Appearance Alert!
MRC Research Director Rich Noyes on Fox Business Network at 5:55 p.m. ET

CBS's Pizzey Takes Swipe, Urges Iraq Policy "Reassessment" --11/25/2003


1. CBS's Pizzey Takes Swipe, Urges Iraq Policy "Reassessment"
CBS's Allen Pizzey went beyond reporting on Monday night and offered his opinion on the situation in Iraq as he suggested the upbeat attitude of U.S. military commanders, in the wake of a mob attack on two soldiers killed in Mosul, needs a "reassessment." Noting how "U.S. spokesmen here insist they are not worried," Pizzey scolded: "Given how brazen and ruthless their enemies have shown themselves to be, however, it may be time for a reassessment."

2. Ann Curry: Indians "Feel Thanksgiving Should Be Day of Mourning"
Thanks for nothing. During an interview on Monday's Today with the author of a book urging families to learn more about the history of Thanksgiving and to appreciate being American, NBC's Ann Curry countered: "You know there are some American Indians who feel that Thanksgiving should be a day of mourning not a day of celebration because of what happened to their people."

3. Director & Producer of The Reagans Movie Blast CBS's Moonves
In a conference call with reporters on Monday, the director and a producer of The Reagans mini-series, as well as Showtime's programming chief, on whose network the movie will air this Sunday night after CBS Chairman Les Moonves rejected it, blasted Moonves for calling the movie unbalanced and for claiming he was unaware of its content as it was being filmed. Both CBS and Showtime are owned by Viacom.

4. Preview of What Script Suggests We'll See Sunday on The Reagans
Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime this Sunday night, which CBS had rejected, compiled by the MRC's Rich Noyes from a shooting script posted earlier this month by Salon.com. Part 1 of 7: Overview and Caveats. If the final product follows the outline of the script that Salon posted, it will present a liberal caricature of the Reagan administration with an often befuddled and lost Ronald Reagan following the instructions of others. Reagan's conservative policies are presented as cruel or counterproductive; successes such as the end of the Cold War are painted as totally independent of Reagan's conservative thinking.

5. Showtime's The Reagans: Reaganomics Victimized the Poor
Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime. Part 2 of 7: Reaganomics victimized the poor. The script makes no reference to the booming U.S. economy during the 1980s, but is peppered with references to cruel budget cuts and the homeless.

6. Reagan Won the Cold War by Overcoming Conservative Warmongers
Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime. Part 3 of 7: Reagan won the Cold War by overcoming conservative warmongers.

7. Showtime's The Reagans: "Idiot" Reporters Supported Reagan
Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime. Part 4 of 7: "Idiot" reporters supported Reagan.

8. The Reagans Centers Narrative on Reagan Flummoxed by Iran-Contra
Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime. Part 5 of 7: Conniving by Reagan's staff led to Iran-contra, which is portrayed as a scandal of the same magnitude as Nixon's Watergate.

9. Showtime: Reagan Began Losing Faculties at Start of Presidency
Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime. Part 6 of 7: Reagan began losing his faculties almost as soon as he became President.

10. Showtime Movie: Reagans as a Dysfunctional American Family
Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime. Part 7 of 7: The Reagan family as dysfunctional.


CBS's Pizzey Takes Swipe, Urges Iraq
Policy "Reassessment"

CBS's Allen Pizzey went beyond reporting on Monday night and offered his opinion on the situation in Iraq as he suggested the upbeat attitude of U.S. military commanders, in the wake of a mob attack on two soldiers killed in Mosul, needs a "reassessment." Noting how "U.S. spokesmen here insist they are not worried," Pizzey scolded: "Given how brazen and ruthless their enemies have shown themselves to be, however, it may be time for a reassessment."

Pizzey's wack came at the end of a November 24 CBS Evening News story. From Baghdad, Pizzey played "exclusive" video of Iraqi "insurgents" firing a missile at a DHL cargo plane. He reported how insurgent operations are spreading "and assuming a brutality that carries grim reminders of Somalia." He then cited the attack in Mosul, in which two soldiers were shot, stoned, robbed and left in the street, in the area of Iraq which had been considered calm. Pizzey continued: "Another U.S. patrol responded to a roadside bomb that missed them by unleashing a fusillade of gunfire, killing three Iraqis and wounding several more. Such actions provoke more anger directed at U.S. forces, but the military still claims it is winning."
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, Deputy Chief of Operations, at a press briefing: "Militarily, their attacks are becoming more and more insignificant to us."
Pizzey concluded with a swipe: "U.S. spokesmen here insist they are not worried. Given how brazen and ruthless their enemies have shown themselves to be, however, it may be time for a reassessment."

