…except that Reagan had a nicer smile and read his lines better.
The quote is from W. Lance Bennett’s News: The Politics of Illusion, published in 1988:
Beginning in his first months in office, Ronald Reagan built a coalition that successfully dismantled nearly forty years of government social protection programs. The cuts in every social service and public protection area were awesome. Yet there were no headlines proclaiming “Reagan coalition dismantles Forty Years of Government Reforms.” Instead the dismantling of each program was announced separately, often days apart, and frequently was dwarfed by the ongoing crises of state and economy. In looking at The Wall Street Journal coverage of just five of the dozens of Reagan dismantling efforts, we find that only two received front-page coverage (Social Security cuts and the termination of the CETA jobs training program). A proposal to close the Consumer Product Safety Commission was given about four inches on page five in one issue, and a longer article on page 48 in another. A plan to cut off welfare to families of strikers was relegated to page six. The decision to stop tracing the owner transcripts of firearms was covered on page 131. The impact and linkages among these issues were further diminished by the fact that the stories were spread over a period of two months.