Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
  Press Releases
  Media Bias Videos
  30-Day Archive
  The Watchdog
  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
  Planned Giving
  What Others Say
  Take Action
  Gala and DisHonors
  Best of NQ Archive
MRC Resources
  Site Search
  Media Addresses
  Contact MRC
  Comic Commentary
  MRC Bookstore
  Job Openings
  News Division
  NewsBusters Blog
  Business & Media Institute
  Culture and Media Institute

Support the MRC

June 14, 2004
Katie Wright at (703) 683-5004 ext. 132

MRC Releases Special Report Detailing
What the Media Really Thought About
Ronald Reagan

Tell a friend about this site

     ALEXANDRIA, Va. --- In a just released special report, RONALD REAGAN – The 40th President and the Press: The Record, the Media Research Center reveals how the national media’s glowing coverage of President Ronald Reagan’s death and funeral is completely at odds with how they covered him both during and after his presidency.

     “The national media’s often gracious coverage in the days after Reagan’s death obscured the unfortunate historical record of media coverage: a chronicle often filled with not just disagreement, but with disgust, hatred, ridicule, and insults,” said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell.

Key Findings

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 they did.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Echoes From The Media’s Coverage Of Reagan’s Presidency

“Pretty simplistic. Pretty old-fashioned. And I don’t think they have much application to what’s currently wrong or troubling a lot of people.…Nor do I think he really understands the enormous difficulty a lot of people have in just getting through life, because he’s lived in this fantasy land for so long.” – NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw, speculating on Reagan’s values in Mother Jones magazine, April 1983 issue.

“Reagan’s approval ratings never put him in the top rank of most popular Presidents; that was always a myth. And his confectionary, heavily scripted presidency tended to lead the country backward.” Newsweek senior writer Jonathan Alter, December 31, 1991 news story.

“I predict historians are going to be totally baffled by how American people fell in love with this man and followed him the way they did.” – CBS’s Lesley Stahl on NBC’s Later with Bob Costas, January 11, 1989.

“It’s been called a legacy of the ’80s, left on the sidewalks of America. An economic lesson about shrinking resources and growing needs in every major city. In Los Angeles, the welfare line starts at dawn and grows all day.” – Reporter Richard Roth, CBS Evening News, November 7, 1991.

“Largely as a result of the policies and priorities of the Reagan Administration, more people are becoming poor and staying poor in this country than at any time since World War II.” – Bryant Gumbel on NBC’s Today, July 17, 1989.

“Ah yes. The dreaded federal deficit, created, for the most part, by the most massive peacetime military buildup in America’s history.” – Reporter Jim Wooten on ABC’s Nightline, January 29, 1990.

“In America in the 1980s, what former President Reagan and those who support him call the Reagan revolution put more money in the pockets of the rich. We already knew that. But a new study indicates that those who did best of all by far were the very richest of the rich.” – Dan Rather, on CBS Evening News, March 5, 1992.

“By many measures, the Reagan Administration was a failure. It left us with a huge debt and an unfocused domestic policy. It got us in a moral mess with Irangate and a military disaster in Lebanon.” – Then NBC News President Michael Gartner, reviewing Lou Cannon’s book, President Reagan: Role of a Lifetime, in The Washington Post, April 21, 1991.

Related Items:
Executive Summary
Entire Special Report
PDF Version



To see the full special report “RONALD REAGAN – The 40th President and The Press: The Record,” visit www.mediaresearch.org, and to schedule an interview with Mr. Bozell or another MRC spokesman, contact Katie Wright at (703)-683-5004, ext. 132.





Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314