OK, there are two possibilities here: either John McCaslin, the "Inside the Beltway" columnist for The Washington Times, e-mails rough drafts of some of his work to right-wing blogs and then spends a week revising the e-mailed items before putting them in the paper -- or he's not above reading such blogs and doing a little unacknowledged "borrowing."
On August 8, Libertas, the blog of the right-wing Liberty Film Festival, ran an item about a screening of The Killers, Ronald Reagan's last movie. Reagan is shot in the movie; at the screening, this shooting was cheered. The Libertas item is prefaced with "I received this email this morning from a friend of mine," then the e-mail begins:
I have a report of a bizarre, disturbing incident....
Yesterday -- nine days later -- McCaslin's column led with an item on the same incident. McCaslin's column begins:
We're here to report a rather bizarre, if not disturbing incident....
The Libertas e-mail continues:
The crowd at the screening of The Killers, on Thursday night erupted in cheers when Reagan was shot and killed. The crowd was comprised of Hollywood people – film preservationists, reviewers, scholars, researchers, actors and actresses, writers. L.A. Confidential director Curtis Hanson was also in the crowd for the movie.
McCaslin's item continues:
On hand in Hollywood for the Aug. 4 event was a prestigious crowd of actors, actresses, writers, reviewers, scholars, researchers and film preservationists -- including "L.A. Confidential" director Curtis Hanson -- that actually erupted in cheers when Mr. Reagan "the actor" was shot and killed.
Even without the audience cheering for Reagan’s murder, it was an eerie scene considering that Reagan was shot and almost killed in real life in 1981 by John Hinckley.
Absent the applause, it was already an eerie scene to relive, considering Mr. Reagan, later as president, was shot and nearly killed in 1981 by John Hinckley Jr.
In yet another uncanny coincidence, The Killers was in production on the afternoon in 1963 when President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. In the wake of that, Universal executives radically altered their distribution plans for the picture because the film was deemed to violent and disturbing.
"The Killers" was in production on the afternoon in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot in Dallas. In the wake of that, Universal executives radically altered their distribution plans for the picture because the film was deemed too violent and disturbing.
Now, perhaps this is OK. Perhaps the right-wing Collective sees all writings that advance the Cause as property of the Collective, so long as they're used in ways that bring us closer the day when all non-conservatism is banished from the earth.
As for the incident itself, please note that in this movie Ronald Reagan plays a freaking villain. He's not nice:
This is the film in which Ronald Reagan — the future 40th president — slaps Angie Dickinson right across her pretty kisser.
"I approve of larceny," deadpans Reagan, in his first appearance as a villain and his last feature film. But "homicide is against my principles," the Gipper-gone-wrong adds, looking and sounding like a rogues' gallery Rotarian — the very epitome of the banality of evil.
It's the shooting of Reagan, but it's also the shooting of the nasty guy he plays. (And by the way, given the exquisite sensitivity of conservatives to criticism of anyone who's died in the previous eighteen months, let me say that I can't wait to see how much restraint the right show the next time a prominent Democrat dies.)
UPDATE: McCaslin explains, sort of.