The Washington Post stayed true to its liberal roots with a long obituary that largely trashed former first lady Nancy Reagan, who died on March 6 at the age of 94.
In the 3,300-plus word obituary by Lois Romano, she sprinkled some praise in between her critical look at Mrs. Reagan’s role as first lady and advocate for her husband’s legacy.
This is how Romano described Mrs. Reagan at the beginning of her obituary:
As first lady from 1981 to 1989, Mrs. Reagan had a knack for inviting controversy — from her spending habits to her request that the White House abide by an astrologer when planning the president’s schedule.
Even when it appears that Romano is praising Reagan for her efforts, she makes sure to accentuate the negative:
In Washington, Mrs. Reagan’s most prominent initiative as first lady was the ‘Just Say No’ drug-awareness campaign, aimed at preventing recreational drug use among young people. Later, she expanded the campaign globally and held a White House summit with 30 first ladies from around the world.
But time after time, her efforts at developing a substantive role for herself were overshadowed by parallel revelations about her lifestyle or her influence over her husband.
That negativity continued when Romano described the former first lady’s attempts to restore class to the White House after the Jimmy Carter years:
Mrs. Reagan took Washington by storm in 1981. Even before her husband — a movie star before he became governor of California — was sworn in, she swept into town with a larger-than-life cadre of wealthy California friends and celebrities who wore sable coats, knotted traffic with their shiny white limousines and threw lavish parties the likes of which were unprecedented at inaugural festivities. At first, the public seemed to embrace what was billed as the return of style and glamour after four years of the more modest style of peanut farmer Jimmy Carter.
What Romano failed to mention was that Mrs. Reagan finished at the top of a Gallup poll of the “most admired women” in America in 1981, and remained in the top 10 throughout the Reagan presidency.
Romano didn’t write an obituary, she wrote an anti-Reagan editorial, thinly disguised as an obituary, allowing her personal biases to creep into an area in which it doesn’t belong.
UPDATE: The Post has deleted the lead paragraph without explanation from the obituary on its website.
Photo by U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia