Sincerely, the Irate Communicator

Richard Leiby – Wednesday, September 29, 2004

What, he didn't really like us? Previously unpublished letters from Ronald Reagan express opinions on Hollywood and the media that validate his icon status among today's conservatives. "The media has taken over and delivers news in the framework of their bias," the Great Communicator wrote in May 1988 to a longtime friend and fellow former actor, the late Sen. George Murphy of California, according to excerpts released yesterday by the Raab Collection, a Philadelphia historic documents house. "Your letter," Reagan wrote, "was an antidote to the daily poison of the New York Times and Washington Post — plus now the Los Angeles Times."

After his nomination at the 1984 convention, the prez reported to Murphy that "all in all it was darn good. The press of course isn't happy — no blood on the floor."

In a 1990 missive, Reagan shared with Murphy his thoughts on the Screen Actors Guild, of which both were past presidents. Reagan lamented the influence of liberal 1980s SAG chief Ed Asner. "Being back in Calif. has made me more aware of what the Asner types have done to . . . the S.A.G. If it was what it used to be the Guild members would refuse to read lines with 4 letter words and profanity. I'm sure we would have ruled out the nudity and sex too."

A Raab spokesman, who valued the 41 letters at $225,000, said they revealed a harder-hitting side of Reagan than he displayed publicly. The documents house is looking for a buyer willing donate the letters to a museum or "Reagan institution."

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