More Mayhem At Fox "News"-- Fighting Over Reagan's Corpse
Fox anchor Bill O'Reilly and Fox contributor George Will went after each other like two mad dogs, repeatedly calling each other liars on the air. O'Reilly wrote another in a long, dull line of hackish books, this one Killing Reagan, and Will insulted him by writing a column about it in the Washington Post, comparing O'Reilly to Trump as another "symptom of today’s cultural pathology of self-validating vehemence with blustery certitudes substituting for evidence." He claims that O'Reilly's book "will distort public understanding of Ronald Reagan’s presidency more than hostile but conscientious scholars could."
Styling himself an “investigative historian,” O’Reilly purports to have discovered amazing facts that have escaped the notice of real historians. The book’s intimated hypothesis is that the trauma of the March 1981 assassination attempt somehow triggered in Reagan a mental decline, perhaps accelerating the Alzheimer’s disease that would not be diagnosed until 13 years later. The book says Reagan was often addled to the point of incompetence, causing senior advisers to contemplate using the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove him from office.Now... you've got to watch the Fox slugfest in the video up top! I guess this is where the Republican presidential candidates learn that it's OK to be so utterly vicious towards each other.
...When Reagan’s unsatisfactory Chief of Staff Don Regan was replaced by Howard Baker, a Baker aide wrote a memo that included slanderous assessments of the president from some disgruntled Regan staffers. This memo, later regretted by its author, became, O’Reilly says, the “centerpiece” of his book. On this flimsy reed he leans the fiction (refuted by minute-by-minute records in the Reagan Library) that, in O’Reilly’s words, “a lot of days” Reagan never left the White House’s second floor, where he watched “soap operas all day long.”
The book’s pretense of scholarship involves 151 footnotes, only one of which is even remotely pertinent to the book’s lurid assertions. Almost all contain irrelevant tidbits (“Reagan’s hair was actually brown”). At the Reagan Library, where researchers must register, records show that neither O’Reilly nor Dugard, who churn out a book a year, used its resources. The book’s two and a half pages of “sources” unspecifically and implausibly refer to “FBI and CIA files,” “presidential libraries” and travel “around the world.” They also cite Kitty Kelley’s scabrous 1991 Nancy Reagan “biography,” a sewer of rumors and innuendos that probably is the source of the sexual factoids O’Reilly and Dugard recycle.
...The book’s perfunctory pieties about Reagan’s greatness are inundated by its flood of regurgitated slanders about his supposed lassitude and manipulability. This book is nonsensical history and execrable citizenship, and should come with a warning: “Caution-- you are about to enter a no-facts zone.”