Inside the Beltway: Gipper casting

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Rip Torn, Richard Crenna and James Brolin are among the many actors who portrayed President Ronald Reagan in one Hollywood production or another. Now add Michael Douglas to the list. The veteran actor and loyal Democrat will play Reagan in “Reykjavik,” an independent film set during the 1986 summit between the president and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland. Some bias could be lurking though. The $10 million film is from Participant Media, the production company behind “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s alarmist global-warming documentary.

“It’s less important who plays Reagan. It’s more important they get the facts straight,” Reagan biographer Craig Shirley tells Inside the Beltway.

Casting isn’t over yet, in the meantime. “The producers now are looking to find their Gorbachev,” says Tatiana Siegel, an industry analyst for the Hollywood Reporter.

THE GRAND FINALE

Three cheers: As one of their last acts, nimble officials at the Republican National Convention set up a fundraising program to help Red Cross relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. No doubt, their very last act will be to start planning for 2016. Meanwhile, the show goes on to swift and final curtain call.

Before Mitt Romney takes the stage Thursday night to seal the deal, the high-profile, prime-time parade will include speechifying by Rep. Connie Mack of Florida; former House speaker Newt Gingrich and wife Callista; son Craig Romney; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Olympians Mike Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode; and at long last headliner, Sen. Marco Rubio, who will introduce Mr. Romney around 10 p.m.

REPUBLICANS “AHEAD”

Party loyalists are gearing up for the great Democratic feel-good fest next week in Charlotte, N.C. But there’s worry afoot. Though former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean dismisses the Republican National Convention as “four days of Obama-bashing” in a new fundraising message, he also adds, “When the Republicans leave Tampa, it’s pretty likely they’ll be ahead in the horse race.”

It may be cheer-up time for Democrats who are already framing their convention as the ultimate example of community activism, which will certainly guarantee mawkish coverage from an adoring news media.

“While Republicans are ramping up the attacks and extremism, we’re doubling down on our grass-roots strategy. For us, the convention is an opportunity to share our message face to face with as many Americans as possible, culminating in a week of grass-roots action immediately after the president officially accepts the nomination,” Mr. Dean proclaims.

FOXIFIED

New research from the University of Missouri finds that 74 percent of Americas agree that journalists “play an important role in society,” while 62 percent prefer news stories “produced by a professional journalist.” Still, the nation is divided about the trust factor. About one-third actually trust journalists, one-third don’t and the rest are neutral.

Fox News viewers are the most discerning: Fifty percent said they don’t trust the media, far outpacing the sentiments of those who watch MSNBC, PBS, CNN and the broadcast networks by margins ranging from 21 to 40 percentage points. Fox also won the popularity derby.

“The influence of Fox News on the attitudes of U.S. adults regarding the mainstream news media and professional journalists cannot be overlooked. Fox News was identified by the most respondents as their favorite national TV news channel. CNN was a close second,” the study said.

THE PARTISAN VIEWER

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