For a bio and picture of Pizzey: www.cbsnews.com

Ann Curry: Indians "Feel Thanksgiving
Should Be Day of Mourning"

Thanks for nothing. During an interview on Monday's Today with the author of a book urging families to learn more about the history of Thanksgiving and to appreciate being American, NBC's Ann Curry countered: "You know there are some American Indians who feel that Thanksgiving should be a day of mourning not a day of celebration because of what happened to their people."

MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught the very ungrateful expression from Curry during an interview in the 9:30am half hour which she had introduced: "Thanksgiving often means a day stuffed with football and food. But one author wants to bring something new to the table. Making history your main course. It's in his new book, The Thanksgiving Ceremony: New Traditions for America's Family Feast. And Edward Bleier is the author. Edward Bleier, good morning to you."

Curry noted how in his book he suggests that we've "forgotten the real meaning" of Thanksgiving. Bleier argued that Thanksgiving should be a "celebration of this country" and recommended that families devise a 20-minute ceremony on Thanksgiving featuring praise for the country and the singing of America the Beautiful, with kids around the table reading inspirational quotes from historic American figures.

All that acclaim for America was too much for Curry, who proposed: "Now, but the idea of consecrating America on this day and being celebratory of our nation we have to sort of say also, in addition, you make, take great pains to be all-inclusive. You know there are some American Indians who feel that Thanksgiving should be a day of mourning not a day of celebration because of what happened to their people. So how do you want us to think about them?"

Bleier didn't bite: "I wrote the history very carefully. It acknowledged the pilgrim's gratitude toward the American Indians, without whom here would have been no Thanksgiving..."

Today posted an excerpt from Bleier's book: www.msnbc.com

Director & Producer of The Reagans Movie
Blast CBS's Moonves

The Reagans mini-series In a conference call with reporters on Monday, the director and a producer of The Reagans mini-series, as well as Showtime's programming chief, on whose network the movie will air this Sunday night after CBS Chairman Les Moonves rejected it, blasted Moonves for calling the movie unbalanced and for claiming he was unaware of its content as it was being filmed. Both CBS and Showtime are owned by Viacom.

Excerpts of two news stories. First, "Makers of 'The Reagans' Bash CBS Editing," filed Monday night by the AP's David Bauder:

The director of "The Reagans" complained Monday that CBS butchered his made-for-TV movie, ultimately making it too incoherent for the network to air.

"We were, in a sense, banished" from the editing process before CBS ditched it, director Robert Ackerman said....

Producers and the stars of the movie commented extensively about it for the first time in a conference call Monday.

CBS' decision not to air "The Reagans" came after weeks of complaints by fans of the former president that it would distort his legacy.

CBS President Leslie Moonves said Monday that the movie was politically pointed, and that he would have made the same decision to cancel it even if there had been no public outcry.

"I was told it was going to be a love story, that the politics would be in the background," Moonves said. "I didn't feel that was the case, and I didn't think it was balanced."

Neil Meron, one of the film's producers, said the filmmakers' only point of view was to humanize Ronald and Nancy Reagan....

END of Excerpt

For the AP dispatch in full: story.news.yahoo.com

Second, "Getting Rough Over 'The Reagans' Rough Cut," a piece by Lisa de Moraes in the November 25 Washington Post:

Showtime programming chief Robert Greenblatt yesterday blasted as "ludicrous and specious" CBS CEO Leslie Moonves' comparison of "The Reagans" to Oliver Stone's flick "JFK," in which the director argued that Lyndon B. Johnson orchestrated the assassination of President Kennedy.

Joining Greenblatt in the Showtime phone news conference, the producers and director of "The Reagans," who have kept silent during the kerfuffle over the miniseries because they still had some series in development at CBS, finally defended themselves. They claimed Moonves never told them he had any problems with the program, which he canceled at the eleventh hour after the Republican National Committee sent him a letter demanding it be vetted by Reagan friends and colleagues or that it be accompanied by a crawl declaring it a work of fiction.

