CBS's The Reagans
I think Matt Zakosek missed the point of the conservative backlash ("Putting the B.S. Back in CBS," 11/21/03) The Reagans does not simply criticize President Reagan; it is fiction presented as fact. It is, as you say, art, but it was billed as a factual biography. Conservatives primarily lobbied for a group of historians to review it before airing. Failing that, CBS could opt to periodically scroll a message announcing the movie's accuracy. If CBS were confident in its accuracy, they could have submitted it to historians. If not, they still had an option to avoid the protest.
Zakosek also notes the lack of a "similar uproar from Democrats when NBC aired Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot." This is true, but the Left is not immune to similar censorship issues. While I cannot explain this issue in full, recall that Laura Schlessinger's syndicated TV show was cancelled by its producer, Paramount, after gay rights groups threatened boycotts, upset that someone so opposed to homosexuality could state her views on network television (see Bill O'Reilly's recent syndicated column for more on this). Why was this successful protest acceptable, while that towards The Reagans was not?
Finally, while Zakosek does acknowledge Reagan's health, he misses that Reagan is on his deathbed. If Reagan were long since deceased, perhaps this movie might work on network TV, but in his twilight, he deserves some respect. For so many of his accomplishments, he remains one of the greatest presidents of recent times, and at this point, regardless of his mental capacity, we should pay him some respect. America does not believe this is the time for a scathing, controversial movie about President Reagan, as this large-scale backlash shows.
First-year in the College