Once again, the left-leaning mainstream media have egg all over their faces thanks to the voice of my Dad, Ronald Reagan, speaking from his eternal resting place.
Over the past week, since the Reagan Diaries were released, the media have focused on everything except what to me is the most the significant result of their publication: the self-portrayal that once again proves the lie in the false picture of him the media long sought to draw -- that of a less-than-intelligent former actor scarcely smart enough to remember his lines much less govern America.
The Media Research Council’s Brent Bozell once accurately described the media’s attitude during the Reagan administration as “fiercely hostile and often indistinguishable from the Democratic talking points of the day.”
Much of that hostility expressed itself by suggesting that my dad was the “amiable dunce” a biographer inexcusably called him to the delight of the liberal media elite, which could never accept the idea that a former Hollywood actor was in the end a lot smarter and had far more common sense than any of them up there in their ivory towers.
In his diaries, however, my Dad revealed himself to be the man I knew, and anything but an “amiable dunce.” Open the pages of his diaries, brilliantly edited by the slightly liberal Douglas Brinkley -- whose honesty and decency allowed him to see the real Ronald Reagan and not the parody created by the media -- and you encounter the extraordinary human being divine providence gave this nation at a time when such a man was needed at the helm.
The picture my Dad paints of himself as he muses upon the events of each of his days in the White House is that of a thoughtful man always willing to speak well of others (including his opponents), always reluctant to criticize his foes, and fiercely determined to crush the evil he recognized in the face of international Communism and to restore America to the greatness that had diminished since his youth.
The man we encounter, brilliant and keenly perceptive as he showed himself to be in the pages of his daily journal, was a simple uncomplicated human being armed with a rock-hard faith in God and an unshakeable belief in the inherent goodness of his fellow man. And he spent a lifetime seeking to find the light of that goodness in everyone he encountered, including the very man who ruled the empire he called evil.
The allegedly sophisticated media elite scoffed at the notion that this simple man, the product of a simpler time, could grasp the intricacies of modern government or understand the complexities involved in forging relationships with other nations. They were shocked, shocked, therefore, when he dared to call the Soviet Union the Evil Empire, mainly because in their secularized view there is no such thing as evil. In their jaundiced eyes, men don’t sin, they only make mistakes.
The media saw my dad as being airily disinterested in anything but the nostrums of Middle America – the “fly-over country” they despise. The diaries, however, reveal him as being fully engaged with the issues of his times, carefully mulling over the problems he faced and making his decisions as to how to handle them based on both his knowledge of the matters and his ability to put aside the current wisdom and cut right to the heart of any problem.
Because my Dad was a simple uncomplicated man, the media decided that he was not only simple, but therefore was also simple minded.
Ronald Reagan kept his diary so people in the future would have an understanding of his presidency from his point of view and the vantage point of history, and not that of the liberal media’s dishonest and biased standpoint.
It has to be galling to them to see their carefully constructed illusions shattered by the publication of his diaries and what they reveal about a giant who in their malice they insisted on describing as a pygmy.
Once again, the Gipper’s spirit has triumphed.