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Reagan's Dealing With Iran

November 18, 1986

How coincidental that The Times is running a series on "Political TV: Marketing of a Proposition" at the same time the lid has been blown off our supposed policy of no concessions to terrorists.

At the moment, President Reagan's Teflon-coated suit appears to have a few weak threads, but "not to worry." The marketing people of this Administration, and especially the President himself, know what most people want and what they don't want.

Yes, they want sound domestic and foreign policies, but much more than that, they just want affable, good-humored, reassuring Reagan himself. So, a fall guy for the current upset will be found, probably White House national security adviser John Poindexter; Reagan will save face and the avuncular image on our TV screens will keep its luster, as the masses want.

And what is it these same people don't want? They don't want reminders of larger issues--namely, the Administration's excessive secrecy and downright hypocrisy, of which the Iranian dealings are symptomatic. They certainly don't want to wrestle with the implications of such issues. Nor do most want to face the ever-growing evidence that on many subjects, Reagan effectively discourages considering, or even hearing out, those experts holding views at odds with his own--that, in effect, "team player" has become a euphemism for "yes man."

Above all, most people simply don't want to think too hard or too long; political TV marketers, as The Times' series bears out, know this only too well. So does Reagan.

ELIZABETH WATSON

Fullerton

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