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Skirmish in the Culture War Over 'The Reagans' Movie

November 06, 2003

Re CBS' decision not to air "The Reagans" (Nov. 5): It is a sad day for America when a television network will cave in to pressure from Republican groups that are dead set on deifying Ronald Reagan, who was clearly not universally loved. I wonder if any network would shy away from a similar film on the life of Bill Clinton.

The content of this movie was not a surprise to anyone at CBS. The decision to pull this show was cowardly, greedy and hypocritical. CBS will broadcast a movie showing Hitler having moments of decency, yet shy away from a film about a U.S. president. Reagan chose to become a public figure, and in that choice he became fair game for any public discussion of his life or his politics.

David Barrett

Los Angeles

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The continued whitewashing of the Reagan legacy is more proof of the conservatives' effort to rewrite history (not to mention the present). In my recollection, Reagan was out of it, Nancy Reagan was in charge of that relationship and he was indifferent to those with AIDS. If the conservatives want history to be different, perhaps they should act differently.

Julie D. Taylor

Los Angeles

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Would CBS even consider canceling its docudrama about Reagan unless the final cut depicted the ailing president in an unfair or mean-spirited fashion? Doubtful. If it had turned out to be a balanced and well-researched presentation, you can bet that Edward R. Murrow's network would have gone to bat for it.

Despite recently released personal letters that reveal a more thoughtful and complex man behind the public persona, the filmmakers would like to preserve the notion that Reagan was a simple-minded reactionary who was all style and no substance. I wasn't a big fan of Reagan, but I am angered by overt, partisan politics masquerading as entertainment. If you want to transform the life of a former president into a live-action cartoon, great. Just make it obvious that you're airing a spoof and not trying to defame a man who is too ill to defend himself or his legacy.

John Johnson

Encino

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Again, the right wing wants Americans to believe in the myth of the left-wing media. CBS caves to right-wing demands to drop the Reagan miniseries. Funny, when I joined thousands of women and prominent civil rights activists to get CBS to drop the airing of the Masters golf tournament at the all-male Augusta National Golf Club, I never even received a response from CBS.

Florice Hoffman

Orange

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I got a good chuckle reading The Times' piece about CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves' role in withdrawing the Reagan miniseries -- especially the part about how "powerful and intimidating" he is (Business, Nov. 5). Anyone who's worked in corporate America knows that unless you're the lead dog, the scenery never changes. Moonves has a scenic view of Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone, who decides what's best for the bottom line. Why is CBS so concerned about presenting a "fair and balanced" portrayal of Reagan? Isn't that Fox's job?

Tim Clark

Los Angeles

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