; trade deficits; astrologers in the White House; Star Wars; and influence peddling.
posted by skallas (102 comments total)

 
Whatever your views on the man, he is in the final stages of Alzheimer's and to be blunt, is dying.

Much of what has been reported as being in the program were blatant untruths in the characterizations of him and his wife. That is bad enough; to do it now at this final stage of his existence, is cruel. His wife has taken care of him and been at his side for NINE years, and for her to have to deal with this right now is unconscionable.

Yes, I can see a point to making a film regarding unpopular political positions etc.-I was an adult during his entire Presidency and I remember it warts and all-but I am also old enough to be horrified at what CBS has wrought. As far as I am concerned they are vultures feeding on a not-quite-dead man.
posted by konolia at 2:23 AM on November 4, 2003


I am completely not seeing how the status of someone should define how and if a biography of them is released. I can't remember this coming up in the past and the GOP bullying seems to be streching to find *any* reason not to make St. Reagan look bad to the public.

How serious are these people? Not half as serious as your concerns konolia (even if I think theyre friviolous). One suggested flashing a notice every ten minutes that this might contain fictional material.

In regards to 'cant defend himself' nonsense - he's a public figure. Once you go into politics you shouldn't be coddled and you and your family should expect public criticisms. No one forced him to get into politics at gunpoint, so lets not put him on par with a real victim here.
posted by skallas at 2:52 AM on November 4, 2003


Also I found this little nugget which more or less supports Reagan's theistic views regarding AIDS
In "Dutch," Reagan's authorized biography, the author, Edmund Morris, writes that Reagan once said of AIDS, "Maybe the Lord brought down this plague," because "illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments."
posted by skallas at 3:00 AM on November 4, 2003


Uh oh. Jeff Wald, the manager for James Brolin, called the CBS show a "fair and balanced movie". He is so going to be sued by Fox News for that.
posted by stevis at 3:04 AM on November 4, 2003


On Nov. 9, NBC will present a made-for-TV movie about U.S. soldier Jessica Lynch. I haven't heard of a similar backlash against that piece of propaganda considering how untrue that story is (which we've discussed before).
posted by stevis at 3:16 AM on November 4, 2003


But without Bonzo there'd be no B-movie, so we have that, at least, to thank him for.

And I bet GSH wouldn't say no to using it as the theme for the TVmovie.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:27 AM on November 4, 2003


"Whatever your views on the man, he is in the final stages of Alzheimer's and to be blunt, is dying ... His wife has taken care of him and been at his side for NINE years, and for her to have to deal with this right now is unconscionable."

Plenty of people in Nicaragua were not in the final stages of Alzheimer's when they were murdered by Reagan-authorised contras. Plenty of wives were by their side who shouldn't have had to deal with that.

Fuck him.
posted by Pericles at 3:52 AM on November 4, 2003


Something tells me a scathing portrayal of the Clintons would not draw the same type of vocal opposition from these people. Even if Bill Clinton were dying of some horrible wasting disease.
posted by moonbiter at 4:01 AM on November 4, 2003


I smell an Onion headline:

Special Interest Groups Squelch All Interest --

Today, the Special Interest Council (a special interest group representing special interest groups) assured the America public that they are working their hardest to ensure that nothing is ever interesting...
posted by Dick Paris at 4:25 AM on November 4, 2003


In addition to the Nicaraguans there were many right here who suffered by his policies, including the families of air traffic controlers who may have had to start eating ketchup to replace vegetables while dad (or mom) looked for scarcely available work.

As for his affliction, well (in my very best Ronny voice), the man was showing signs of that while he was still in office ("I don't remember..."). But somehow this ineffective (as we would see in the early stages of Bush1 when the Hollywood-like props used to construct our economy would soon fall apart) leader was able to stay on, insisting daily we turn back to a better time when dad went to work, mom stayed home and did housework in her pearls, and all our problems could be solved in half an hour.

C'mon, the man was an actor, and a bad one at that. He fueled people like Jerry Fallwell and Morton Downey, to name a couple, and IMO never should have been running this country.
posted by LouReedsSon at 4:40 AM on November 4, 2003


Gasp!!

Unkind remarks about Saint Raygun? What will we tell the children? Won't someone think of the children?

I don't suppose pResident aWol will protest this GOP effort at blatant historical revisionism? Hmm? If Saint Raygun didn't want unkind things attached to his name then he should have refrained from such activity.

BTW, did ya' hear he once wanted to join the communist party? That alone should give many wingers fits of apoplexy!
posted by nofundy at 4:49 AM on November 4, 2003


Just to point out that this isn't a partisan issue before people start saying that only the "Hollywood Left" would defend this film: there have been unflattering portrayals of the Kennedy's and Lyndon Johnson and I'm fine with that, as I would be if someone did a film about Clinton. I voted for the man, but he was human and a public figure and people had their opinions on him and their entitled to voice them. I don't recall such a hue and cry over Nixon and he was dead and unable to defend himself too. I don't see how Reagan should be granted any special consideration. Some people loved him, sure, but others hated him and others like me, merely wanted him out of office. He gets to take his lumps like any politician, and like I said, if somebody wanted to do the same thing about Clinton, I'd defend their right to as well.
posted by jonmc at 4:52 AM on November 4, 2003


Much of what has been reported as being in the program were blatant untruths in the characterizations of him and his wife. That is bad enough; to do it now at this final stage of his existence, is cruel. His wife has taken care of him and been at his side for NINE years, and for her to have to deal with this right now is unconscionable.

