CBS cancelling 'Reagans' doc a bad precedent: Harris Poll

MUMBAI: The most recent controversy to hit American television was broadcast network CBS cancelling its plans to air The Reagans. The docudrama about Ronald Reagan and his presidency was eventually aired on Showtime which has around a fifth of CBS' viewership.

While the decision was taken due to a storm of conservative protest it now seems that CBS was damned either which way it went. A new Harris Poll finds that CBS got little support for pulling out the show. The American public is troubled by the precedent of this particular show being cancelled under pressure. By a wide 58 per cent to 22 per cent majority, the American public agreed that "it is a bad precedent for a network to give in to organised lobbying to prevent the showing of a fictional television show because some people don't like its content."

By a slightly smaller 51 to 28 per cent margin, the public agreed that "there have been many docudramas about other ex-presidents that have been critical. This one should have been shown as planned by CBS." 21 per cent were unsure. The survey also threw up contradictory results. 43 per cent thought that "showing a critical story about President Reagan while he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease was in awful taste". 38 per cent disagreed and the remaining 20 per cent were unsure. However only 29 per cent thought that "CBS did the right thing; the show never should have been made." 46 per cent disagreed and 26 per cent were not sure.

Harris Interactive conduced the online US survey of 2,376 adults between 17 - 23 November. Harris Interactive is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll. It claims to be pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. The company combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research.

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