Greenblatt also dismissed as hooey Moonves' assertions that he had been taken by surprise by the rough-cut version of the miniseries and that the producers promised him a love story about the former president and first lady but delivered a hatchet job....

END of Excerpt

For the entirety of the article: www.washingtonpost.com

Preview of What Script Suggests We'll
See Sunday on The Reagans

Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime, compiled by the MRC's Rich Noyes, part 1 of 7: Overview and Caveats.

On Sunday November 30, Showtime is scheduled to air at 8pm EST/PST the CBS mini-series The Reagans, a network switch ordered by parent Viacom, with a roundtable discussion to air the following night, Monday. Moderated by Frank Sesno, it will feature Marvin Kalb, Martin Anderson, Sferrazza Anthony, Lou Cannon and Linda Chavez. For details: www.sho.com

Early this month, after a lot of controversy about the mini-series prompted by a New York Times story, quoting derogatory lines from the script, and complaints from Reagan friends and conservative groups, including the MRC, CBS Chairman Les Moonves rejected the movie, which stars James Brolin as Ronald Reagan, as "quite biased" against Ronald and Nancy Reagan. See item #3 above.

On November 7, the liberal Web site Salon posted what it said was the full 213-page script of the mini-series under the headline "'The Reagans' uncensored." As Salon's editors explained: "Salon has obtained a copy of the 213-page screenplay for the miniseries, and we present it here to our readers to allow the public to review the primary evidence in this controversy and reach its own conclusions."

Salon.com cautioned: "This script is undated, and, though it most likely represents a 'shooting script' matching the version of the miniseries that was originally planned for broadcast, we cannot be sure that the script itself was not further edited, and it's likely that additional changes were made during editing."

While it is probable that some changes have been made in the dialogue and presentation of the film that will air on Showtime, and how an actor or actress plays a scene can affect the impact of language in a script, if the final product follows the outline of the script that Salon posted, it will present a liberal caricature of the Reagan administration with an often befuddled and lost Ronald Reagan following the instructions of others. Reagan's conservative policies are presented as cruel or counterproductive; successes such as the end of the Cold War are presented as totally independent of Reagan's conservative thinking.

Indeed, President Reagan is not portrayed as much of a thinker at all. Instead, he's shown as a superficial thinker who is dependent on his wife and staff for much of his success. Nancy Reagan is portrayed as both nasty and insecure.

The CyberAlert items which follow quote heavily from the script posted on Salon.com. Many of the quotes are the stage directions that show how the writers hoped a scene would be portrayed, and many of the quotes use ellipses as speaking pauses, not as indications of deleted material. All italics are from the original.

The 213 page-long screenplay, which appears to be based on a large graphic file of scanned in pages, was posted by Salon.com as a big Adobe Acrobat PDF file, about 8 MB. Since Salon.com is a paid site, you'll need to either subscribe for $6 a month or $22.50 a year, or sign-up for a free one-day pass and then view an ad before getting to the document. Direct address for the script: www.salon.com

For Showtime's page on the movie: www.sho.com

Showtime's The Reagans: Reaganomics Victimized the Poor

Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime, compiled by the MRC's Rich Noyes, part 2 of 7: Reaganomics victimized the poor.

The Reagans mini-series The 213-page shooting script of The Reagans posted by Salon.com (see caveats and cautions recited in item #4 above) makes no reference to the booming U.S. economy during the 1980s, but is peppered with references to cruel budget cuts and the homeless. At one point (page 153), the stage directions call for a homeless guy to hold a sign declaring "Homeless Because of Ronald Reagan." Meanwhile, Ronald and Nancy Reagan are both shown living inside a rich cocoon, largely oblivious to the plight of the downtrodden.

The Reagan-hurt-the-poor theme begins when Ronald Reagan is Governor of California. In a quick succession of scenes on pages 64-65, a newspaper editor chooses headlines to illustrate what are presented as the key developments of Reagan's governorship: "Fancy Nancy Turns Up Her Nose at Governor's Mansion," "Welfare Is a Cancer, Says Reagan," and "Reagan Issues Biggest Tax Hike in U.S. History."