Cry me a river.

Maybe she needs to get one of those TVs that have an "off" button.

On preview: what nofundy said.
posted by bshort at 4:53 AM on November 4, 2003


It's in poor taste, it probably is an unfair characterization of the man (even though I believe a true-to-life story would be branded an unfair characterization since it would still be tremendously unfavourable) but so what? He's a public figure like any other, or do you really think all those "[insert celebrity here] True Stories!!!" were fair and balanced?
posted by substrate at 5:10 AM on November 4, 2003


Ronnie Raygun?
posted by grabbingsand at 5:14 AM on November 4, 2003


I am also old enough to be horrified at what CBS has wrought

What would be interesting to know in the first place is if the list in the FPP (the one right above your comment) horrifies you as well. Basically what I'm wondering is if it is the presumed intent or the actual facts what rocks your boat.
posted by magullo at 5:30 AM on November 4, 2003


I'm sure that the many people who were sent to federal pound me in the ass prison due to Nancy's "Just Say No" drug laws would have loved to have a chance to defend themselves better.

I don't generally watch CBS. At least I don't recall, however I might watch this just to get a laugh. Someone up post said fuck him. I couldn't agree more. Nancy too. Fuck 'em.
posted by damnitkage at 5:39 AM on November 4, 2003


Wow... such hate in this thread.

Truly... pathetic.

It would be interesting to see what dirty tricks have been wrought by ALL Presidents.

Because ALL Presidents have done them.
posted by da5id at 5:48 AM on November 4, 2003


History (I mean academic history, not TV history) will show that Reagan was, in all likelihood, the worst leader the United States ever submitted to.

I figure a couple of hundred years from now his presidency will be seen as a sort of turning point in the evolution of the United States.

I only hope and pray there is another turning point around the corner.

Reagan was a cold, dark-hearted man who happened to loose his faculties while in office.

He, along with Ollie North and Geo Bush I should have been executed for treason. Because thats' what their actions were.

I wonder if looting the treasury by fabricating wars and creating contracts for cronies is considered treason?
posted by Ynoxas at 5:53 AM on November 4, 2003


Because ALL Presidents have done them.

Sure, only who's stopping CBS from telling the truth about any of them?
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:56 AM on November 4, 2003


What Pericles said. konolia, Reagan's been a dying old man for a decade and the using it as a shield to prevent controversy about his sins and crimes has worn thin.

There will come an eventual time in which the hard-right GOP will have to accept the honest fact that, agree or disagree with his political leaning, Reagan wasn't the reincarnation of Christ on Earth. The anger over this film appears to be over "blatant untruths in characterizations" that seemed to be of no complaint in films about Jessica Lynch, the Kennedys, and of course, George W. Bush himself.

(Fun activity time, kids! Free Republic thread on how great it was for Showtime to air movie about George W. Bush. Free Republic thread on how bad Showtime is for airing movie about Reagan. Whee!)

Forget, of course, the massive turnaround in opinion everyone angered by the Reagan movie will make ten years from now when "The Clintons: Insert Ominous Description Here" gets made-fot-TV. DC 9/11 and the hypocritical response is enough of an obscenity in itself. No offense, konolia, but when the conservative Right decides to complain about "blatant untruths in the characterizations" of 3,000 dead Americans for the purposes of cannonizing a sitting president, then they can make their whining about a sick old man convincing.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:57 AM on November 4, 2003


Drudge says it's been moved to Showtime, and the CBS president will be releasing a statement. This is ridiculous--it's not being presented as a documentary, but a tv movie. Wherever it's aired, the ratings will be thru the roof, thanks to the right-wing's publicity.

And I was an adult through the 80s too--Reagan's inaction on AIDS is one of the biggest sins of his tenure, and his life. This guy has a good point about that, and I'd also recommend As The Band Played On for a good look at his administration's non-response to the crisis for 6 years. This is a good overview, too. As a result, Reagan never mentioned AIDS publicly until 1987. Most observers contend that AIDS research and public education were not funded adequately in the early years of the epidemic, at a time when research and public education could have saved lives.
posted by amberglow at 6:03 AM on November 4, 2003


Write the good congressmen a wee letter to let him know how much you love his concern with American history being rewritten. Ask him how he feels about Iran-Contra. Tell him to have a swell day!

Go to the Dingle web site from the story. Email the congressman. The zip +4 is 48124-2027.

Have fun kids!
posted by damnitkage at 6:05 AM on November 4, 2003


> I am completely not seeing how the status of someone
> should define how and if a biography of them is released.

Maybe for Walter Raleigh's reason? WR advised against writing histories of one's own time, saying "He that followeth History too closely by the Heels, It may haply kick out his Teeth."
posted by jfuller at 6:07 AM on November 4, 2003


I wonder if looting the treasury by fabricating wars and creating contracts for cronies is considered treason?

I think that's actually considered "business as usual". History may or may not be kind to Ronnie in the decades to come. But FWIW, at the time he was prez, I thought he was the most facile-minded, divisive and dangerous president that could ever possibly be elected. Boy, I had no idea what was to come.

If you actually want to see a decent biography on him (or JFK, or Nixon, or LBJ for that matter), the History channel has some excellent ones.
posted by psmealey at 6:08 AM on November 4, 2003


It would be interesting to see what dirty tricks have been wrought by ALL Presidents.

