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Barbra Streisand: The new Janet Reno

By Michael Moriarty
web posted November 24, 2003

An e-mail pen pal from Illinois suggested I write an editorial commemorating my fateful meeting 10 years ago with President Bill Clinton's Attorney General Janet Reno in the Ulysses S. Grant suite of the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. During that fateful meeting in November 1993, Reno demanded government control of primetime television. That's blatantly unconstitutional.
After mulling over what has happened to Reno since then -- Parkinson's disease, her loss in the Florida Democratic primary campaign, and her dubious achievement award for being listed as number seven in the year-end "Whacko" list -- I felt it would be unfair to pick on her anymore.
Barbra StreisandHowever, Barbra Streisand obligingly made herself a target by coming out of the gate with her version of The Reagans' story. By all accounts, she is the new Janet Reno, kicking a man when he's down and, in an editorial, portraying herself as the victim of censorship following CBS' decision to cancel the controversial mini-series.
At Waco, Reno and her Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms posse put the inhabitants of the David Koresh compound through sleep deprivation by playing, at full blast, Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Were Made for Walking! They played it all night. Then they provoked the incineration of 80 men, women and children.
Apparently, Streisand put on her spiked heels and, with a cat o' nine tails, began singing her own version of the angry, feminist's anthem while deliberately trying to tear down a man who's on his knees with Alzheimer's disease. It takes many months of dedication to create propaganda like that. She was obviously very dedicated to the task.
That the former President was almost single-handedly responsible for tearing down the Berlin Wall, freeing millions of Europeans from dictatorship, and did it without firing a shot -- no collateral damage -- hasn't impressed Babs in the least. To me, it was a near miracle, but to the new Janet Reno, it was evidently some kind of personal attack on her.
If Streisand were a card-carrying member of the Communist Party, I might understand. However, her eager participation in the National Democratic Committee's successful effort to have Mario Cuomo thrown out of the loop in 1990 -- he's Catholic, you know, and not really in the inner circle -- thereby engineering Clinton's nomination as the Democrat candidate for President… well, it all adds up to a few of the reasons I left my job, my city, my home, my marriage and my country and moved to Canada.
Streisand's claims of censorship, after CBS politely allowed her tripe to air on its franchise channel Showtime, sticks in the craw of a man who faced real censorship at the hands of the Clinton administration. I was, at the last minute, yanked from two talk shows -- the Today Show and Tom Brokaw's Dateline NBC, and then told my possible debate with the censorship-loving Senator Kent Conrad would be replaced by the censorship-loving head of the Federal Communications Commission. "That's the only day he can make it to New York." So, basically get rid of Moriarty's defense of free speech on television.
NBC, the network airing the series Law and Order, in which I starred for four years, suddenly turned its back on me and on their constitutional responsibilities as well. NBC had me quickly replaced, behind my back, with Sam Waterston. I had to learn, from a Manhattan reporter, that my own agency, ICM, would not be losing the seven-figure income that would have been due me in a fifth year. Ten percent of one million dollars is not chump change.
My anger at Janet Reno has cooled down over the years. I'm enjoying a peaceful retirement up here in British Columbia, sharing my memories -- a considerable number of them -- with my family and friends. I really don't need the headache again.
However, Streisand came back from the wings of her Hollywood mansion and kept up her desire to be the female Frank Sinatra and actually out-do him. Not only would she be a kingmaker by getting Clinton elected, she would be a king-destroyer by tearing down the best Republican President since Theodore Roosevelt. Actually, from viewing what President Reagan achieved in terms of freeing so many people from Communist slavery, he does have the touch of another great Republican -- Abraham Lincoln.
It's a talent of the left to make their political opponents take the blame for sins the Democratic Party has been engaged in for decades. However, Oliver Stone's film on Richard Nixon had the extraordinary genius of the greatest actor in the English-speaking world, Sir Anthony Hopkins, who expanded a basically pathetic man to Shakespearean dimensions. I doubt if the same thing will be true of Streisand's film on Ronald Reagan.
I met Streisand for 10 minutes on the set of Children of Fortune, one of her husband's movies of the week. Neither of us could possibly like each other. That became evident rather quickly.
Ms. Streisand, you told me that you had asked Katherine Hepburn, a veteran of the Stratford Bard Festival, if she'd "ever done Shakespeare." I replied, after having worked with Ms. Hepburn, that it would be like asking you, "Did you ever sing, Ms. Streisand?"
Your question to the Reagans, "Have you ever done anything good for America?" will have the same resounding, angry response from the entire North American public as the one you've just received from me.
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning actor who has appeared in the landmark television series Law and Order, the mini-series Holocaust, and the recent mini-series Taken. In 2002 he won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his work in James Dean.

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