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Sunday, November 09, 2003


I suppose I really ought to say something about CBS's decision to not air the miniseries on Ronald and Nancy Reagan. I don't feel all that qualified to do so, since unlike those who advocated canceling it, I've not seen the finished film. Oh, wait--they haven't seen it either!

On NPR, a Republican stated that it wasn't just about Reagan, but about historical accuracy. Funny, how they didn't have a problem with the hagiography of the 9/11 movie that aired a few months ago (which, like the Reagan film, was allegedly created by someone with a partisan agenda). I wonder if they'd have a problem with, say, a film that depicted Bill Clinton dealing drugs and killing Vince Foster with his bare hands. Somehow I doubt it.

Of course, movie producers playing fast 'n' loose with the truth is nothing new. Seen JFK lately? Or, in a slightly less ridiculous fashion, did you know that two white FBI agents single-handedly saved the Deep South from racial warfare? But in those cases, the historical flaws were aired in the proverbial "marketplace of ideas." And yeah, especially with Mississippi Burning, one could have some serious misperceptions about what actually happened.

But, damn it! In those cases no one demanded that the movies never be released, or a disclaimer added that explained the films were fictional!

What the Republicans did was just plain wrong, and it would be just as wrong were had they been Democrats, Libertarians, Catholics, Jews, or anyone.

And as an aside, it was a bit disingenuous for CBS, at its 75th birthday party, to celebrate the Smothers Brothers, who were fired for political reasons, as wronged heroes, even as it nixed "The Reagans" for political reasons...

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