Because ALL Presidents have done them.


da5id, read my comment again. I said more or less the same thing. And the 'dirty tricks" of the Kennedys, Johnson et al, have been well documted nad if they wanna show us more, Democrat or Republican, I say bring it on. All nayone here is saying is that just cause some people have deified Reagna dosen't make him exempt. I wouldn't wish Alzheimers on anyone, but he's a big boy, he can take his lumps.
posted by jonmc at 6:09 AM on November 4, 2003


That is bad enough; to do it now at this final stage of his existence, is cruel

Look at it this way: He won't know what he's watching.
posted by jpoulos at 6:11 AM on November 4, 2003


Ynoxas is absolutely right. He lost his marbles in office, and they covered it up for the last 18 mos of his term.
The proof of this is his videotaped testimony about Iran Contra just six mos after leaving office.

It was broadcast on CNN--live. And I doubt it will ever be shown again because it shows clear unmistakable symtpoms of well advanced dementia. If you saw the testimony, you know this to be true.

So who in his administration was the one who decided to ride it out instead of having him step down from office for being incapicitated?

Who would have brushed him aside in a crisis to take charge in a way he no longer could? Nancy? 41?

Pressuring a network to axe the series is just more proof that the fourth estate is bankrupt.

No surprise really. I theorize that after they brought down Nixon, washington deemed they be cut a generous piece of the pie so that this should never happen again.
posted by BentPenguin at 6:14 AM on November 4, 2003


Who would have brushed him aside in a crisis to take charge in a way he no longer could?

Al Haig? :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 6:17 AM on November 4, 2003


Da5id: "Wow... such hate in this thread. Truly... pathetic. It would be interesting to see what dirty tricks have been wrought by ALL Presidents."

oh yes indeed. They're all fuckers. The only one I had any liking for was Clinton (at least he seemed to me to have genuine ideas beyond get-your-friends-enormously-rich) and he's hardly a beacon of decency.

I had to laugh when an American colleague of mine replied, when I asked her why she was so rabid about the Lewinsky affair, that "Clinton had disgraced the office of the presidency". A bit like slagging off a dung beetle for disgracing shit.

I wouldn't wish Alzheimers on anyone, and commend Mrs Reagan for standing by her man. But I dare say they have enough money for a nurse or two. He's not drooling in a housing project while she works two jobs to pay for his medication, is she? Dying of old age, in comfort, is a luxury denied to many of his own countrymen, let alone other people around the world who didn't get votes in the USA.

Yes, I hate the guy. He was full of hate. For gays, leftists, people who didn't fit into their shiny-happy-bible-bashin' vision of the world.

Fuck him.
posted by Pericles at 6:35 AM on November 4, 2003


At the core of Iran-Contra was the existence of a "secret white house" running policy out of the White House basement that ran contrary to the law as set down by our democratically elected Congress concerning the war in Nicaragua. In other words, Ollie North and crew, with Reagan's non-demented knowledge, foisted a junta on the US. That is a massive historical crime compared to what Democratic Presidents do with their weenies.

Not to mention the October Surprise.

In retrospect, ever since Reagan the Republicans can get away with their anti-democratic behavior because it was the Reagan administration that "softened-up" the American public. A decade of dealing with the Reaganites and people had pretty well forgotten that the constitution was something more than a hook for laughs on Conservative talk shows.

No, given Reagan's apology for the El Salvadoran and Guatemalan government's human rights histories, I would put the Gipper in the cell next to Milosevic' for the remainder of his days.
posted by zaelic at 6:59 AM on November 4, 2003


as BentPenguin pointed out, it's pretty much an open secret in Washington circles that Reagan was already showing signs of early-stage Alzheimer's in 1987-88.
his staff decided to pull a Woodrow Wilson and pretend that everything was O.K., it had been done before, and anyway he always was a "don't-bother-me-with-details" kind of President, so. It just took a little more work to manufacture events and public appearances, but he wasn't running for reelection, so it wasn't a big deal.
And yes, the Iran-Contra footage was sad and embarrassing.
But I wonder how konolia felt when the Bush I people, after a few months in the White House, began leaking bad stuff about Reagan's absentmindedness and private gaffes just to make the wimpy George H W look good in comparison to his much more popular former boss.

re Nancy Reagan: it's impossible not to feel for her, just like it's impossible not to feel for all relatives who care for incapacitated patients, but it's good that she finally decided that stem-cell research is not a mortal sin against the Old Man in the Sky. Too bad that she wasn't as vocal against the Bible Folk when her hubby was in the White House. But of course back then she didn't need stem cell research to save her husband -- it was other people doing the dying, of course

I wonder if konolia is equally shocked when all kinds of bullshit is hurled against JFK -- who, by the way, was murdered in office at 46 and didn't have the chance to die at 90+ in the loving care of his family. or, I didn't see the tabloids declaring a JFK-embargo when his widow was slowly dying of cancer (the difference being of course that at least Reagan himself can't suffer for this CBS series, while Jacqueline was still compos sui as she lay dying and so-called "researchers" kept savaging her husband's character)

and if we're talking about "untruths" told by the miniseries, what about ...

Reagan's strike-breaking decision to fire the air traffic controllers.

The secret negotiations with Iran to hold onto the U.S. hostages until after the 1980 election, thus ensuring Jimmy Carter's defeat and Reagan's ascendancy to office — a deal sealed with the promise of an illegal sale of U.S. arms to the Iranian fundamentalists.

The visit to the Bitburg cemetery in Germany, where he declared that the Nazi S.S. troops buried there had suffered just as much as their victims during the Holocaust.

Policy of tax cuts for the rich in combination with his cutbacks in funding for public housing and public education?