Then, on pages 78-79, as Reagan is about to leave office in 1973 (his term actually ended in January, 1975), he's interviewed by his 15-year-old son, Ron, who is writing an article for his school newspaper. Ron asks what his biggest achievements have been.

Reagan replies, "Well, I know people hate to hear this...but the state of California has finally been forced to become fiscally responsible...which meant that, like it or not, we had to end the free lunch that a lot of our citizens had come to expect."

Young Ron retorts: "Yeah, but you closed down two-thirds of the state mental hospitals, and all those people ended up on the street." The stage directions have Reagan looking surprised at his son's rebuke. "Dad, I'm not stupid," Ron tells him.

After Reagan is elected President, the script (pages 113-114) juxtaposes the lavish Inaugural festivities with the awful economy. The stage directions command: "MUSIC: "HAIL TO THE CHIEF" as Reagan and Nancy slowly descend the stairs to the first Inaugural ball...to the white-gloved applause of the crowd...Edith and Loyal Davis...POLITICOS AND SOCIALITES, each one more magnificently dressed than the last...The entire effect is utterly regal...Versailles." (Edith and Loyal Davis are Nancy's parents.)

As the pictures show the rich guests celebrating, Reagan's voice is heard mourning the poor economy: "Good evening. I'm speaking to you tonight to give you a report on the state of the economy. I regret to say that we're in the worst economic mess since the Great Depression..."

More stage directions: "DISSOLVE TO: ANOTHER INAUGURAL BALL...This one in a downtown ballroom, but just as regal, just as opulent...WAITERS cruising with trays of caviar and champagne...WOMEN DRIPPING WITH JEWELS..."

Then Reagan's voice: "But make no mistake about it -- we're going to go to work and turn this around." The scene ends with Reagan delivering an Oval Office plea for sacrifice, presumably in the form of budget cuts: "Our government has no power except that granted by we, the people. It must work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back...We can lecture our children about extravagance, or we can simply cut their allowance. We've let spending get out of control. It's time for Judgement Day."

As Reagan's presidency continues, the alleged victims of his budget cuts are shown. Right before a scene in which Reagan fires Secretary of State Al Haig (page 153), the stage directions suggest: "A hot day. Outside the fence, THREE HOMELESS GUYS lying on a blanket. Their signs read: 'Homeless Because of Ronald Reagan'; 'Homeless Vet'; and 'Will Work for Food.'"

Then, right after Haig is fired, "A SEQUENCE OF IMAGES -- Hospital after hospital being boarded up. Signs saying 'Closed.' A LINE OF HOMELESS PEOPLE in front of a soup kitchen. A FAMILY living in their car. A FORMER MENTAL PATIENT sitting in the rain, on the sidewalk, laughing, smiling, talking to the air, catching the rain in her hands, and drinking it."

On page 157, the Reagans arrive at the annual Gridiron dinner only to be confronted by homeless activists. "Let 'em eat cake, Queen Nancy! Let 'em eat cake!" one demonstrator yells.

According to the stage directions, "A LEGLESS MAN ON A CART scoots his way to the front of the crowd, trying to push past the Secret Service." The legless man yells, "Hey, Nancy! The cost of your dress would feed me for a month!"

Once inside the dinner, Nancy performs a parody version of "Secondhand Rose" dressed in frumpy clothes: "People jump to their feet and start to applaud, as Nancy swings into her lyrics:" Nancy sings: "Secondhand clothes, I'm wearing secondhand clothes. They're all the thing in spring fashion shows."

Then the script focuses on those left outside the glamorous dinner: "IMAGE -- A PAIR OF HOMELESS WOMEN OUTSIDE, sitting on the dark sidewalk wearing a pair of tin foil antennas. Her friend is going thru a shopping cart of Goodwill clothes, trying them on."

