Media Bias From 1987: Reagan a 'Potemkin President'

June 12th, 2007 4:37 PM

Our friends at and Human Events have some good posts on this the 20th anniversary of the "Tear Down This Wall" speech.

Stephen Bird takes a look at "What the press saw at the Brandenburg Gate" while Human Events write Michelle Oddis recalls watching the Wall fall on TV as a child, and looking back on it with a deeper appreciation for its significance in her post "Tear Down This Wall."

For a flavor of each piece, check the excerpts below the fold.


On this 20th anniversary of the day Ronald Reagan dared Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear Down this Wall” while standing at the Brandenburg Gate, one needs only to read a few headlines from the week that followed to capture the angst of some in the Cold War press.

Much of that angst was directed at Reagan, who by June 12, 1987, had been written off as a cold warrior.

“A Potemkin President: Reagan is losing the air of authority,” declared one column in The New York Times, before the writer went on to announce that the presidency was “ceasing to function” and predict, “19 months of a surreal Presidency to go. If it lasts.” Perhaps one could call it a generation gap.


I was a little girl when they took down the Berlin Wall. I watched on TV with my mother as young men and women passionately chipped away day and night at a brightly colored graffiti’ed wall, while 80’s pop legends U2 blared in the background. I wasn’t exactly sure what the dismantling of the wall meant but even at age seven I felt tingles of anticipation, understanding that this event was very significant.

Now, as a young conservative, I’ve begun to understand much more about what led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and its great symbolism. For Eastern Europe it meant freedom, and for America it meant the end of the Soviet threat. Now it’s easy to associate those men and women chipping away at that brightly colored wall with one man, and a single phrase: Ronald Reagan, saying, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

For Noel Sheppard's earlier NewsBusters post with video of the June 12, 1987 speech and a transcript of Reagan's remarks, click here.