When CBS TV bowed to the demands of outraged Ronald Reagan fans and pulled its semi-fictional miniseries on the former president and relegated it to the cable channel Showtime, Rep. John Dingell, a veteran Michigan Democrat, couldn't help but join the fray.
Dingell noted that the vocal right-wingers hounding CBS were insisting that the series starring Barbra Streisand's hubby, James Brolin, wasn't the truth about Reagan's presidency.
So the congressman fired off an open letter to CBS President Les Moonves and urged the network to remake the series so that it was a "fair and balanced" presentation of Reagan's eight years in the White House.
"In the interest of historical accuracy," Dingell wrote Moonves, "please allow me to share with you some of my recollections of the Reagan years that I hope will make it into the final cut of the miniseries: $640 Pentagon toilet seats; ketchup as a vegetable; union busting; firing striking air traffic controllers;
"Iran-Contra; selling arms to terrorist nations; trading arms for hostages; retreating from terrorists in Beirut; lying to Congress; financing an illegal war in Nicaragua; visiting Bitburg cemetery;
"A cozy relationship with Saddam Hussein; shredding documents; Ed Meese; Fawn Hall, Oliver North; James Watt; apartheid apologia; the saving and loan scandal; voodoo economics; record budget deficits; double-digit unemployment; farm bankruptcies; trade deficits; astrologers in the White House; Star Wars; and influence peddling."
That Dingell tidbit is courtesy of the American Prospect magazine's December issue, which also contains an interesting piece that describes how Turkey is instituting breathtaking democratic reforms under its new Islamic leadership.
"If this effort succeeds, Turkey will become important in a new way," author Stephen Kinzer writes. "It will be the counter-model to Muslim fundamentalism and a living example of how an Islamic country can progress."
"The new government has used its large parliamentary majority to pass a series of profound reforms aimed at expanding civil and political freedoms," he adds. "One package was designed to reduce the military's power in politics. Another legalized broadcasting and education in Kurdish languages, a major breakthrough in a country where promoting Kurdish culture has long been considered seditious."
The point of Kinzer's piece is that Turkey - on its own and led by Muslims - is becoming the Mideast's first true democracy.
Copyright 2003 The Capital Times