A few scenes later (page 172), Nancy is finally confronted with the victims of her husband's budget cuts. Visiting a drug rehab clinic, she hears the horrifying story of a 17-year-old girl:
"I didn't start out a drug addict. My mother was a single mom, she worked in a mental hospital. When the hospital was closed down, we went on unemployment, but unemployment only lasts so long. So when my mom ended up on welfare, and gave me to my aunt and uncle. I didn't see her for like 6 years. But my cousin was into crack. She gave me some. Sometimes we'd turn tricks -- not a lot, just enough to buy stuff. But then I started doing it more and more. I got so I was doing crack in the daytime, and wetting my bed at night. Finally, my aunt and uncle found out, and they were going to put me in rehab, so I ran away. Man. Living on the street...you'd better be doing drugs, or you'll lose your mind."

The script directs: "The girl laughs bitterly. The others laugh, too." A visibly moved Nancy asks, "I don't understand... Wasn't there anyone else you could talk to? Your relatives? Your teachers? Your minister? Your doctor? Somebody?"

The director of the clinic tells her: "There used to be hospitals. Clinics. After-school programs. That's all gone, now. Government cut-backs." The script says Nancy is embarrassed and speechless, then has her launching her "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign.

Reagan Won the Cold War by Overcoming
Conservative Warmongers

Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime, compiled by the MRC's Rich Noyes, part 3 of 7: Reagan won the Cold War by overcoming conservative warmongers.

The 213-page shooting script of The Reagans posted by Salon.com (see caveats and cautions recited in item #4 above) derides Reagan's missile defense idea as a sci-fi inspired fantasy, and his Cold War success is credited to Reagan's willingness to negotiate, not his policy of peace through strength.

Retired General Al Haig, who was Secretary of State during the first year and a half of the Reagan administration, is presented as a reckless hardliner who at first appeals to Reagan's anti-communist impulses, then derides Reagan as a "rank amateur" when the President writes his own letter to the Soviet leader in an effort to open peace talks.

In the first Oval Office meeting (pages 114-118), Haig uses a film projector to brief Reagan, identifying photos of the well-known Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and the Libyan leader Moammar Qadaffi for Reagan. The simplistic nature of the briefing prompts Chief of Staff James Baker to gripe to White House Special Counsel Ed Meese, "Jesus, what is this? 'Sesame Street'?"

Hearing that the Soviets are offering military aid to Libya, the script has Reagan remark: "It's like Armageddon, isn't it, Al? The Bible says Russia will be defeated by a leader from the West, who will be revealed as the Antichrist. He, too, will fall, and then Jesus Christ will triumph in the creation of a new heaven and a new earth."

Haig jokingly replies, "Well, sir-if it's Armageddon you want, give me the word, and I'll pave over the USSR, Libya, and Cuba, too." Reagan appreciates the joke. "Can you pave them over, put parking stripes on them, and be back in time for the Fourth of July?"

Later at the same meeting, however, he horrifies Haig by announcing: "I'm going to write to Brezhnev personally. I think we need a summit, to talk about all this. But I don't want to freeze nuclear weapons, I want to eliminate them."

The Secretary explodes: "What the hell? We can't eliminate nuclear weapons!"

Reagan replies, "We can, if we build a new weapon that scares the hell out of them." An irritated Haig demands, "And what exactly would that be?"

According to the script, "Reagan holds up the drawing he's doodled: a missile marked 'USA' zooming out of space to hit another missile marked with the hammer and sickle of the USSR." He announces: "I call it 'mutual assured survival.' It's going to change the course of human history."

A later scene (page 121) has a liberal journalist, Bill Shelby, discovering that Reagan's entire plan for ending the Cold War stemmed from a role he had in a 1940s black-and-white sci-fi movie called "Murder in the Air." Watching a copy of the movie on his VCR, Shelby calls White House Communications Director Mike Deaver: "Think I know where Ronnie got the idea for Star Wars. Ever seen Murder in the Air?"

According to the script, "Deaver feels sick."

After the assassination attempt (page 145), Reagan tells his wife "God spared me, because he wants me to lead our country out of the cold war with Russia." Nancy gently suggests: "You don't need to get shot, in order to end the cold war."

Then Reagan reveals, "I know...but I've been praying about it...And God told me -- he wants me to end the cold war." The script directions: "A shadow of worry crosses Nancy's face."

On pages 148-149, Haig is appalled when Reagan shows him the letter he wrote to Brezhnev. "Haig throws the paper down on Reagan's desk," the script commands.

"No, sir. No. No, we're not having any summits-" the Secretary of State yells. He tells Reagan is approach will never work.

