I suppose a worshipful tone is to be expected in the coverage of any presidential passing, but the Ronald Reagan hagiography has been a bit much. (The San Francisco Chronicle‘s coverage of Reagan as the avatar of family dysfunction was a point of light, however.)
But what has really gotten me has been the headlines. Everyone persists in using Reagan’s own doubletalk to describe him. The New York Times headline said he fostered “Curbs on Government.” Actually, he expanded the type of government the right favors–police, prisons, military hardware, even such lunacy as the “Stars Wars” missile defense shield, an expensive piece of conceptual art–while doing all he could to ensure that the poor’s pittance was shifted to some rich man?s pocket.
Are the people who write these things actually thinking? Do they understand the harm they do by perpetuating myths and cover stories about the right’s commitment to “small government?” Check out Eyal Press’s Nation piece on what actual small-government advocates have to say about Bush, then consider what the headline will be on his obituary. I shudder to think.