Skip to comments.CBS dancing to Republican tune
Posted on 11/10/2003 11:11:34 AM PST by holymoly
CBS dancing to Republican tune
I'm thinking of having the above photo retaken in order to show the drywall embedded in my forehead. It's a wonder I stopped bashing my head long enough to eke out this column.
It's been that kind of week. First, there was CBS's dumping of its sweeps period biopic The Reagans after a right wing-organized backlash, and then, at Thursday's Canadian Journalists For Free Expression awards dinner, I got into a surreal argument with a TV network foreign affairs producer who made the outrageous claim that the U.S. never lied about its motives for attacking Iraq.
The two events are related because it has been my experience in the past two years that, every time you raise an issue that makes those on the right uncomfortable, they change the subject and argue about something else.
And so, in making his case about how the Bushies made their case for killing thousands of people in Iraq, my TV foreign affairs colleague kept shifting the debate the way a desert wind shifts the sands. No, the White House never said the U.S. was in imminent danger of attack by nuke-yule-er weapons wielded by terrorists, he said. It merely "sold'' the war wrong. No, President George W. Bush never mentioned that bit about 45 minutes to annihilation. That was Tony Blair. And so on.
As for The Reagans which, like any docudrama, likely boasts as much drama as doc, it was denounced by one writer for the Wall Street Journal as a "cartoon plot" best summarized as "Mommie Dearest Manipulates President Fuddy Duddy." Meanwhile the paper's deputy editorial page editor Daniel Henninger fulminated over how the now Alzheimer's-afflicted president was played by James Brolin, who is guilty of being "partner of America's most invested Republican hater," Barbra Streisand. Almost as bad was hiring an Australian actress Emmy-winning Judy Davis to be former First Lady Nancy Davis Reagan who, it shall be remembered, was indeed called "Mommy" by her husband.
Naturally, the pro-Reagans, anti-Reagans forces dragged out their favourite burning cross: the sins of the so-called liberal media. The script here is that, when the media report news that the right doesn't like, its defenders counterattack by screaming left-wing bias rather than admit that Bush could be a big fat liar. Last week, one of my favourite cartoonists Tom Toles illustrated this brilliantly by showing a CBS announcer saying the network won't be airing The Reagans "because it's full of inaccuracies, hostile in tone and completely misleading" and then, looking off camera, asking, "What do we do about this Bush press conference?''
Oh the horror, the horror, of allowing travesties of truth, justice and good taste on the corporate-controlled supposed public airwaves. Never mind that Viacom, which owns CBS, is awaiting new broadcast rules that will allow it to expand its considerable media dominion. So duh! It's going to do what the Republicans want it to do.
But the Ronald Reagan-loving critics overlook that, claiming victory over the liberal media, which had merely set out to trash their beloved Gipper and, among other things, his appalling record on AIDS. Even though these critics never saw the show, and even though Reagan never mentioned AIDS for the first six years of his administration. Anyway, do they honestly believe that CBS, which owns the older, more conservative demographic, would risk a single eyeball with a smear job?
So now The Reagans has been offloaded to CBS's smaller cable sister network Showtime. My guess is that Showtime, which says it will follow the presentation with a panel discussion, never runs the now heavily edited and re-edited miniseries.
Meanwhile, the late great Edward R. Murrow who, along with his producer Fred Friendly and CBS, helped bring down Commie-hunter Joseph McCarthy, spins in his grave.
If that's not enough irony for you, consider this: President Ronald Reagan was the guy who, in 1987, vetoed legislation, passed by both the U.S. Congress and the Senate, that would have entrenched the "Fairness Doctrine.'' As a president who was big on keeping government out of the business of business, he did not see the value in a law that would have forced broadcasters to present balanced accounts of controversial issues.
This is not to say that the Fairness Doctrine was without problems from a freedom of the press standpoint. But abolishing it led to even more trouble in television land, including the creation of entire "news" networks that spew lots of opinion and little fact.
The Reagans was never meant to be a news program. It was designed as drama, and cheesy drama at that. But its critics seem to be saying that most Americans can't discern between TV fiction and news.
Considering the record lately, they could be right.
That's OK. There was nothing to the article either.
Antonia sure looks butch, doesn't she?!
Too many Canadians - especially the writers of the Toronto Star, arguably one of the most liberal papers in that country - have an extremely unhealthy obsession with the United States. Why the hell should they care what an American network decides to do about a miniseries about an American president?
Oh yeah, because Reagan's a conservative and all TV networks everywhere have a sworn duty to air nothing but far-left propaganda hit pieces 24/7. Right.
Up yours, Antonia. The media has a permanent left-wing bias, not just when it suits the right, and, further, I defy you to find one instance of an outright lie told by the President.
You see, according to our intrepid author, prior to 1987 there was no bias in television news. It's only emerged since then . . .
This pretty much explains the left-wing mind-set.
I hate to break it to him (or her, depending on which picture above is correct), but the Fairness Doctrine only applied to BROADCAST television: TV and radio stations. It would not have prevented the launch of Fox News Channel (the only network the jackass author of this article could possibly have been talking about ... and lying about.
And, of course, it never stopped the broadcast news media from being overtly liberal all those years anyway. The only place it was ever really enforced was on talk radio, where opinion was clearly labeled as opinion. As long as you claimed to be "impartial news", you were left alone, no matter how partial you actually were.
Which I guess is my nice way of saying STFU, Canadians, when you don't have a damn clue what you're talking about.
Hmmm...looks like someone needs to rethink their hormone treatment.