Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The Passing Of Reagan... Film at 11

(must...resist....urge to make jokes about the American Body Politic having finally gotten rid of the remains of the spicy meal that was the Reagan Era...)

Anyway - coming from the left side of things I guess I should weigh in on the passing of Cowboy Ronnie and make the expected comments on him being so horrible, evil and blahdy blahdy blah. But that's expected innit? ...and you can find that on perhaps a couple thousand other websites. Alternet has an interesting listing of "unflattering things" about Reagan's time in office that pretty succinctly sums up all the noisemaking that could be done in that regard.

So - instead... allow me to ramble on about the overall journalistic circle jerk (in my opinion) that has been going on in mainstream media concerning the passing of the man, Ronald Reagan.

Watching CNN yesterday - most of the pieces I saw relating to Reagan were praising him. Eulogizing is fine for those who know a person recently deceased, or due to similiarities of ideology would be inclined to praise them. BUT - Since these are subjective situations... they're better left to the editorial commentary sections of news programs and websites. When an institution that portrays itself as "neutral" (as American News Stations tend to) presents an image of the man that (from what I saw yesterday) reveal few, if any, flaws... the whole thing comes off as rather suspect.

If we truly wanted to give the man the respect he would be deserving as a leader of this country - we should in hindsight examine his actions objectively. After all, what was he to most of us? Our primary interaction with him was the fact that he made decisions which affected the way our country functions, and our place in it, for better or worse. But instead of a respectful overview of what he got right and what he got wrong, I was inundated with fluff piece jouranlism that nearly convinced me that Reagan's time in office was as close to heaven on earth as we're likely to see until the Rapture happens for all you Christians.

I realize I've defined myself as a non-objective participant by referencing an article on a left-leaning website before making my argument, along with the running snark commentary...
(Hold on - gotta adjust my tinfoil hat - there)
But I contend that this was done out of trying to find some counterbalance to the "Morning in America, Smiles and Jelly Bellies" effluvia that constituted most of the reporting I saw yesterday. By the end of the day it was my personal quest to find something, anything, that was not portraying Reagan as some sort of demigod who America was blessed with having as a leader for (apparently) too short a time.

Now, it could be argued that the mainstream news sources are merely reflecting the opinions of the public at large... okay fine, but that's editorializing, not reporting. If journalism is meant to be a means of relaying factual accounts of events for those who do not directly witness said events in the present, and then provide a record for future generations what occured at a a specific time... (an idealistic appraisal perhaps) then our current standards of journalism falls far from this mark.

Hell even this posting is guilty of that but then again, I would not indicate in anyway that this was meant as journalism. Definitely editorializing, but not journalism. I mean, I would be hard pressed to be able to verify Reagan's divinity one way or the other... though I often did smell brimstone when he was on television. Increasing the dosage seemed to help with that.

So - to put more of a left/right, us/them, right/wrong, libertive/conserval, democan/republicrat, spin on things and keep with the spirit round these parts:


Portaying Reagan PURELY as a great leader and neglecting to point out his failures in contrast to his successes, has made American Journalism as laughable in our portrayal of our political system and our leaders as the Soviet Union was criticized for "back in the day". The buffoonery of our current duly installed psuedoleader not withstanding... "Mission Accomplished" anyone?


Jeffrey Hill said...

Rest assured, the media, which has been biting its lip about Reagan, won't be so restrained for long. Actually, I don't mind observing the "cold in the ground" rule. There's plenty of time to weigh in on his success and failures. This grace period is like any funeral that I've been to: people rarely say anything bad about the deceased & try to concentrate on the good memories. Fluff? Certainly. That's as it should be.

But, leave it to CSPAN to offer the most substantial material. They aired a good selection of Reagan speeches over the course of two days that I watched and now I wish I had taped.

I would also contend that our press has to sink a lot further to be comparable at all to the Soviet media. Notice, here it was self imposed censorship by the papers and stations that decided to put out the mainly positive portrayal of a dead president (I still heard about Iran/Contra and the deficit on major news shows). I the Soviet Union and still today in China, it is the state that censors this kind of stuff. Night and day, if you ask me.

Jeffrey Hill said...

I noticed that you fixed the link and so I read the "66 Reasons" article about Reagan. I'm not David Corn fan & I must about about a third of the reasons or more I thought were actually reasons to like him - but I really liked the format of the article. Despite the short space, I doubt very many talking points were passed over.