How They Think

Many people have wondered how CBS could have been so clueless as not to foresee that a fictional movie portraying Ronald Reagan as a dim-witted, alzheimer’s-afflicted bigot who describes himself as “the Antichrist” would be problematic. The answer, I suppose, is that the people who approved the project and made the movie are acquainted only with people who hate President Reagan.
For a glimpse into how these people’s minds work, check out this morning’s article in the Style section of the Washington Post by Lisa de Moraes:
“Yesterday morning, some of those same CBS execs were working on how best to scrub their upcoming biopic on Ronald and Nancy Reagan after receiving a letter of complaint about it from the Republican National Committee.”
No reference to the groundswell of anger from millions of Americans who revere President Reagan as a great leader and one of our most successful presidents.
“Though no one at the RNC had seen ‘The Reagans,’ the letter insisted that either a panel of Reagan pals and historians screen the project before broadcast for ‘historical accuracy’ or the network run a disclaimer crawl at the bottom of the screen every 10 minutes during the movie, advising viewers that ‘the program is a fictional portrayal….'”
No reference to the fact that the script was leaked to the New York Times, so seeing the movie was hardly a prerequisite to commenting on it. And I love that “historical accuracy.” Sometimes quotation marks speak volumes.
“Though the letter was polite as all get-out, the point being made was unmistakable: ‘If your series contains omissions, exaggerations, distortions or scenes that are fiction masquerading as fact, the American people may come away with a misunderstanding of the Reagans and the Reagan Administrations,’ the letter said ominously.”
Ominously!
“Some reporters were surprised at the turn of events. ‘If Hitler had more friends, CBS wouldn’t have aired [its Hitler miniseries] either,’ Philadelphia Daily News TV critic Ellen Gray grumbled to The TV Column.”
There’s a great analogy: Reagan and Hitler. Only there is a slight distinction in that the Hitler miniseries told the truth about Hitler, while the objection to the proposed Reagan miniseries is that it contained lies about Reagan. But that goes back to the boring stuff about “historical accuracy,” which conservatives are so old-fashioned as to care about.
It would be possible to be more out of touch than the people who run CBS and the Washington Post, but it wouldn’t be easy.

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