Michael Reagan: Hollywood intimidation made my dad pursue politics

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Now that North Korea has apparently intimidated Hollywood into shelving a movie unfavorable to Dear Leader Kim Jong-un, Michael Reagan reminds us that this is not the first time Tinsel Town has capitulated to powerful political figures.

In an op-ed published in NewsMax, Reagan said that Bobby Kennedy leaned on General Electric back when his father, Ronald Reagan, was speaking at GE plants about individual freedom and the dangers of big government programs, as personified by then-President John F. Kennedy.

Reagan wrote that the younger Kennedy warned the company that it “would be in danger of having its federal contracts canceled” if they did not fire his father as host of “General Electric Theater.”

“I remember having dinner with my dad, Nancy and Maureen the Sunday after that call when he dropped the bombshell, “Michael, I lost my job today, I learned from Ralph Cordiner, the chairman of General Electric, that Bobby Kennedy called and threatened contract cancellations if they don’t get me off the air,” Reagan wrote.

In a matter of three days, the program was off the air and his father was out of a job, Reagan said, adding that this played a big role in his father’s decision to pursue politics — perhaps GE is due a thank you letter from conservatives across America.

“Prior to being fired, Dad had never expressed much interest in politics, but after seeing the power of government to damage and abuse when in the wrong hands, he could no longer stay on the sidelines,” Reagan said. “His speech for Barry Goldwater in 1964 put him on Republican radar and made it possible for dad to run and win the governorship of California.”

Reagan also wrote about how his father would later best Bobby Kennedy in what came to be known as the “Telestar debate” — it was made possible by satellite because Reagan was in California and Kennedy was in the east.

As for today, if the trade off for a third-rate cartoonish dictator controlling multimedia content in the United States is the emergence of the next Ronald Reagan, have at it Dear Leader!

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Tom Tillison

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