A great read from Mother Jones’s David Corn on the family feud over whether or not Pres. Ronal Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s disease while in the White House – his sons Ron and Michael have very different opinions on the matter – and how close reporter Leslie Stahl came to reporting on Reagan’s despondence after a meeting she had with the president in 1986.
Stahl concluded in her book: “I now believe [Reagan aides and his wife Nancy] covered up his condition, and many continued to as they wrote their memoirs. But then, the public knew something wasn’t right. There were all sorts of signs. We all looked the other way.”
Stahl tells me that she is certain that after that Oval Office encounter with Reagan, she discussed with her producers whether to report on Reagan’s mental condition. “I would have to have skirted around the words ‘senility,’ ‘Alzheimer’s,’ ‘dementia,'” she notes. “I would have been declaring the president unfit to serve, or at least raising the possibility.” That undoubtedly would have set off a political detonation. And such a report would have suggested a White House cover-up—at a time when tense foreign policy matters were in the news and midterm elections were a few months off.