"Why not?" Reagan asks.

"Because -- because for one, your letter sounds like it was written by a rank amateur," Haig improbably scolds. "Either I'm the Secretary of State or you are. And well, if this pattern continues...I will be forced to submit my resignation."

More improbably, Reagan's only reply is to offer Haig a jellybean. "The purple ones are good. And the black ones."

That night (page 152-153), Nancy badgers her husband to accept Haig's offer. "Ronnie, he's not a peacemaker. He's not," she implores. "Get rid of Al, Ronnie, or you're never going to end the cold war."

So Reagan fires Haig, then meets with Gorbachev in his second term. The two men disagree over policy, but hit it off personally. The script (page 193) instructs the camera to pan to a "NEWSPAPER PHOTO: Reagan, Gorbachev, Raisa, and Nancy standing together at the end of the summit. Everyone's smiling. Headline: 'USA and USSR pledge to seek 50% Reduction in Nuclear Arms.'"

But Reagan is "bitter," telling Nancy: "It means nothing. Nothing." She reassures him that "you'll meet again next year, in Washington. You'll make peace then."

A couple of scenes later (pages 197-198), Secretary of State George Shultz announces, "I got a letter from Gorbachev. The Soviets have blinked. They've blinked...They're willing to sign a treaty...Gorbachev wants to discuss dismantling the Soviet nuclear missile-system."

Reagan mystically tells his wife, "God did it. It's why God saved me." Apart from "Star Wars," the Reagan defense build-up is not mentioned in the script.

(Erroneously, The Reagans has Walter Cronkite anchor a news report about the "1986" treaty signing, even though Cronkite had retired as anchor 1981 and the actual summit between Reagan and Gorbachev took place in Washington in December, 1987.)

Showtime's The Reagans: "Idiot" Reporters
Supported Reagan

Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime, compiled by the MRC's Rich Noyes, part 4 of 7: "Idiot" reporters supported Reagan.

The 213-page shooting script of The Reagans posted by Salon.com (see caveats and cautions recited in item #4 above) shows that after President Reagan responded to Libyan-sponsored terrorist attacks against American targets in Europe by bombing Libyan targets, reporters in the White House press room cheered the hardline stance. Only Bill Shelby, a fictional liberal reporter who is frequently presented as the voice of reason, dissents, calling his fellow reporters "a bunch of goddam idiots."

The scene opens by showing the U.S. air strike: "Bombs dropping on Tripoli...It's a huge air attack, as dozens of US planes drop more than 90 2,000 pound bombs..." Reagan, in an Oval Office speech, presents the details: "Today, Americans can stand tall. American forces have bombed the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya, and the terrorist dictatorship of General Omar [sic] Qadaffi has been punished for its terrorist attacks in Europe, as well as its assault on two US planes in 1981."

The scene shifts to the White House press room: "Bill Shelby watching Reagan on a small office TV, along with a FEW OTHER REPORTERS." Reagan continues, "...Now, every nickel-and-dime dictator the world over knows that if he tangles with the United States of America, he will pay a price..."

The Shelby character mimics Helen Thomas: "You can't stop terrorism by killing 150 innocent Libyans." But -- as if the White House press corps is dominated by conservatives -- the other reporters shout him down:

"So what? The President's numbers have never been higher," one reporter scoffs. "Yeah. The Iranians walked all over Jimmy Carter. Now we're finally getting some of our own back," another journalist comments.

The liberal Shelby is alone in his views: "You're all a bunch of goddam idiots." Shelby then "kicks his desk, and walks out."

The Reagans Centers Narrative on Reagan
Flummoxed by Iran-Contra

Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime, compiled by the MRC's Rich Noyes, part 5 of 7: Conniving by Reagan's staff led to Iran-contra, which is portrayed as a scandal of the same magnitude as Nixon's Watergate.

The 213-page shooting script of The Reagans posted by Salon.com (see caveats and cautions recited in item #4 above) centers Iran-contra as the key event of the whole Reagan presidency. Since the CBS version of the movie was designed to show over two nights, the first night begins with Iran-contra and then flashes back to the start of the Reagans' relationship, ending with his election as President and then a concluding scene in which a grim Deaver and Senator John Tower arrive to tell Reagan about the results of Tower's investigation.

