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Historians Slam O'Reilly 'Killing Reagan' Book for Reliance on Rumors, Gossip

Historians Slam O'Reilly 'Killing Reagan' Book for Reliance on Rumors, Gossip

By    |   Saturday, 17 October 2015 07:06 PM

Four historians on President Ronald Reagan Saturday dismissed the book "Killing Reagan" by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, saying that it "restates old claims and rumors, virtually all of which have been discredited by the historical record."

The historians — Craig Shirley, Kiron Skinner, Paul Kengor and Steven Hayward — debunked the best-selling book in an article published Friday in The Washington Post.

All told, the four "have written 19 books on Reagan, not to mention countless articles," they said. "The works of three of us are not noted at all."

The book, however, does "reference long-questionable works," the historians said, including the 1991 book on Nancy Reagan by Kitty Kelly and a 1991 biography by Edmund Morris — "roundly criticized for its intermingling of fact and fiction."

They also slammed O'Reilly and Dugard for resurrecting the "demeaning, flawed caricature" of Reagan from the 1980s: the "doodling old fool who spent too much time sleeping at Cabinet meetings and watching old movies."

"Unfortunately, 'Killing Reagan' shows that the old misinformation (if not disinformation) still remains with us, like a demon that cannot be exorcised," the historians said. "It regurgitates and resurrects much material that we had thought (and hoped) was dead and done."

The historians point out a range of errors throughout the book. They span from repeated references to the former president as "Ron Jr." — that's his son, the former talk-show host, who is now 57 — to "the erroneous contention" that serious consideration was given to removing Reagan from office using the 25th Amendment after he was shot by John Hinckley Jr. in 1981.

"What's so remarkable about the 11 days Reagan spent in the hospital recovering from his wounds is that beyond the standard discussion of temporary presidential disability among some of the president's closest aides, none of these aides or cabinet members attempted to invoke the 25th Amendment or succession laws," the historians said.

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Four historians on President Ronald Reagan Saturday dismissed the book Killing Reagan by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, saying that it restates old claims and rumors, virtually all of which have been discredited by the historical record. The historians -...
historians, killing, reagan, oreilly, mistakes, errors
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2015-06-17
Saturday, 17 October 2015 07:06 PM
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