Public and Media Comments
The majority of those commemorating Reagan were supporters of his, although not all held the 40th president in extremely high regard. In one noted example, Paul Mays, a retired engineer who never thought much of Reagan's politics, witnessed the motorcade leave the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base; he commented "This is history". Frank Dubois, an American University professor, also was there for the motorcade, though of the laudatory praise he remarked, " hurt the environment; there was double-digit inflation. I just don't get it."
The majority of media coverage of the event was deferential. Most major news organizations broadcast the various events live multiple times; during the week, the cable channel C-SPAN broadcast uninterrupted coverage of the funeral ceremonies. A few complained, however, that the television coverage was excessive and preempted coverage of other events. CBS News anchor Dan Rather was quoted as saying: "Even though everybody is respectful and wants to pay homage to the president, life does go on. There is other news, like the reality of Iraq. It got very short shrift this weekend." Throughout the week, media experts reported that the national mourning, televised nearly non-stop on many television networks, provided Americans welcome respite from unhappy reports that American troops were being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, giving them a sense of good news they had been desperate for since the September 11 attacks.
Reagan's obituaries also included a few criticisms. Richard Goldstein of The Village Voice criticized the funeral for its careful orchestration, writing, "Because the networks had so long to plan for this production... this was the most precisely mounted news event in modern times. Each gesture was minutely choreographed, every tear strategically placed."
Additionally, some media outlets were criticized for lionizing Reagan without paying equal attention to more controversial decisions made during his administration. Thomas Kunkel, dean of the University of Maryland, College Park's journalism college, wrote in A magazine that the coverage "would have you believe that Reagan was a cross between Abe Lincoln and Mother Teresa, with an overlay of Mister Rogers." Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post's media columnist, said Reagan was "a far more controversial figure in his time than the largely gushing obits on television would suggest." The Nation ran a series of articles about the many controversies of his presidency.
Read more about this topic: Death And State Funeral Of Ronald Reagan
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