What was to be the second night (pages 107-108) begins with Tower warning Reagan he faces impeachment unless he confesses that he traded arms for hostages. The script places "Reagan in his chair, wearing his pajamas and bathrobe. He looks old."

Tower scolds: "You personally approved the sale of antitank missiles to Iran for the purpose of exchanging arms for hostages. You knew that Iran was on the United States' list of terrorist nations, and you knew that Congress had enacted an embargo against Iran. Nevertheless, you defied the United States Congress, and you defied the law."

The script has Tower paraphrase Dan Rather's famous 1988 jibe at then-Vice President Bush: "In conclusion, Mr. President, the action that you ordered has not only destroyed this country's foreign policy...it turned us into the laughing-stock of the Middle East, and the world."

The script says "Reagan looks even more shaken. He glances at Nancy, who is in the doorway, terrified." But his response is vacuous: "I'm sorry, Senator Tower...but I just...I can't believe that anyone under me would do the things you described."

Tower rudely shoots back: "No, sir. Not 'anybody.' You, sir. You. You did it. You approved it."

The Senator urges Reagan to hire a criminal defense lawyer: "Because what we're talking about here is impeachment. Impeachment." The script describes Reagan as "lost and frightened. Tower modifies his tone, talking to him gently, as if to a child."

After that confrontation, the story flashes back to the start of his Presidency, and the events surrounding Iran-contra are slowly revealed. In the crucial meeting, however, when Reagan approves the first weapons sales, he is groggy after cancer surgery, and unable to even recognize his National Security Advisor, Bud McFarlane. The script suggests that Reagan is more of a victim than a co-conspirator.

Meeting in the hospital, Reagan is opposed to providing weapons to Iran, but McFarlane assures the President: "It's 100 measly antitank missiles."

The hospitalized Reagan is dubious: "But we can't...We can't sell weapons to Iran, they're a terrorist nation...and we're supporting Iraq..."

Chief of Staff Donald Regan disagrees: "Iran's not going to win the war with that. All they'll do is raise a little a little dust."

The script directions say "Reagan is so groggy, he's having difficulty absorbing the information." Regan offers more reassurance: "Believe me, sir. All we're doing is opening up communications."

"Reagan looks from Reagan to McFarlane, and back to Regan. His voice has the slightest tinge of dread: 'Open 'em up.'"

Within a few scenes (page 194), it becomes clear that the policy is a disaster. "We sent 40 missiles to Iran and we got Father Jenco out," Donald Regan fumes to Oliver North and McFarlane. "Then we had another kidnapping. We sent over 100 missiles, and we got 3 more kidnappings, and a killing."

Then North tells Regan that the Iranians are demanding a chocolate cake.

"A chocolate cake. A chocolate cake," Regan sarcastically yells. "Well, that's fine. That's fantastic. That just blows my little mind."

Showtime: Reagan Began Losing Faculties
at Start of Presidency

Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime, compiled by the MRC's Rich Noyes, part 6 of 7: Reagan began losing his faculties almost as soon as he became President.

While in real life Ronald Reagan was not diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease until 1994, more than five years after he left office, the 213-page shooting script of The Reagans posted by Salon.com (see caveats and cautions recited in item #4 above) has Nancy and aides worrying about his mental health in 1981.

Just before the assassination attempt in March 1981, the script (pages 124-125) has Reagan "irritably" complaining to Deaver and Press Secretary James Brady: "Why didn't somebody tell me this was lunch? I've already eaten."

Deaver tells Reagan, "I thought I did. Sorry, sir." Reagan gives an angry sigh. "Well, it won't be the first time I've pushed chicken around on a plate, but somebody needs to tell me these things!"

Out of earshot, Deaver confides to Brady: "I told him." Brady agrees: "He's forgetting a lot of things nowadays."

During the 1984 campaign, the script (page 175) has Nancy visiting her mother in an Arizona nursing home. She says about Reagan: "He's not well, Mother. He's tired, but it's more than that. I'm going to talk to his doctor. I think this job is killing him, I really do." (In this scene, Nancy also describes some in his Cabinet as "vipers.")

