So was “The Reagans” fair and balanced? Finally, the public is getting its say.
In a decidedly unscientific Web site poll by Showtime, more than half of the audience that watched Showtime’s telecast on Sunday disagreed with CBS’ decision to yank the controversial project, while 82% voted that the movie didn’t alter their opinion of the Reagans.
Roughly equal numbers of those who logged in — 34% and 37% — voted that the controversy was “very warranted” and “not at all warranted,” respectively. And while nearly half characterized the movie as “liberal” and about the same percentage felt it would negatively influence people’s views of the former first couple, 43% labeled it “balanced.”
CBS chairman Leslie Moonves has stated that the decision to drop the movie was a question of fairness and “a moral call.” Critics have maintained the network bowed to political pressure after Reagan supporters blasted the movie and threatened a CBS boycott in response to leaked versions of the script.
Showtime wouldn’t reveal the volume of responses other than to say they are running about five times ahead of the pay channel’s last online poll, which dealt with boxing. Ratings for the initial showing aren’t expected until Wednesday.
Notably, only 46% of those who filled in the survey said they had voted for Reagan in either 1980 or ’84.