Rewriting Ronald Reagan

How the Media Have Worked to Distort, Dismantle and Destroy His Legacy

Executive Summary

    As the nation prepares to pay tribute to former President Ronald Reagan on the 100th anniversary of his birth, it is amazing to consider that his success at turning the U.S. away from 1960s-style liberalism was accomplished in the face of a daily wave of news media hostility. The media’s first draft of history was more myth than reality: that Reagan only brought the nation poverty, ignorance, bankruptcy, and a dangerously imbalanced foreign and defense policy.

    The Media Research Center has assembled a report documenting the “objective” national media’s most biased takes on President Reagan, his record and his times, including 22 video clips and matching MP3 audio:

I. Reagan the Man: Reporters often agonized over why the American public liked Reagan, that they couldn’t see through the White House spell and see Reagan in the contemptuous light that the media did.

II. The Reaganomics Recovery: Reagan’s 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.

III. 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.

IV. 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.

V. 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.

EXTRA: Reagan, Slammed by Celebrities. Ronald Reagan’s long Hollywood career earned him no credit among celebrities, who ridiculed him and even inserted anti-Reagan jokes into everyday entertainment programming.