His administration's reduction in funding for the food-stamp program during the steady decline in average wages that marked his time in office, in conjunction with his conviction that many of those without a roof over their heads are "homeless by choice"?

His administration's rubber-stamping of Pentagon-approved $640 toilet seats, especially in light of his assertion that "ketchup is a vegetable" and sufficient as such in government-funded lunch programs for schoolkids.

People of color everywhere particularly appreciated Reagan's policy of "constructive engagement" with apartheid South Africa at the height of an international boycott of that racist regime, in relation to the remarkable number of African-American judicial appointees during his 8-year regime (a whopping 1.9 percent) and his endorsement of tax credits for segregated schools.

Surely all believers in the democratic way cherish Reagan's coziness with Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose own people eventually booted him out, and Reagan's deep, enduring allegiances to the military in Argentina, the Guatemalan death squads, and those involved in the massacres of innocents in El Salvador.

Women across the country recall with great fondness Reagan's extraordinary record for female appointees (a staggering 8 percent — more than four times as many women as Blacks!), while envying Nancy's thrifty ability to save money by persuading major designers to make donations to her personal wardrobe.

Conservationists value highly Reagan's continual pooh-poohing of the problem of global warming and other ecological crises, his staunch belief that "trees cause pollution," his insight that "If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all," and his appointment of nature-lover James Watt as Secretary of the Interior.

Workers deeply respect his administration's persistent and often successful efforts to lower standards for workplace safety and dismantle or hamstring OSHA, the government watchdog on such matters.

Everyone concerned with matters of public health must admire Reagan's principled position of silence on the AIDS crisis, and his administration's belated, minimal funding of research into anything related to this international epidemic.

No such memorial would be complete without a partial list of the 200 officials in Reagan's administration accused of wrongdoing, especially when considered in the light of Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese's statement that "You don't have many suspects who are innocent of a crime." And let's not leave out those good folks behind the S&L scandal, in which hundreds of thousands of people lost their life savings.

Noteworthy, too, was Reagan's unflinching support of U.S. Ramboism abroad: the air raids on Libya, the kidnapping of Manuel Noriega, the invasion of Grenada, the C.I.A.-backed car-bombing in Lebanon that left over 80 civilians dead, the mining of another nation's harbors, not to mention . . .

. . . the whole Iran/contra project masterminded by that great American patriot Oliver North, throughout all of which the President apparently was either manifesting the onset of Alzheimer's by forgetting everything that happened in his presence or else setting a good example for us all by taking his afternoon naps with his eyes open while sitting up in his chair at Cabinet meetings.

posted by matteo at 7:04 AM on November 4, 2003


We need a dramatization of the Andrew Jackson presidency. That guy had real drama, damn it.
posted by mikeh at 7:16 AM on November 4, 2003


I turned off the TV last night after watching the first bars of some sort of romantic/political biopic about Rachel and Andrew Jackson. It was on public TV, so I'm sure you can still catch it.
posted by Wood at 7:30 AM on November 4, 2003


Bunch of John Hinckley fans posting today.
posted by flatlander at 7:40 AM on November 4, 2003


or Jodie Foster fans.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 AM on November 4, 2003


So let's get this straight. You can have Lorenzo Lamas humiliate someone with breast questions on a TV show searching for the "sexiest people," or have Arnold engage in potshots with Arriana during a "televised debate," or have Bob Eubanks ask a newlywed couple about whoopee. But when it comes to sacred cows, they aren't fair game? Doesn't that violate a long-standing American tradition? And this despite the fact that four of the top ten books on the NYT nonfiction bestseller list excoriate the right (including the top two)? This sets a terrible precedent. What kind of America do we live in when we can no longer lampoon the folks at the top? If a Clinton-Lewinsky fictional hit piece is ever filmed or conceived, then I presume the same principles will apply, no?

You want respect? Well, fuck Reagan. When he dies, I'll happily piss on his grave. I fear that when that son of a bitch dies, he'll be respected in a way that makes the Janus-faced Nixon hero worship of '95 look like a modest roast. Since when did he respect workers when he crushed strikes and effected industry deregulation or rewarded the rich with Reaganomics? Since when did he respect people suffering from mental illness when he let them out on the streets? And since when did he respect vegetables by declaring ketchup a member of this elite food group?

If this were the seventeenth century, Reagan's head would be served up on a pike like Oliver Cromwell, there for all of the nation to see. Here, when a major figure sodomizes the majority of the people, we revere him as if he were Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln.

Again, I say, fuck Reagan. It is my constitutional right to despise that execrable fucker for wholly rational reasons. And it is the duty of every American to hold every poltiical figure in check, even the ones they adore.
posted by ed at 7:45 AM on November 4, 2003


This is ridiculous. CBS has a perfect right to air whatever they want to. If people don't like it, they can change the channel. If it is provably libelous, the Reagan family can sue.

Most likely, however, it's just simply going to suck. Cap'n! How shall we navigate this tempest! Hold fast the rigging, boy, and steer straightaway for the Teapot's edge...

And since when did he respect vegetables by declaring ketchup a member of this elite food group?

That's IT! I'm getting my pike and headed for Malibu. Who's with me??

Nobody fucking disses vegetables, I don't give a shit how many times they wre president. Not on my watch. Grr.
posted by UncleFes at 7:52 AM on November 4, 2003




Nobody fucking disses vegetables,

First Reagan disses tomatoes, then Bush I goes after broccoli, now Jeb won't let that poor woman in Florida die!


posted by jpoulos at 7:57 AM on November 4, 2003


(er. There should have been <terrible tasteless joke> tags around that.)
posted by jpoulos at 7:58 AM on November 4, 2003


* shows yellow card to jpoulos *
posted by yhbc at 7:59 AM on November 4, 2003


So much for the liberal media straw man. Just goes to show that the conservatives can't ever win on the merits.
posted by Bag Man at 8:24 AM on November 4, 2003


If there are any 'merits' to this, I've yet to see them. Straw men aplenty, as usual, but no merits.
posted by UncleFes at 8:27 AM on November 4, 2003


Nobody fucking disses vegetables... Not on my watch. Grr.

(Spits coffee at the monitor!) :)

Well UncleFes, you're in good company. 'Member this?
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:30 AM on November 4, 2003


This is ridiculous.

Of course it is, not to mention pointless, but it gives people a chance to rehash dinner table arguments they had with their parents twenty years ago. Maybe someone should post a thread on Roosevelt so the right wingers can have a similar therapeutic bout of catharsis.

My god, politics is tedious and irrelevant, and it makes for bad TV as well.
posted by jonmc at 8:37 AM on November 4, 2003


History (I mean academic history, not TV history) will show that Reagan was, in all likelihood, the worst leader the United States ever submitted to.

No way in HELL is he ever gonna beat out my man W for that honor.
posted by rushmc at 8:37 AM on November 4, 2003


> My god, politics is tedious and irrelevant, and it makes for
> bad TV as well.

Doesn't do weblogs much good, either.
posted by jfuller at 8:44 AM on November 4, 2003


My god, politics is tedious and irrelevant, and it makes for bad TV as well.

Wow! Do you listen to punk rock? I think you must listen to punk rock, because it's so rad how you don't care about stuff. I'm trying not to care about stuff, but it's hard, ever since John Ritter died.
posted by Skot at 8:51 AM on November 4, 2003


It's not like the guy is gonna remember any of it if he does see it. Like water through a sieve... but that aside, if the GOP wants to be seen as the party of censorship, then let them.
posted by crunchland at 8:51 AM on November 4, 2003


Reagan, North, and the other Iran-Contra co-conspirators should have been publicly executed for treason. That would have made a much better movie.
posted by 2sheets at 8:57 AM on November 4, 2003


But he's "The Great Communicator!" /sarcasm
posted by wsg at 9:15 AM on November 4, 2003


History (I mean academic history, not TV history) will show that Reagan was, in all likelihood, the worst leader the United States ever submitted to.
No way in HELL is he ever gonna beat out my man W for that honor


So true...W makes Reagan look like an amateur. Iran-Contra is nothing compared to this shit nowadays.
posted by amberglow at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2003


skot, it's not that I don't "care about stuff" but I have absolutely zero faith that any political solution exists to the problems of the world, from either end of the political spectrum.

If you believe that thinking so makes you a better person than me, go right ahead, but I just think that's naive and deluded.
posted by jonmc at 9:58 AM on November 4, 2003


$640 Pentagon toilets seats; ketchup as a vegetable; union busting; firing striking air traffic controllers; Iran-Contra; selling arms to terrorist nations; trading arms for hostages; retreating from terrorists in Beirut; lying to Congress; financing an illegal war in Nicaragua; visiting Bitburg cemetery; a cozy relationship with Saddam Hussein; shredding documents; Ed Meese; Fawn Hall; Oliver North; James Watt; apartheid apologia; the savings and loan scandal; voodoo economics; record budget deficits; double digit unemployment; farm bankruptcies; trade deficits; astrologers in the White House; Star Wars; and influence peddling.

so, send him a bill.
posted by quonsar at 10:00 AM on November 4, 2003


Reagan in Diapers.

Best AOL chatroom ever!
posted by nyxxxx at 10:14 AM on November 4, 2003


It's indeed been sold to Showtime. I'm here to tell you that it better not preempt Queer as Folk.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:02 PM on November 4, 2003


what Pericles said ^^^ way back up there
posted by wfrgms at 12:07 PM on November 4, 2003


From TalkingPointsMemo.com

The only good I can see coming of this is that it puts the lie to all the conservative mumbo-jumbo about 'wingers being for free speech or their being an embattled group oppressed by the liberal media. A little mau-mauing and the plug is pulled.

A TV network produces a miniseries about a former president and the current national chairman of the president's party demands that it be reviewed for historical accuracy by a board of 'scholars.'

The fact that it's put together by people who aren't themselves conservatives (and/or party loyalists) is itself, it seems, another outrage.

Wake me up when we're back in America.

posted by psmealey at 12:13 PM on November 4, 2003


Republicans are not trying to censor US media. It is a lie. The US media is more liberal and un-patriotic than ever!

Bush is a true Christian, a true president and a major cause of world peace! </thick> </trowel>
posted by Blue Stone at 12:18 PM on November 4, 2003


On Nov. 9, NBC will present a made-for-TV movie about U.S. soldier Jessica Lynch. I haven't heard of a similar backlash against that piece of propaganda considering how untrue that story is (which we've discussed before).

Go talk to a Marine/Soldier whom has come back from Iraq, you might be surprised at their thoughts.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:20 PM on November 4, 2003


Ed, he say: You want respect? Well, fuck Reagan. When he dies, I'll happily piss on his grave.

Line forms at the end, Ed. Anybody set a date for this Pee-In yet?
posted by Twang at 12:30 PM on November 4, 2003


Drudge brags about his censorship power here.

