Next month, CBS will run a mini-series called The Reagans. Actor James Brolin will play the former president. Judy Davis will play Nancy.
But there's a big time controversy because in the mini-series, there's a scene where Brolin says people with AIDS deserve their fate. The quote from the screenplay is, "they that live in sin shall die in sin."
The problem here is CBS knows President Reagan never said that. Even the screenwriter, Elizabeth Egloff, acknowledges there's no evidence Mr. Reagan ever said anything that callous.
Ms. Egloff justifies her portrayal by saying, "we know he ducked the issue over and over again." That's quite a leap to the sin deal. And you can't make that kind of leap, even in a movie. You can't put words in a former president's mouth that portray him as a hater. That is defamation.
Talking Points realizes this drum has been pounded again and again by us, but it's worth saying again. America is becoming a defamation nation where the worst accusations imaginable are acceptable in the elite media. CBS has big problems here. There's an outcry over the situation. There's plenty of time to cut it out of the film. If CBS doesn't do it, malice will be charged.
Many Americans have an emotional attachment to Ronald Reagan. They don't want to see him smeared in a TV movie. And there are enough things that Mr. Reagan did wrong that can be legitimately portrayed as with any president.
There comes a time when society has to make a decision. Right now, defamation is selling and smear merchants of all kinds are making big money. The public is responsible for that.
If CBS includes that defamatory scene about Ronald Reagan in the movie, I'm not going to watch it. If every American did the same thing, CBS wouldn't have any viewers. And believe me, the defamation would be removed.
And that's The Memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
The results of our billoreilly.com poll may or may not be ridiculous, depending on your point of view.
The question: Should Terry Schiavo's feeding tube be reinserted as ordered by the Florida legislature? Sixty-three percent said yes. Thirty-seven percent said no. More than 15,000 of you voted and that's not ridiculous at all.
And, by the way, billoreilly.com premium members voted the segment on the courts versus the folks as the best one last night.
And we have just posted the poll question do the politics of actors and actresses influence whether you go to see them in the movies or not, OK?
--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: email@example.com
Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly.