The almost eight-minute film explores the Reagan Administration’s initial response to the AIDS epidemic from the early-mid ’80s. In particular, it focuses on the volatile exchanges between journalist Rev. Lester Kinsolving and Deputy Press Secretary Larry Speakes from 1982 through 1984.
Calonico added the audio from these press junkets overplayed with photos of dying AIDS victims from Seattle’s Bailey-Boushay House in the ’80s.
Kinsolving is heard consistently inquiring about the increasing AIDS epidemic to Speakes who responds in an almost flippant manner with jokes or ignoring the question. The press room frequently erupts in laughter over the exchanges between the two.
In their first public press exchange on the issue, Kinsolving asks Speakes if the president has any reaction to “A-I-D-S” becoming an epidemic with more than 600 cases.
“I don’t have it…Are you? Do you?” Speakes replies.