On pages 184-185, when Reagan is being treated for cancer, Nancy asks the doctor if the cancer "could explain why Ronnie...I mean, some of his behavior..." The doctor asks her to elaborate, so she explains: "His...his forgetfulness...and he's...he's tired all the time...Doctor, I'm trying to tell you, Ronnie's not well."

When the doctor merely recommends a vacation, Nancy is upset. She yells at an aide who tells her it will be fine: "Everybody keeps saying that. It's fine. Everything's fine, they tell me. (pause) Well, everything is not fine. It's not fine. It's not."

Showtime Movie: Reagans as a Dysfunctional
American Family

Preview of 'The Reagans' movie on Showtime, compiled by the MRC's Rich Noyes, part 7 of 7: The Reagans as a dysfunctional American family.

There are a host of scenes in the 213-page shooting script of The Reagans posted by Salon.com (see caveats and cautions recited in item #4 above) that portray the Reagans -- especially Nancy -- in a negative light. Nancy hits her daughter Patti, takes pills, and begins consulting with an astrologer before Reagan even ran for Governor in 1966.

Indeed, Reagan's political career is finally launched when a wealthy businessman, Holmes Tuttle, appeals to Nancy's thirst for power: "Nancy, listen," Tuttle tells her on page 50. "Ronnie's not the only one who can unite the party. So can you. He's the Governor, but you're the power behind the throne. And with all that power, all that money...You'll have your own projects, but you can also influence your husband's decisions on the economy, the welfare state, and the future of California. You'll be the social and political center of power. I tell you -- comparatively speaking, it makes Hollywood look like Tobacco Road."

When Reagan's children from his first marriage show up, Nancy is cold. When Michael Reagan gets into a fight at school, Nancy threatens him: "Either you start living up to the Reagan name, or get out."

Michael, whom Reagan and Jane Wyman had adopted, says "You don't want me, anyway. You never did."

Nancy fires back: "I'm not your mother. I don't have to want you. Go back to your real mother and your real father...whoever they were."

When Nancy tries to get Reagan to tell Michael to leave, he protests: "But I like having him here."

Nancy gets him to agree, and then saves him from the task of telling Michael: "Never mind, you don't have to. I'll take care of it. He already thinks I'm a monster. I am a monster."

A sappy Reagan consoles her: "How could you possibly be a monster? Come on, Nancy-pants. Don't cry, it'll put lines in your face. Smile. Smile."

The Reagan's younger children, Patti and Ron, are both shown as much more liberal than their parents, and both are troubled by Reagan's climb to power.

When Reagan wins election as Governor of California, Patti is at boarding school. "Jesus Christ. We're all screwed," she exclaims as the news report comes on TV.

Another girl yells, "Look out, everybody. Hitler's just been elected Governor." The script says "A titter goes around the room. Another girl rolls over into Patti's lap, and hugs her."

"It's okay, Patti. We still love you," the girl says. The script: "Laughter. Patti shrinks into her seat, still crying."

The divisions continue into Reagan's presidency. On Inauguration Day 1981 (pages 111-112), Michael scolds Patti: "My God, you came to Dad's inauguration stoned."

Patti denies it: "I'm not stoned. How dare you say that."

Michael says, "I need a drink."

"Dig it," Patti seconds. "Let's all get drunk."

Ron Jr. wraps up the scene by wryly singing the Beatle's refrain: "Y'say you want a rev-o-lu-tion..."

After the assassination attempt, the liberal children quarrel with Mike and Maureen over gun control.

"What kind of family is this?" Patti laments. "Even a bullet can't bring us together."

That last line is in the promo now being run by Showtime.

# Tonight, Tuesday, on an episode of CBS's Navy NCIS, a plot "ripped from the headlines" with a translator at Guantanamo Bay suspected of treason.

The plot summary of CBS's page for the series: "When a Navy translator dies at the wheel of his car following his return to the U.S. from Guantanamo Bay, Gibbs and the team head to Cuba to investigate his ties to those at the detention center." See: www.cbs.com

Navy NCIS, which stars Mark Harmon as a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent, will air at 8pm EST/PST, 7pm CST/MST.

# On Sunday night, I'll watch the Reagan movie so you don't have to, and on Monday will report how closely it matches our above preview.

-- Brent Baker