Conservative media true to Republican message; revived old Kerry criticisms of Reagan

››› ››› SHANT MESROBIAN

In the wake of former President Ronald Reagan's death, some of the most aggressive attempts to publicize criticism of Reagan are coming from ... Republicans. On June 7, The New York Times reported: "[I]n one sign of what may lie ahead, Republicans circulated old quotes from Mr. [Senator John] Kerry in which he criticized Mr. Reagan." Kerry's prior criticisms of Reagan found their way into conservative news outlets, including The Weekly Standard, NewsMax.com, The Washington Times, and FOX News Channel.

The Weekly Standard, from reporter Katherine Mangu-Ward's June 7 article "Kerry on Reagan," published on the magazine's website:

But it's worth taking a look back at what Kerry said about Reagan during and after his presidency. Reagan was president when Kerry was elected to the Senate, and their ideological clashes were colorful and frequent. That's to be expected. Occasionally, however, during Reagan's presidency and in subsequent years, Kerry crossed the line into strident invective.

The article proceeded to quote Kerry's past criticisms of Reagan.

NewsMax.com, a right-wing news site, from a June 7 article titled "Kerry: 'I'm Proud I Stood Against Reagan'" by Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff:

[A]s recently as last year Kerry boasted:

"I'm proud that I stood against Ronald Reagan, not with him, when his intelligence agencies were abusing the Constitution of the United States and when he was running an illegal war in Central America."

That's just one of a series of anti-Reagan quotes unearthed by the Weekly Standard, where the Massachusetts Democrat slams Reagan as everything from an "inexperienced" governor to a dime store cowboy.

The NewsMax.com article continued, quoting Kerry's past criticisms of Reagan, as reported in The Weekly Standard article cited above.

The Washington Times, from an article by Stephen Dinan headlined "Democrats praise the man once scorned as a 'dunce'":

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, who announced this weekend he was suspending his presidential campaign for several days to honor Mr. Reagan, less than a year ago used the former president as the symbol of what Democrats should oppose.

"My life history is I fought Reagan, fought Nixon, fought the war in Vietnam, fought their struggle against civil rights. I fought for civil rights, and I fought against their tax cuts for the wealthy," Mr. Kerry told the Miami Herald last year as he was running in the Democratic primary.

FOX News Channel chief political correspondent Carl Cameron, from the June 7 edition of FOX News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume:

CAMERON: Never a Reagan fan, Kerry has long boasted that he led the fight against Reagan's, quote, "illegal war" in Central America.

For more, see Media Matters for America's June 7 report titled "GOP Reagan-Bush spin echoed by the media."

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