A 1998 PBS program on Reagan claimed: "AIDS became an epidemic in the 1980s, nearly 50,000 died. Reagan largely ignored it." CBS "Sunday Morning" TV critic John Leonard sneered that Reagan "took this plague less seriously than Gerald Ford had taken swine flu. After all, he didn't need the ghettos and he didn't want the gays." He added, as Reagan's legacy: "By 1992, 194,364 American men, women, and children were dead."
(In reality, AIDS funding skyrocketed in the 1980s, almost doubling each year from 1983 -- when the media started blaring headlines -- from $44 million to $103 million, $205 million, $508 million, $922 million, and then $1.6 billion in 1988. This is what CBS calls "largely ignoring it.")
But defense spending was, by contrast, an enormous waste. Take it from ABC's Jim Wooten in 1990: "The dreaded federal deficit, created, for the most part, by the most massive peacetime military buildup in America's history." (But in 1990, defense spending was a fourth of the budget and had decreased 16 percent in the previous five years, while entitlements were half the budget and grew sharply.)
The reality of the Reagan years was a historic economic recovery, a strong defense posture that led to the demise of the Soviet empire and an America that once more burst with pride. But media liberals were so obstinate in denying reality that CBS's Morley Safer huffed just days after Reagan passed away: "When it gets down to the real substance, I don't think history has any reason to be kind to him."
All Reagan received was mud balls like this one from NBC's Tom Brokaw at the end of 1989: "Reagan, as commander-in-chief, was the military's best friend. He gave the Pentagon almost everything it wanted. That spending, combined with a broad tax cut, contributed to a trillion-dollar deficit. ...Social programs? They suffered under Reagan. But he refused to see the cause and effect."
The "objective" press that never saw any reason to be kind to President Reagan can only manage to do it now to try and save the sinking ship that is Barack Obama's presidency. No one should let them put these two men in the same sentence, unless it's to discuss how far we've fallen as a nation.
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