Joel Mowbray

  According to published accounts, the movie opens during Iran-Contra, with dark, ominous music that was more fitting to a horror flick.  Buried deep in the film, and apparently given only fleeting attention, is Reagan’s nonstop effort to free Latin America from the death grip of communism or his steely determination to defeat the “evil empire.”  And we will probably have to wait until the Showtime debut—the pay cable sister station of CBS that now has the rights—to see if the movie includes perhaps Ronald Reagan’s most memorable line: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

  Before pulling the project altogether, CBS had actually tried to re-fashion the final product, making at least 18 edits or deletions before realizing that even with less negative stuff, there was simply nothing positive to provide any real balance.

  If only the Reagan character had been given as much humanity as Hitler’s did in the CBS miniseries earlier this year on the German tyrant.  CBS gave real human dimension to the man who nearly perfected the art of genocide—meaning that had “The Reagans” gone forward, Hitler would have received more favorable treatment than the former President.

  Since defenders of the miniseries correctly note that its critics had not seen the finished film, the words of a top CBS executive should probably be given greatest weight.

  Daily Variety quotes a senior CBS executive, who explained the rationale behind the controversial decision: “We were under pressure on ‘Hitler’ and ‘Jesus’ (two recent CBS miniseries) and on our 9/11 movie, but we were convinced that once people saw the final product, they’d embrace it.  In this case, we had to say they were right.”

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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