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 Media Reality Check

For Immediate Release: Katie Wright (703) 683-5004 - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

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Will CBS Include Unfair, Partisan Attacks in Final Script?

Merv Griffin Blasts "Cowardly" & "Cruel" Hit on Dying Reagan

    Veteran television host and producer Merv Griffin, a long-time friend of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, appeared Tuesday night on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann and blasted CBS over the network's upcoming mini-series, The Reagans, which reportedly contains scenes that Reagan biographers condemn as wholly inaccurate and unfair. "It's a cowardly act," Griffin charged, asking: "Is that what the 'C' stands for in CBS?"

     Griffin laid into CBS for denigrating the Reagans when they "can't fight back" since Ronald Reagan is "on his deathbed" and Nancy Reagan is taking care of him all day. An angry Griffin asserted:

     "Here is a man who is on his deathbed. He's in the last stages of Alzheimer's, and a woman who has been sitting by the bedside there holding his hand for nine years. They can't fight back. From what I've read, I have not seen the film, I have not read the script, but I have certainly seen enough excerpts from it in the promos. I mean it's, I think it's cowardly. I think it's the most cowardly thing I've ever heard. I don't understand my own medium which I've been in since the Dumont network. How can it be so cruel? That's not, from what I've read in the scenes, that's not Nancy and the President at all."

     Yesterday, MRC President Brent Bozell circulated a letter to the top 100 corporate sponsors in America advising them to review the script of the mini-series and not to associate themselves with the program if the "partisan, political attacks" remained in the final version.

     Tonight, CNBC will air a pre-taped interview with CBS President Les Moonves. On Tuesday, New York Post columnist Liz Smith quoted Moonves as admitting that some scenes in the mini-series were unfair: "We've looked at the rough cut, there are things we like...there are things we don't like...there are things we think go too far. So there are some edits being made trying to present a more fair picture of the Reagans."






















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