The assassination of Ronald Reagan

Pat Buchanan

11/2/2003 12:00:00 AM - Pat Buchanan

Does Ronald Reagan deserve this? Does Nancy, who has nursed her dying husband through a horribly difficult decade as he struggles in the final hours of his life, deserve what is being done to her?

On Nov. 16 and 18, CBS plans to air a four-hour miniseries, "The Reagans." It purports to be the drama of Reagan's rise to power and presidential years.

It is naked brutal hatched work, a smear of a good man by haters who fabricate and lie to paint Reagan as a religious bigot who thinks those dying of AIDS are getting what God intends for them, and says, numb and crumbling after the Marine barracks massacre in Beirut, "I am the Antichrist."

James Rutenberg of The New York Times describes the script as a "deconstruction" of the Reagan presidency "through a liberal lens."

Reagan's restoration of America's spirit and morale after the malaise of the Carter era goes unmentioned. The astonishing Reagan Recovery, seven straight years of economic growth that created 20 million new jobs, goes unmentioned.

CBS implies Reagan ratted out actors to the Hollywood blacklist. The script has him telling agent Lew Wasserman, "I never called anybody a Commie who wasn't a Commie." Pressed by Nancy to take greater interest in the AIDS crisis, the Reagan actor says, "They that live in sin shall die in sin," and cuts off the conversation. The script implies Reagan got the idea for a U.S. missile defense system from a 1940 movie.

There is no substantiation for any of this.

CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves says it was "very important for me to document everything and give a very fair point of view."

Yet when Rutenberg noted that Nancy did not, as the script said, write Al Haig's resignation letter, CBS cut the scene. Now under fire, Moonves says, "there are things (in the script) we don't like. ... There are things we think go too far. ... So there are some edits being made trying to present a more fair picture of the Reagans."

Moonves is admitting his writers fabricated like Jayson Blair. But when you catch Jayson Blair lying, you do not send him to rewrite. You fire him. What is the matter with Moonves?

What is the matter with Dan Rather and other correspondents whose names America associates with CBS? They did not approve this script, but the company for which they work, CBS, allowed these Hollywood haters to make up quotes to tarnish the legacy and destroy the name of this president in the minds of the young, for whom such docudramas are the only history they will ever know.

Do they approve of this? If not, why have they not said that any CBS show that purports to be history should be rooted in reality and truth, not fabrications and falsehoods?

What CBS is doing is truly Orwellian, exactly what the Ministry of Truth was designed to do in Orwell's "1984" -- rewrite history to deceive and propagandize those who had no other source of truth.

One of the differences between Americans and our communist and Nazis enemies was said to be that we stood for truth, and that they denied and twisted truth, and lied deliberately, for their own ideological ends. Is this not exactly what Hollywood and CBS are doing with "The Reagans"?

"It's horrendous, it's absolutely horrendous," says Michael Reagan. The president's son saw eight minutes of excerpts. "They paint my father as a buffoon." They imply that President Reagan had Alzheimer's in the White House. They have him using God's name in vain. They portray Nancy as an abuser of pills who, in disciplining her 5-year-old daughter, calls to mind Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest."

Who did the hatchet job? Its producers, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, are leftists. Judy Davis, who plays Nancy, sees this show as an antidote to "the ugly specter of patriotism" that swept America after 9-11. James Brolin, who plays Reagan, is the husband of Barbra Streisand, who was seen hanging around the set for weeks.

What Hollywood is about in "The Reagan's" is the trashing of his legacy, the demonizing of the man, and the destruction of his good name and image in the minds of the young, by using lies.

For they could not do it with the truth. If this is not the politics of hate and the politics of personal destruction, what is?

For its role in this cruel attack on a man they could not defeat, but who cannot now fight back, CBS is guilty of the premeditated assassination of the character of Ronald Reagan. A thoroughly rotten piece of business.