Monday, June 07, 2004
In the wake of President Reagan's death, it has been interesting to read the stories in the large US newspapers. Most of the papers were at intellectual odds with Reagan during his two terms. The two most obvious ones being the Washington Post and the New York Times.
The Post did a very respectful spread of Reagan, including four front-page stories and an 8-page pullout.
The Times did a single obituary.
You know, the supposedly most important paper in America. The one that covers all the important events.
And the obit? A fine example of damning with faint praise and basically speaking ill of the dead.
The most important part of Reagan's legacy? Iran-Contra. Not breaking down the Soviet Empire. Not rejuvenating the American economy. Not eliminating an entire class of nuclear missles. But Iran-Contra.
Oh, and the Soviet collapse? Apparently, Reagan had nothing to do with it:
It was Mr. Reagan's good fortune that during his time in office the Soviet Union was undergoing profound change, eventually to collapse, setting off a spirited debate over Mr. Reagan's role in ending the Cold War.
Good fortune??? Perhaps the NYT needs a refresher. In 1980 the Soviet Union was nowhere near collapse. They were on the move in Afghanistan and Nicaragua. They were getting grain from the United States. They were making us look the fools with our idea of detente. Reagan changed that. He applied pressure:
- Geo-politically: Supported anti-communist movements in Afghanistan and Nicaragua. Kicked Cubans out of Grenada. Overtly supported Solidarity in Poland. He forced the Soviets to increase support to numerous locations, which they couldn't sustain.
- Militarily: Increased spending for military. Deployed the MX to Germany. Introduced Star Wars, which forced the Soviets to increase spending on nuclear arsenal and hastened their economic collapse.
- Economically: Negotiated with Saudis to keep oil prices low, undercutting the Soviet's main source of income: oil exports.
Those three areas of pressure were all developed and executed by Reagan and his staff. And it broke them in 8 years. THAT is why the Soviet Union collapsed, whether the NYT can bring itself to admit it or not.
Their "obituary" was nothing more than recycled garbage that they undoubtedly spewed between 1981-89. It wasn't respectful in the least. I am not saying that they can't criticize him. But is his obituary the place to do it?
The NYT should be ashamed of themselves. Especially since the Post set a clear example of how to honor a man, even if his political beliefs didn't match yours.