They're at it again: The 40th president's body isn't even cold yet, and Reaganiacs are already clamoring to get the Gipper on the $10 bill. Headed by Grover Norquist--who famously equated the estate tax with the "morality of the Holocaust" and says his goal is to shrink government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub”--the efforts would replace America's first treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, on the bill.

Speaking of Reagan: It's over-the-top, all-Ronny-all-the-time coverage of Reagan's death on US TV and radio these days. Even NPR gushes for what seems like hours for a president that many of us see as the most destructive of the 20th century. Sure, he deserves his due--dead presidents make news--and it's indeed worthy of headlines (and our compassion), but I find the ubiquity of coverage, the overwhelming lack of nuance and balance, bizarre. My problem with the reportage is how it's told (what details are left out in the name of "good taste"?) and how often it's told (if half of Morning Edition is about Reagan, what stories were bumped?).

Instead of this tasteful framework for the story--"A contentious president, Reagan was beloved by many for X, Y, and Z, but despised by others for A, B, and C. But those of all political stripes must admit he left an indelible mark on the American psyche."--we get emotion-laden stories that leave out some key moments in Reagan's presidency. John Nichols writes, "All of a sudden, the man who redirected tens of billions of dollars away from domestic needs to build up the largest nuclear arsenel on the planet, ran up record deficits, saw members of his administration investigated and indicted at a staggering rate and, himself, came close to being impeached for allowing aides to create a shadow government that peddled weapons to sworn enemies of the United States and used the profits to fund illegal wars in Central America was remade as a statesman who restored dignity and direction to his country." And when other news is covered--especially on broadcast news--it gets short-changed. When's the last time you heard about the hunt for Osama bin Laden on the evening news? In-depth coverage of US GIs dying in the nearly forgotten war in Afghanistan? The brutal civil war in Sudan that's killed 30,000 people (300,000 more expected to die unless aid arrives soon)? This--news about death that can be prevented--is front-page news. Right?

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