Benjamin, Aaronson, Edinger & Patanzo, P.A.

CBS pulls plug on airing Reagan movie.

     Last month CBS had scheduled to be aired in prime time, a movie about former President Ronald Reagan.  The showing was opposed by the conservative right causing the network to pull the plug.  What transpired was very frightening to those of us who believe in an independent media.  For those of us who do not follow right wing conservative dictates and who do not revere Reagan as a God, it was much worse.  No matter where you stand, the situation was appalling.
    Having not seen the movie, we are not going to comment on the content or its accuracy.  Having not seen the movie, unfortunately most Americans cannot comment on its content or accuracy.  That is where the affront to the First Amendment and to a free society lies.  We all should have had the opportunity to express our like, dislike, indifference or outrage. Instead outrage was expressed by one segment of the public, causing most of us to not have the same opportunity.
    CBS handled the matter terribly.  First of all, if the movie was blatantly inaccurate or slanderous as some challenged, CBS should never made the decision to show it.  Movies like this somehow tend to write history or be viewed as replicating it.  The network has a duty to the populace to present accurate history if it portends to be showing it, or at a minimum bill it as fantasy.
    Secondly, if CBS verified that the story was by and large correct then there was no justification for it being pulled.  There is more than one segment of society.  Not all of us were happy with the Reagan era.  Just because the conservative right didn’t like the story, does not mean that it should not be told.  If CBS cowered to the right to not show the movie, the next step is for that same effort to be used in order to dictate what is shown.  Isn’t one FOX network enough? 
    Thirdly, with FOX and all of the right wing firebrands on talk radio, much of what we hear is already skewed.  With their ability to stifle CBS, are we now subject to opinions only approved of by one ideology?
    Lastly, criticism of our elected officials is a fundamental aspect of the First Amendment.  It is the essence of freedom.  It allows us to shape our views.  CBS has allowed itself to be censored.  CBS should be ashamed of its cowardice as we are scared of it.
    This fear is well-founded.  The media did not challenge George W. Bush in his assertions about Iraq.  Our government presented us with no proof of weapons of mass destruction, but the media never called the government to task.  Now in hindsight, may reporters are saying that they should have asked the tough questions.  Many citizens are wondering why they were not asked.  The answer is the same as to why the Reagan movie wasn’t shown.  “Fear of the political right”.
    If this country is to remain free, this fear must stop.  If this country is to remain free, from now on those in position must ask the right questions and show accurate movies even if one segment of society doesn’t approve.  After all they do not have to watch, listen or read.

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