MRC Releases Special Report Detailing What the Media Really Thought About Ronald Reagan - Press Release - June 14, 2004 - Media Research Center

MRC Releases Special Report Detailing What the Media Really Thought About Ronald Reagan
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- In a just released special report, RONALD REAGAN The 40th President and the Press: The Record, the Media Research Center reveals how the national medias glowing coverage of President Ronald Reagans death and funeral is completely at odds with how they covered him both during and after his presidency.

The national medias often gracious coverage in the days after Reagans death obscured the unfortunate historical record of media coverage: a chronicle often filled with not just disagreement, but with disgust, hatred, ridicule, and insults, said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell.

Key Findings

Reagan the Man: Reporters often agonized over why the American public liked Reagan, that they couldnt see through the White House spell and see Reagan in the contemptuous light that they did.

The Reaganomics Recovery: Reagans policies caused a dramatic economic turn-around from high inflation and unemployment to steady growth, but the good news was obscured by bad news of trade deficits, greedy excesses of the rich, and supposedly booming homelessness.

Reagan and National Defense: Ronald Reagan may have won the Cold War, but to the media, the Reagan defense buildup seemed like a plot designed to deny government aid to the poor and hungry, and was somehow the only spending responsible for "bankrupting" the country.

Reagan and Race: Using their definition of "civil rights" anything which adds government-mandated advantages for racial minorities is "civil rights" progress liberal journalists suggested that somehow Ronald Reagan was against liberty for minorities.

The Reagan Legacy: The media painted the Reagan era as a horrific time of low ethics, class warfare on the poor, and crushing government debt.

Echoes From The Medias Coverage Of Reagans Presidency

Pretty simplistic. Pretty old-fashioned. And I dont think they have much application to whats currently wrong or troubling a lot of people.Nor do I think he really understands the enormous difficulty a lot of people have in just getting through life, because hes lived in this fantasy land for so long. NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw, speculating on Reagans values in Mother Jones magazine, April 1983 issue.

Reagans approval ratings never put him in the top rank of most popular Presidents; that was always a myth. And his confectionary, heavily scripted presidency tended to lead the country backward. Newsweek senior writer Jonathan Alter, December 31, 1991 news story.

I predict historians are going to be totally baffled by how American people fell in love with this man and followed him the way they did. CBSs Lesley Stahl on NBCs Later with Bob Costas, January 11, 1989.

Its been called a legacy of the 80s, left on the sidewalks of America. An economic lesson about shrinking resources and growing needs in every major city. In Los Angeles, the welfare line starts at dawn and grows all day. Reporter Richard Roth, CBS Evening News, November 7, 1991.

Largely as a result of the policies and priorities of the Reagan Administration, more people are becoming poor and staying poor in this country than at any time since World War II. Bryant Gumbel on NBCs Today, July 17, 1989.

Ah yes. The dreaded federal deficit, created, for the most part, by the most massive peacetime military buildup in Americas history. Reporter Jim Wooten on ABCs Nightline, January 29, 1990.

In America in the 1980s, what former President Reagan and those who support him call the Reagan revolution put more money in the pockets of the rich. We already knew that. But a new study indicates that those who did best of all by far were the very richest of the rich. Dan Rather, on CBS Evening News, March 5, 1992.

By many measures, the Reagan Administration was a failure. It left us with a huge debt and an unfocused domestic policy. It got us in a moral mess with Irangate and a military disaster in Lebanon. Then NBC News President Michael Gartner, reviewing Lou Cannons book, President Reagan: Role of a Lifetime, in The Washington Post, April 21, 1991.

Related Items:
Executive Summary
Entire Special Report
PDF Version

To see the full special report RONALD REAGAN The 40th President and The Press: The Record, visit, and to schedule an interview with Mr. Bozell or another MRC spokesman, contact Katie Wright at (703)-683-5004, ext. 132.