Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Revering Reagan.

Today's print version of the Telegram & Gazette featured a rather ballsy 'opinion' piece by Michael Reagan.  (I can't find the link for the piece on the website- apparently you only get the misfortune of reading Michael Reagan if you pay for home delivery.  Reagan isn't listed in their Syndicated Columnist list on the Opinion Page.)
Michael Reagan has made a career out of revering his adopted father, and I'm pretty sure if he was the adopted son of Gerald Ford, he wouldn't have much of a career in political 'journalism.'  He had a few whoppers in his piece, including the title, Ronald Reagan; Our First Black President?  He believes that Ronald Reagan was our first 'black' president, but he states:
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Hyperbole like this is meaningless and omnipresent in Michael Reagan's articles, and is the reason I usually don't read his work.  It was Michael Reagan's manipulation of the unemployment statistics and whitewashing of Ronald Reagan's actual record on race relations that caught my attention.
Michael Reagan uses the last six years of economic data during the Reagan Administration to make his case, and contrasts Reagan's final six years with the first two years of the Obama Administration, which is a terrible comparison, as Mediamatters.org points out.

 (This chart and a longer view of unemployment rates by race can be found here.)
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Michael Reagan proudly points out that:
"In a White House Rose Garden ceremony in 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill honoring Dr. King with a federal holiday on the third Monday of January every year."
He neglects to mention his stepfather's initial opposition to the holiday that vanished in the face of overwhelming support for a national holiday.  Michael Reagan is also strangely silent on his stepfather's belief in State's Rights, which was widely used as a code word for supporting Jim Crow and segregation.
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If it isn't Glenn Beck co-opting Dr. King's legacy, it's Michael Reagan misrepresenting his stepfather's legacy for political gain, and it only works if we don't know our history.  Perhaps this article was a nod to the Telegram & Gazette's past associations with the John Birch Society.  Maybe it was just filler for a paper that has consistently cut back on local content and actual employees in their building producing a local paper.  Either way, shame on the Telegram & Gazette for printing such revisionist garbage.

1 comment:

Sean said...

My favorite Michael Reagan story: Decades ago, Ol' Ronnie Reagan gave the commencement speech at a posh prep school graduation and as he walked down the line shaking students' hands, he said to one of them, "What's your name, young man?"

"It's me, Michael; your son!", the boy exclaimed.

"Oh," said a surprised Gipper, "I didn't recognize you."