Warning: by clicking the above link, you give drudge more hits, thus contributing to his delusions of grandeur.
posted by goethean at 2:01 PM on November 4, 2003


actually, cbs sucks for caving so easily.
posted by crunchland at 2:37 PM on November 4, 2003


Wow! Do you listen to punk rock? I think you must listen to punk rock, because it's so rad how you don't care about stuff.

Um, are you familiar with punk rock? Punk rock is generally politically conscious. For every 'Beat on the Brat' there's a 'Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,' for every 'Rawhide' a 'California Uber Alles.'

I am Governor Jerry Brown
My aura smiles and never frowns
Soon I will be president...
posted by alex_reno at 4:32 PM on November 4, 2003


Well Drudge sucks too.
posted by damnitkage at 4:34 PM on November 4, 2003


So is the bottom line that outright lies and fabrications are okay so long as the person whose record is being impuned with them is, in your opinion, already an asshole?
posted by Dreama at 5:00 PM on November 4, 2003


Dreama must have a screener, because no one has seen this thing yet, just a copy of screenplay got out and really, its not "outright lies and fabrications" as far as I can tell from all the press noise about it.
posted by skallas at 5:03 PM on November 4, 2003


"Impuned???" Would that be derived from *puny*?
posted by palancik at 6:25 PM on November 4, 2003


Uh, no...the bottom line is that no Republican hero, no matter how utterly incompetent-cum-senile, may be impugned under any circumstances. The truth is irrelevant if that truth doesn't meet the strict, "prescreening" approval of "journalist" Matt Drudge, the Republican Ministry of Truth, and the ever free thinking sheep at FreeRepublic.com.

But ya say that some are all exercised over "outright lies and fabrications". Do tell. Odd that nobody, from Matt Drudge to Nancy Reagan to the chairman of the RNC, seems to be able to give an actual bonafide example of an "outright lie and fabrication".

But never mind that, eh? We should just take their word for it. Why would they lie?

Undoubtedly they have a viewpoint on Reagan, and they're welcome to express it. However, they seek to prevent others from that very act of expression. How noble is that?

And of course, we're still awaiting that strangely tardy conservative/Drudge/Freeper outcry over all that other nasty media "impugning" over the past few years. You know...all that juicy innuendo brought to you by DrudgeReport et al....bullshit that turned out to be just packs of expensive conservative lies: investigations into the suicide of Vince Foster, "Travelgate", "Whitewater", the supposed trashing of the White House, etc. etc.

In "Dutch," Reagan's authorized biography, the author, Edmund Morris, writes that Reagan once said of AIDS, "Maybe the Lord brought down this plague," because "illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments." (via Atrios)
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 6:50 PM on November 4, 2003


Dreama must have a screener

Oh, dear. Don't tell Jack.
posted by rushmc at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2003


I'd also recommend As The Band Played On

I read it when it came out.

I am certainly glad to know what kind of people I share this forum with. It's been very enlightening. I am learning that if you disagree with someone's politics or policies that it is okay to blatantly mischaracterise them even when the timing is in the worst possible taste.

I would be upset if they did this to Clinton, too. As much as I despised so much of what he did I would hope I would have a crumb of respect for him as a human being and a public figure.

Y'all can pee where you want to. It's a free country, after all. But I will rot in hell before I join you in it.
posted by konolia at 7:28 PM on November 4, 2003


Here's an idea: "The Bill Clinton Story", by Newt Gingrich. Starring Pat Robertson as Bill Clinton, the man who prayed his way through his Presidency, a staunchly upright and god-fearing Evangelical Christian. The man without lust in his heart for women other than cookie-baking Hillary Clinton, played by Tammy Faye Whatshernamenow.
"I am Jesus come again", says Bill, "And with the blessing of the Lord my Father, I shall shine my light on the Middle East and bring peace to that troubled land."
He permanently bars Markie Post from ever visiting the White House again, after she disgraces herself by jumping up and down on the Lincoln bedroom bed.
In another scene, he condemns Hollywood for promoting the sins of adultery, fornication and homosexuality. He saves particular wrath for sodomites, calling them damned before his sight.
"I cast you out!", he shouts at a group of abortionists who have attended one of his charity fundraisers for the pro-life movement. He then orders the arrest of evil Chinese spies, who have tried to infiltrate the White House and give bribes to the DNC.
Later, he orders the IRS to investigate the National Education Association for what he calls their "shameful greed which has harmed innumerable children."

The mini-series ends with his triumphant re-election thanks in large part to America's Christian Fundamentalists.
posted by kablam at 7:30 PM on November 4, 2003


ed says, "You want respect? Well, fuck Reagan. When he dies, I'll happily piss on his grave. I fear that when that son of a bitch dies ..."

Ahh, the compassionate left, where would we get our humor without you juvenile delinquents?

Steady kids. You will get to waste your life watching TV when the movie airs on Showtime. You should be rejoicing over the CBS decision, since the Showtime version will air more lies.

It's disturbing that so much "passion" exists on both sides for just a television show.

Now don't forget to take your meds before beddy time, you funsters.
posted by munger at 9:01 PM on November 4, 2003


Munger: I'm curious. What lies, specifically, will be aired in the Showtime version but would have been excised from the CBS version? I plan on watching for them.
posted by Ptrin at 9:25 PM on November 4, 2003


Munger, it's not the television show, per se. It's the effect that it will have. If it's inaccurate and millions see it the misconceptions will never really die. If it's accurate and doesn't get seen because some powerful and corrupt people block it, that's a problem because it could have done some good. I think this is an issue worth some debate and passion.

