RNC to ask CBS to review Reagan miniseries for "accuracy"

I thought about putting this in GD or the Pit, but decided this was the most appropriate place. (Mods, if it’s not, please move it.)

According to this article, Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie has asked CBS head Les Moonves for permission to have historians and friends of the Reagans check CBS’ upcoming miniseries for “accuracy”. Seems there’s some concern that the miniseries may portray the Reagans in a bad light. If CBS declines to allow this, the RNC has asked for a “crawler” at the bottom of the screen to inform viewers that the miniseries is not “accurate”. CBS hasn’t commented on this at all.

It just seems to me that the RNC expects a hagiography of Reagan. So the question is, does the RNC have the right to dictate content on a network?



I probably would have voted for Reagan, had I been registered. Having said that, I was looking forward to the cartoonish movie that the early reviews had described. It sounded like a real hoot!

From what I understand, the screen writers have admitted to making up lines…like the scene where Reagan says something along the lines that all gays should die of AIDS.

Isn’t that skating on the edge of libel? When you say something about someone that you know to be untrue?

There’s no need to make anything up, the reality was quite bad enough. Reagan was a horrible president who gutted social services for the poor, created a huge deficit, got the US into unnecessary wars, and cozied up to some truly vile dictataors, iccluidng our ally against Iran, Saddam Hussein.

And Reagan said NOTHING about AIDS for 5 years of his presidency and dragged his feet on efforts to study the disease and find the source and a cure.

Their kind of in a middle position here. They’re not acting as journalists as it’s entertainment so there’s no requirement to stick to the strict word-for-word true dialogue.

On the other hand they’re reporting on living people so there’s some expectation that there will be an attempt to conform to the actual events that occured.

That said, there’s no requirement that a biography be a puff piece. There’s a fine tradition of mud-raking in the biography industry.

And no, there’s no requirement that they vet things out. My guess is Gillespie is using it as a prelude to a team-building event among the Republican Party. I bet after it airs you get denunciations on the House floor about the ‘liberal media’ again.

And I will personally never forgive Reagan for preventing Queen from coming back to the US after the 1982 ‘Hot Space’ tour. Never, I tell you.

I’m always amazed at the deification of Reagan by the right wing. I’m sure whatever CBS came up with is going to be more accurate and balanced than those fluffy tributes the RNC would put on the screens at the Republican conventions.

I expect the RNC to submit all their broadcast materials to me for prior inspection. If I disagree with their contents, I insist that a crawler be added at the bottom saying, “Wumpus thinks the RNC are big fat doody heads.” Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

I heartily second that.

And may I add that I’m definately going to try to see this Reagan TV movie when it comes out. Does anyone know the exact broadcast date?

If the RNC is so concerned about the Reagans being portrayed in a bad light, why not make their own miniseries as others have suggested in other threads? They have enough hagiography books for source material, or they can get Peggy Noonan to write the script if she can tear herself away from whatever she’s supposed to be doing on Hardball all the time.

And don’t biopics usually have a CYA disclaimer about composite characters and dialogue, recreated and rearranged historical events, and changes made for “dramatic purposes”?

No sane person (in short supply on both sides of the political spectrum these days) could realistically expect CBS to clear this by historians and Reagan cronies or air a “Liar liar pants on fire!” crawler for an entertainment program. But like Jonathon Chance said, this probably just a rallying tactic so the cult of Reagan can cry about what the horrible liberal media is doing to poor Ronnie when he can’t defend himself.

Could you elaborate on this “Reagan preventing Queen from coming back to the US” stuff? I never heard about that…

The Republicans are asking for accuracy?

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha haha haha haha hahaha hahaha hahaha !

Oh, my. Thank you, Ed Gillespie! I hadn’t gotten a good laugh from the Republicans for a long, dreary time.

A line like “Those that live in sin shall die in sin” might not have been actually uttered word-for-word by Reagan in front of witnesses, but it’s a way for the script to summarize his administration’s stance towards gays and AIDS while keeping the story moving along. I get uptight about some of the liberties Peter Jackson’s taken with Lord of the Rings, but it tells the same basic story as the real thing, and in less time.

The RNC is just bullying CBS around for portraying their false god in a warts-and-all manner. They should take a hint from Fox vs. Franken because before they know it, the ratings for this probably quite mediocre movie will be through the roof.

Well, it’s not like they set out to do it. It wasn’t like this…

No, Queen was forced to stop touring the United States when Freddie Mercury was diagnosed as HIV positive. The Reagan administration adopted a policy that foreign nationals who were HIV+ couldn’t enter the United States.

So it’s not like it was personal or nothing.

But it still prevented me from seeing them again during the ‘A Kind of Magic’ tour. I’d have loved to have seen that one.

As it was I was lucky I got to see the 1982 tour.

Hah. What a bunch of hypocritical bullshit. Did the RNC want to prescreen the Roseanne biopic? or the TV movie about Bill Gates? or the one about David Letterman?

Gimme a break. If CBS kowtows to this, I for one will forget about the whole thing; not really a boycott, but a total lack of interest at that point.

I would like a source for this claim. I’ll bet Mercury himself didn’t know he was HIV+ until the late 80s…

When I saw this article this morning, all I could do was shake my head sadly and sigh.

It’s all very well and good that the RNC wants St. Ronnie to get the adulation they think he deserves. They’ve got the dough to produce their own video as a fundraiser. I just take issue to the rather naive idea that the RNC can dictate network policy.

With any luck, CBS won’t allow this bald-faced censorship to happen. If they do, I’m stickin’ to NBC.


Didn’t the Reagan admin bitch about the negative portrayal of nuclear war when The Day After was aired?

This is ridiculous. Reagan is a public figure, like it or not. The RNC seems excessively thin-skinned.

Holy Reagan, pray for us!
Let thy name be held holy!
May those who speak your bio in vain be sued!
Ah, sweet, holy President Almighty, have mercy on us!

So… what? Were all foreign nationals required to submit a blood sample on entering the country?

Shouldn’t this be in BBQ or Great Debates?