Ronald Reagan, the former POTUS, died last week. The media has naturally been abuzz, forgetting that we are at war in at least two fronts. While the death of a former president is definitely newsworthy, the voice of dissent (especially in this case) is smothered out of earshot as praise and primrose laurels are heaped on a shady memory.
Add to this the choices two editorial magazines, Time and Newsweek, have made to publish the same image of Mr. Reagan on their covers. It’s not as if President Reagan wasn’t photogenic or well-photographed during his tenure in office and beyond. When the left claims that there is some unambiguous conspiracy in the way information is collected, collated and then disseminated in this country, we finally have a shining example to look at now.
It’s a fine image, no doubt. It’s iconic; the former president as a cowboy, in a Stetson, smiling gently. It’s an image that Goldwater types will cherish, put on their mantles and perhaps salute every morning. But the rest of the world will choose to see it and him differently. For Americans, however, Reagan will always be remembered as the Great Communicator, a gentleman, a man greatly protected and loved by Nancy, his wife and a president who brought conservative politics and thought to the forefront.
As the New York Times article sent to me by John Laxmi points out, the choice made by both magazines is only a coincidence. But it is a coincidence that occurs much too often. I am downright uncomfortable when I see something like this happen.
While the competition in the media industry is fierce, one would think that variety will impose a clear winner. Not in this case. What’s making the newsstands these days is the same old drivel; celebrity profiles, shrinking space for images and real content, the rise of sidebars, sound-bites and eulogies that sell.
Is this what we really want? What does the mirror on your wall say?