But yes, urinating on someone's grave seems like negative tactics at best.
posted by orange swan at 9:46 PM on November 4, 2003


the compassionate left

Fuck that: I'm a nut job. Where the hell have you been?
posted by The God Complex at 9:55 PM on November 4, 2003


Fuck that: I'm a nut job.

i just it was worth repeating. :-)
posted by quonsar at 10:11 PM on November 4, 2003


What kablam doesn't realize is that he just wrote the synopsis for half the books in the "Left Behind" series.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:12 PM on November 4, 2003


i just it was worth repeating. :-)


It's going to come back and Schwarzenegger me one day.
posted by The God Complex at 11:00 PM on November 4, 2003


Just exactly how does one go about being a sodomite? Is there some test you have to take, or is it just a club that takes whomever? Just curious, as I might wanna sign up, since there's nothing on tv these days, so it might be nice to have a hobby or something.
posted by damnitkage at 12:44 AM on November 5, 2003


Funny, reading Dingell's list of the Gipper's sins reminded me of the things I like about Reagan. Some of my favorites from his list (SDI, PATCO) occurred long before the 1984 election, giving voters a chance to express their horror at Reagan's actions. They handed Reagan more votes than any candidate before or since. (...Thus breaking Nixon's record, and adding 10.5M votes to his own strong showing in 1980...) If Dingell wants to spit into the hurricane, he can be my guest.

Regarding the show, bring it on. No rose-colored glasses. I'd love to see a fairandbalanced dramatic treatment of Reagan's life. He's a complex and interesting figure. The critique of this show, as I understand it, is that it's not such a fair look, but a clumsy partisan smear job. (The part of Ronald "Antichrist" Reagan will be played by... Streisand's husband??? Who plays Ed Meese, Michael Moore?) Too bad. Nixon in China proved that current events can make good art.

"We are not afraid of controversy, we'd go out there if it came in at 50-50, pro and con, but it simply isn't working. It's biased." CBS CEO Les Moonves

"We believe it does not present a balanced portrayal of the Reagans..." CBS press release
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 12:53 AM on November 5, 2003


konolia: I am certainly glad to know what kind of people I share this forum with.

You must be new here. :-)

I had my eye-opener when the war in Iraq started and the peanut gallery prayed for disastrous US casualties, then told me to fuck off when I disapproved.

Anyway, I've got about fifteen seconds before I get gang-flamed for saying I admired Reagan... 14, 13, 12... Just keep repeating, Hieronymous, Fear is the mind-killer. Reagan got the most votes in history. Fear is the mind-killer...
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 1:02 AM on November 5, 2003


And Britney Spears sold millions of records. If there's a lesson to be learned here, it is simply that the buying public doesn't care what what they're buying, as long as it's packaged well.

We already know that CBS kowtowed to the Republican Jackals; what we don't know is what isn't fair and balanced about the film, since none of us have seen it and they cite no specific examples. Maybe there idea of fair and balanced means 50/50 good and bad, which is fucking ridiculous when you're talking about someone responsible for that many deaths. Raygunomics, indeed.

Anyway, I've got about fifteen seconds before I get gang-flamed for saying I admired Reagan

Yes, but you didn't say what you admired, except the fact that despite his flagrant disregard for human life he was re-elected.
posted by The God Complex at 1:14 AM on November 5, 2003


there/their--it's all the same at this time of night.
posted by The God Complex at 1:15 AM on November 5, 2003


I'll join ed and others in a hearty 'Fuck Reagan'. My lovehateloathing for America was honed to a keen if confused edge during his tenure, so I do have something to thank him for, though, I guess.

I'd add 'Fuck both Bushes Elder and Younger, and fuck Bill Clinton too, while we're at it', just for the sake of completeness.

Evil ditchturds, the lot of them.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:21 AM on November 5, 2003


Stavros, I love you, if only for the fact you aren't a hypocrite.
posted by konolia at 4:33 AM on November 5, 2003


if only for the fact you aren't a hypocrite.

unlike, say, those Reagan apologists who are willing to endorse censorship (moving a series from CBS to Showtime and delay its premiere of several months means reducing enormously the potential audience, just to spell it out very clearly for those unable -- or unwilling -- to grasp that otherwise simple fact), all to defend their buddy.

nevermind the fact that it's unclear which lies exactly are being told in the series about the beloved former President (the quote about AIDS in the series is of course fabricated, but not dissimilar to what even Reagan's authorized biographer wrote. a thrilling new fact, my fellow conservatives: tv miniseries are not documentaries, unless you believe the appalling bullshit in the "heroic Bush on 9-11" AND the "Saving Jessica Lynch" tv movies, too).
and, again, "In "Dutch," Reagan's authorized biography, the author, Edmund Morris, writes that Reagan once said of AIDS, "Maybe the Lord brought down this plague," because "illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments."

which is pretty similar to the lines Brolin has in the TV movie, anyway
the astrology, the First Lady as control freak, it all comes from Don Regan's memoir, a Republican and former Reagan Chief of Staff, for fuck's sake. is he part of the MeFi liberal cabal, too? weird, I didn't see him at our latest meeting in Pyongyang

so, again, what lies exactly?

but it's OK because we now learn that it's OK to cave in to the RNC's threats when movies about Republican Politicians don't come with the "approved" seal of the RNC itself. what a nice, McCarthyite fragrance.

