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More interesting than CBS pulling the mini-series, is watching the reporting on it.

By Andrew Pollack on 11/06/2003 at 03:52 PM EST

Alright, so if you've been living under a stone and don't know this already, CBS decided to pull a planned mini-series about Ronald Reagan's in his years in the Presidency. If you're not living in the U.S., you may not know just how much an icon Reagan is as a rallying point for both the left and the right. You see, the right tends to make him a hero, while to the left he's reviled.

What's happened, is that the movie was apparently made by those from the left, and the folks on the right objected mightily to the portrayal. They've objected so much and so loudly, that CBS became concerned that it was offending its audience. Upper management got involved, and the decision was made to pull the movie and show it on a paid cable station rather than the bread and butter broadcast TV network.

Without taking sides -- I haven't seen it, and didn't know the Reagans so I can never really know anyway -- its been interesting to me to watch the reporting on this story. I've seen the same story reported as CBS cowardly caving in to right wing interest groups, and CBS bravely deciding to take the loss by not showing a biased film. What's the difference? Only the reporting.

Wouldn't it be interesting to correlate the editorial bent of the reporting on this story, with the overall editorial leanings of each of the particular media outlets?

Ah, politics. A great spectator sport to be sure.

There are  - loading -  comments....

OK, so you know my political bent...By Ben Langhinrichs on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
but I fail to see how this could be "CBS bravely deciding to take the loss by not showing a biased film". They made the film and would have shown it without the pressure, and without anybody really even reviewing it they cancelled it. I can see how someone could stretch and say that "CBS recognized the error of its ways", but how were they being brave by not showing the film. It just doesn't make sense (to biased old me, that is).
for what its worth...By Andrew Pollack on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
The story, as I understand it, is that the producers/directors were asked to show the movie to the CBS execs, who requested changes, the changes were not sufficient for the execs to go with it, and it was shuffled off to showtime. Again, I have no idea how accurate it was. I have no idea if it was good editorial policy not to air a historical piece without a validation of its accuracy, or if its a decision made in fear of loosing a large part of their constituency. Pehaps we'll never know.

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