Those who admired Ronald Reagan may want to steer clear of tonight's HBO documentary on the former president if that film's director's comments, on Monday's Hardball, are an indication of how slanted the project will be, as he denied many of Reagan's historic accomplishments. From reinvigorating the economy to defeating the Soviet Union, Eugene Jarecki, who also wrote the film, was egged on by MSNBC host Chris Matthews to disallow the 40th president much of his legacy as he charged Reagan's economic policies "hurt the very people he sought...to most help" and claimed the idea he ended the Cold War was "a myth."
Matthews, wasted no time in getting Jarecki to slam Reagan's policies, as seen in the following exchange:
On Friday’s Need to Know program on PBS, co-host Jon Meacham - formerly of Newsweek - seemed to agree with filmmaker Eugene Jarecki’s characterization of former President Ronald Reagan as someone who "treated the poor poorly," "broke laws," and "committed nearly impeachable offenses" as he asked the producer of the film Reagan why people should be "lionizing" the former President. The PBS host posed the question:
Let’s go to your criticisms of the President in the film. Basically we have a President who treated the poor poorly, did not tend to the sick, broke laws, committed nearly impeachable offenses by your own reporting. Why should we be lionizing him in the broad public domain? You certainly don’t.
Earlier in the interview, Meacham had also wondered if it could be argued that Reagan was a "kind of Manchurian candidate from the military industrial complex." Meacham:
You’ve made the Trials of Henry Kissinger. You have made Why We Fight about the military industrial complex and there's a moment in the Reagan film that evoked those films for me to some extent where you have Reagan coming out of working for GE mostly in the ‘50s and meeting up with his kitchen cabinet, the big businessmen in California. Is it possible to argue that Ronald Reagan was a kind of Manchurian candidate from the military industrial complex?