shameless hypocrites, indeed
posted by matteo at 5:20 AM on November 5, 2003


Unintentional irony alert:

They handed Reagan more votes than any candidate before or since. (...Thus breaking Nixon's record
posted by rushmc at 6:05 AM on November 5, 2003


if only for the fact you aren't a hypocrite.

konolia, the fact that you march around with your bogus little jesus pin on your lapel, but you were the first to defend a lying, murdering hatemonger like Reagan speaks volumes about where you stand on the hypocrite scale. neither you nor any of the other "admirers" have come forth with a single fact to displute any of the mountains of evidence that this man was a criminal who sold out his own citizens, and aided and abetted rape and murder around the world. you should be ashamed of yourself.

i used to give you the benefit of the doubt that you were a good person, but i don't any more. you're completely full of shit. you have adopted this bullshit "faith" in a desperate attempt to protect yourself from you own personal demons. Which is fine, except that you thrust it upon everyone else as if you, of all people, have the Truth.

Reagan was a bad man. He abused his power and used it to commit atrocities both in the US and around the world. He was a remorselss hatemonger. Millions are dying of AIDS right now because he wouldn't do anything to get the ball rolling when the epidemic first appeared. Countless thousands were killed by death squad bullets supplied by Reagan. Does this mean nothing to you? Instead you suddenly are more concerned with protecting the feelings of the man's wife?

You keep coming back to this line about how we "disagree with someone's politics or policies". This isn't about politics. It's about crime!

Sorry if this screed is a little harsh, but for you to have the BALLS to call someone a hypocrite is more than I can stand.
posted by jpoulos at 6:42 AM on November 5, 2003


I am certainly glad to know what kind of people I share this forum with.

konolia, I don't have anywhere near the malice towards you the way jpoulos apparently does, but the "well I can see how horrible everyone else is now" card is a bit of a cheap card to play. You're starting to sound holier-than-thou even in the threads that aren't about religion.

That said, jpoulos: way out of line, mkay? Ronald Reagan is evil, not members of message boards you never met in person.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:18 AM on November 5, 2003


Yeah, I'm out of line. I definitely need to step back before I post things like that. But I never said anyone here was evil. And konolia started the name-calling.

Still, it's apparently time I took a break. Sorry, everyone.
posted by jpoulos at 7:57 AM on November 5, 2003


Wow. I just realized that konolia didn't call Stav a hypocrite.

Now I'm really sorry, konolia.

And now I'm really taking a break.
posted by jpoulos at 7:59 AM on November 5, 2003


Ironically, one of the things they wouldn't probably put in the miniseries was the most telling. Reagan's "Light a candle in the window for Poland" speech.
It was such Hollywood schmaltz production ladled on so thick and heavy: the little crippled girl walking for the first time, shooting Ol' Yellow *and* Bambi's mother schmaltz.

Gaping jaw, I knew a work of genius when I saw one, and I strongly wished that I had stock in Hallmark, if they issued stock, knowing that the price of candles was about to skyrocket due to the millions of crying granny ladies that were going to corner the market.

CBS should have known that grannies have long memories.
posted by kablam at 11:03 AM on November 5, 2003


href="http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,536971,00.html">Don't take my word for it-here is what Pattiy Davis had to say about the movie.

Jpoulos, it's okay. Threads like this tend to get a little heated, and I don't take it personally. I really do know what to expect when I post-and I still post anyway, go figure. ;-)
posted by konolia at 11:08 AM on November 5, 2003


Let me try that link again. And let's make that Patti Davis.
posted by konolia at 11:09 AM on November 5, 2003


the controversy over the reagan miniseries is making me wish one could stream genesis's "land of confusion" video in full on the web. never thought i'd want to see a genesis video, but there you go.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:05 PM on November 5, 2003


pxe2000, I hate to admit it, but I loved that song. Actually enjoyed the video for some sick reason.
posted by konolia at 1:07 PM on November 5, 2003


The only good I can see coming of this is that it puts the lie to all the conservative mumbo-jumbo about 'wingers being for free speech or their being an embattled group oppressed by the liberal media.

Because you should only have free speech if you're NOT protesting a biased Reagan movie...
posted by alethe at 11:55 PM on November 5, 2003


never thought i'd want to see a genesis video, but there you go.

I'm pretty sure I've seen it on launch.com, but I only go there when I'm drubk, so I can't really be trusted on that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:54 AM on November 6, 2003


I'd never trust a drubk man.

You know, the more I hear about this movie, the more I think maybe it's no loss to the airwaves. Not because of respect to the Reagans, and I really don't like the censorship at all, but because it just doesn't sound like a good piece of work. It's a fictionalized account focussing on the relationship between the Reagans and it takes cheap shots. There's so much to be said about Reagan's horrible leadership during his eight years as a president of the most powerful country in the world. Why focus on his personal life, especially when this depiction of it is so problematic?
posted by orange swan at 7:19 AM on November 6, 2003


Of course it is no loss to the airwaves. But then, the same could be said of a great deal of programming on the airwaves. However, it is a loss to those of us who think that a production should not be deep-sixed because of the bully-boy tactics of special interest groups. Especially over issues as innocuous as showing that the former president didn't care so much about people with AIDS.

By the way, is it just me or does the cult of personality around Regan remind anyone else of the state-encouraged Lenin-worship of the "Evil Empire?"
posted by moonbiter at 5:40 PM on November 6, 2003


another good piece on Reagan and AIDS
posted by amberglow at 6:56 PM on November 13, 2003


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