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Showtime Hails Gorbachev as the ‘Real Democrat,’ Despairs Reagan Enabled ‘Growth of a Right-Wing Media Empire’

Monday night, viewers of CBS-owned Showtime were treated to the ninth of ten installments of Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, which has attacked U.S. leaders – from FDR to Ronald Reagan – from the far-left while hailing the virtues of communists.

Last Monday’s installment, on Carter and Reagan, offered a representative sampling of Stone’s worldview, an hour which included displaying a woman holding the Media Research Center’s “Don’t Believe the Liberal Media” placard as he fretted over how President Reagan “enabled the growth of a right-wing media empire” which has “dramatically lower the standards of American political discourse and, in general, doom prospects for progressive change.”

That “right-wing media empire” is made up of “a number of interlocked, well-funded conservative think-tanks that helped shape a new Washington group think. Playing up fears, resentments and hatred of government,” a paranoid Stone warned as he ominously cited players which hardly match the reach of ABC, CBS, NBC or the New York Times: “Clear Channel, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, Talk Radio Network, Salem Radio, the USA Radio network, and Radio America.”

Reagan’s policies, Stone lazily maintained, “weakened the middle class, busted unions, heightened the racial divides, widened the gap between rich and poor.”

Audio: MP3 clip

“As far as Reagan’s much-vaunted role in winning the Cold War,” Stone decided “the lion’s share of credit goes to Mikhail Gorbachev -- a true visionary and, it turns out, the real democrat.”

He proceeded to regret: “If Reagan had entered into the sincere partnership offered by Gorbachev, as Roosevelt did with Stalin in World War II, the world would have been transformed. But Ronald Reagan, at the least, let the chance to rid the world of nuclear weapons slip through his fingers, because he wouldn’t let go of a space fantasy.”

From mid-November: “CBS-Owned Showtime’s Oliver Stone Mini-Series to Deliver Soviet Version of U.S. History

From the Untold History of the United States, part eight, first aired on Monday night, December 31, on Showtime:

OLIVER STONE: ...What is Reagan’s real legacy? Once a Roosevelt Democrat, he developed an extreme contempt for government that was legendary. Yet, he spent enormous sums on the military while cutting social programs for the poor. He reduced taxes on the wealthy, doubled both the military budget and the national debt, and in a revolutionary change, transformed the United States from the world’s leading creditor nation in 1981 into the biggest debtor nation by 1985. He deregulated industries, eroded environmental standards, defiantly ripping down the solar panels that Jimmy Carter had put on the White House roof, weakened the middle class, busted unions, heightened the racial divides, widened the gap between rich and poor.

FROM ‘WALL STREET’ MOVIE: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

STONE: And abetted companies in shipping manufacturing jobs abroad. He deregulated savings and loans institutions which led to the first giant too-big-to-fail government bailouts of troubled banks and failed savings and loans, which by 1995 would cost the taxpayers $87 billion. Under the guise of privatization and Reagan’s extolling of market forces, Wall Street went on an enormous “greed is good” looting binge that resulted, in October 1987, in the worst stock market collapse since the Great Depression. In a parting gift to future conservatives, in 1987 the FCC, with Reagan’s help, repealed the Fairness Doctrine, which had required broadcasters, since the 1940s, to give adequate and fair coverage to opposing views on issues of public importance.

As a result, Rush Limbaugh and talk radio exploded on the scene, finding a massive audience. This, and the gradual loosening of limitations on the number of stations a company could own had, by 1996, enabled the growth of a right-wing media empire. With it came a number of interlocked, well-funded conservative think-tanks that helped shape a new Washington group think. Playing up fears, resentments and hatred of government, by the end of the ‘90s, Clear Channel, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, Talk Radio Network, Salem Radio, the USA Radio network, and Radio America, as well as the proliferation of cable television networks, had created a movement that would dramatically lower the standards of American political discourse and, in general, doom prospects for progressive change....

As far as Reagan’s much-vaunted role in winning the Cold War, the lion’s share of credit goes to Mikhail Gorbachev -- a true visionary and, it turns out, the real democrat. If Reagan had entered into the sincere partnership offered by Gorbachev, as Roosevelt did with Stalin in World War II, the world would have been transformed. But Ronald Reagan, at the least, let the chance to rid the world of nuclear weapons slip through his fingers, because he wouldn’t let go of a space fantasy...

-- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.