by Kyle Chiu, Young America’s Foundation Reagan Ranch Intern
The recently released documentary entitled “The Reagan Show” was meant to pull back the curtain and show viewers what Reagan’s presidency was like through archived White House footage. What was supposed to be a transparent view of the president turned out to be a biased hack job that did its best to paint our 4oth president in a negative light. By manipulating and selectively editing official White House video clips, the producers of the film try to make President Reagan look dangerous, cold hearted, and disengaged. A number of points are made in an effort to convince the viewer that Ronald Reagan was not the “Great Communicator” that many know him to be. Their assertions are flimsy, and their not-so-subtle historical revisions are extremely easy to disprove.
One such message that the documentary attempts to pass off is that Reagan’s actions would lead the United States into a nuclear war. The film takes clips from concerned protestors and biased media personalities to make it seem like the entire nation was terrified that Ronald Reagan was playing roulette with the nuclear codes and putting the United States on a crash-course with nuclear winter. In reality, President Reagan and his “Peace Through Strength” foreign policy succeeded in keeping the Soviet Union in check and preventing World War III.
Another theme that viewers will notice is how President Reagan is portrayed as a disengaged leader whose work ethic was lacking. This could not be any further from the truth. Ronald Reagan had an incredible work ethic both in his personal life, and as president in the White House. As President, Reagan worked tirelessly to advance conservative causes and restore America’s greatness. He signed the largest tax cut in the nation’s history (the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act), defeated the evil Soviet empire, and grew our nation’s real GDP by 7.3% over the course of his presidency. Back home on his ranch (saved by Young America’s Foundation in 1998), Reagan worked the land, built fences by hand, and cared for his horses.
Finally, the documentary tries to alienate President Reagan in the eyes of his own base. In one such effort to turn Reagan’s supporters against him, the film shows two GOP congressmen saying, “Reagan has turned his back on the Conservative Movement.” This notion is laughable at best. President Reagan did more for the Conservative Movement than any other president in modern history. He worked to encourage and mentor the next generation of conservatives in America, including the Young Americans for Freedom. In one of his many addresses to YAF activists President Reagan issued this call to bold action: “Young ladies & gentlemen, remember your very title— you are Young Americans for Freedom. That is your mission above all others. You are the most important in this particular moment in history, because so many of your peers have listened to false prophets & demagogues. Consider very carefully the long hard struggle that lies ahead, and how far we’ve traveled together to reach this moment of hope for all the things we believe in. Weigh the alternatives, and use your strength wisely & well.”
This “documentary” is not worth the hour and fifteen minutes it takes to sit through it. If one really wants to get to know President Reagan, pick up a copy of Reagan Ranch Board of Governors member John R Barletta’s Riding with Reagan and learn from the man whom he considered to be a true friend.