Patti Davis says Reagan wouldn’t have tolerated campaign against the press

Former first daughter Patti Davis says that her father, Ronald Reagan (who took plenty of shots from the media), would never have tolerated the constant campaign of vilification of the Fourth Estate that the current occupant of the Oval Office encourages and leads with his ridiculous endless stream of insults.

The full piece, from the Washington Post, is here.

Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve tried to imagine what my father would have done if people attending a political speech of his had turned to the press and raised their middle fingers, hurled obscenities or physically menaced the reporters who were there doing their jobs. I found it difficult to conjure the image, and then I realized why. It simply wouldn’t have happened. The person on the podium, the person everyone has gathered to see, sets the tone.

President Trump has quite successfully set today’s tone. He expertly stirred up the anger that was already simmering in the people who support him, and then he lit a match to it. He gave them an enemy — always a useful tactic. And naming the press as the enemy has precedents: Many tyrants have employed it to their advantage. Trump may not read much, but I’ll bet he knows that.

Those of us who are horrified by the vilification of the news media, those of us who cringe at the sight of angry mobs jeering at the cordoned-off journalists at Trump rallies, far outnumber those who are swept up by this ugly passion. We are still in the majority. But if we are silent, if we don’t speak up, if we don’t raise our voices and say, “This is not America,” it won’t matter that we are in the majority. Silence didn’t create this country; brazen, unwavering commitment did. And one of those commitments was to a free press — one not controlled or hampered by a demagogue who has a good day only when he’s being flattered.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/16/2018 - 04:08 pm.

    Just a reminder

    I seldom agreed with Ronald Reagan, but he was a civilized human being who doesn’t seem to have gone out of his way to harm anyone.

    As a certified old person, and with people of my father’s generation vanishing into the great beyond, it seems useful to remind readers that the worst demagogue and most ruthless and brutal dictator of the past century on this planet was legally elected. Once in power, he demonized the press, minorities, and foreigners, and silenced his critics by intimidation. When that didn’t have the desired effect, he resorted to thuggery and murder. His supporters were not wild-eyed zombies, foaming at the mouth, but ordinary citizens of both genders, believing themselves to be sincerely religious – Christian, even – and disappointed by the way their society seemed to be leaving them behind. We are not far removed from that scenario right now.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/16/2018 - 04:30 pm.


      It would be incredibly naive and dangerous to think we are immune from a demagogue. The US Supreme Court decided separate but equal was fine, as was Japanese internment, and the Muslim travel ban. So don’t count on those clowns to save us.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/16/2018 - 05:10 pm.

    St. Ronnie

    Made his money by getting people to like him.
    Whatever Trump’s secret of financial success (if any), it was not that people liked him.
    A con man succeeds by appealing to the crook in people — they think that they’re taking advantage of someone else while they themselves are being snookered.

  3. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 08/17/2018 - 08:59 am.


    Even the Trumpiest of Trumpians is not claiming he is the second coming of George Washington, simply incapable of telling a lie. No Republican member of congress has clearly stated that they would bet their reputation and integrity on any statement Donald Trump makes. To a varying extent we all acknowledge he takes some creative license with the truth. If we were to put a number to it, like dedicated fact checking operations do, we would see that the current run rate is 69% of his statements are rated mostly false and worse. If a diligent and obedient media were simply to report Trumps pronouncements and leave it at that they would be reporting “fake news” 69% of the time.

    It is interesting to note that both his approval and ability to tell the truth are in the 30%’s.

  4. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 08/17/2018 - 11:50 am.

    In Today’s Climate

    the state’s leading newspaper ran several letters from folks siding with Trump in the “Battle of Fake News.” They are utterly convinced the mainstream media has a concerted and coordinated effort to take down the leader of the country. I realize letters to the editor are picked to get a reaction, but do not doubt these folks are quite representative of the true believers.

    Not sure how a resonably intelligent person can swallow the Fake News Defense Tactic so completely. Just look at the video of what he said and at the tweets that are his main way of communicating. Not that hard to find numerous examples that range from pettiness to dishonesty to cruelty almost daily, let alone weekly. The media goes after this stuff like sea gulls following a fishing boat, but it’s being cast out there daily by Trump himself and his band of sycophants. Wish they would go deeper into how the tax law really benefits the wealthy or why this particular environmental policy was shelved and who is harmed by it and who benefits. But the sheer volume of lies and outragous events just overwhelms.

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