Bozell's Column

Give credit to Michael Kinsley and his staff at the liberal Web site The day before the election, almost the entire staff declared which presidential candidate they would be voting for and why. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority (including 12 of 13 top editors) voted for Al Gore. But it would be tremendously refreshing if all journalists were this honest around election time, to let us know their voting behaviors and rationales. What they do instead - pretend that they're utterly nonpartisan, and so is their work product - is maddening in its perpetual dishonesty. After all, wouldn't their actual... continue reading
In forging a well-deserved reputation as perhaps the most sex-driven broadcast network, Fox has been subjected to frequent whackings from television critics and cold shoulders from the industry elite. The ribald "Married...With Children" and the steamy "Melrose Place" drew plenty of viewers, but little favorable press attention and few award nominations. Now Fox is trying something a little different. It has put together a Monday-night lineup of what might be called "smart smut." That term is plausible because the programs in question, the new drama "Boston Public" and the long-running "Ally McBeal," are the brainchildren of David Kelley, who two... continue reading
When rock 'n' roll took a young generation by storm in the mid-1950s, it was routinely denounced on both musical and social grounds. In time, it was accepted by most: Elvis was a threat to himself, not to America. In the late 1980s, a remarkably violent, vituperative form of rap music, "gangsta rap," emerged. Its most successful practitioners included N.W.A., best known for "F-- tha Police"; Ice-T, best known for "Cop Killer"; and Tupac Shakur, best known for dying as a result of a drive-by shooting. But no one then seemed to care very much about this, and today that... continue reading
The TV pundits talked themselves hoarse into the wee hours of the morning playing Monday morning quarterback to see what variables might have altered the election results for each candidate. What if Bush had not wasted time and resources in California, but applied them to Florida instead? Should Gore have used Bill Clinton more, and what if he hadn't grunted throughout the first debate? What about the Nader factor? With all that air time to fill, the network news experts could have held another fascinating discussion. What about the media factor? Let's rewind just through October, and ask how a... continue reading
If a bio sheet is meant to be a human productivity report, skeptics might question Steve Allen's molecular structure. He created and hosted the "Tonight" show, created and starred in the critically-acclaimed "Steve Allen Comedy Hour," and created and hosted the PBS series, "Meeting of Minds." He starred on Broadway, wrote the drama "The Wake," and composed the score for several musicals. He spent years on the concert circuit with his wife, Jayne Meadows. The honors he collected for his work in the entertainment industry are endless. Away from the camera he was even more prolific. He recorded 52 albums... continue reading
When Republicans win the White House, it's never the force of their ideas. It has to be some kind of dirty trick. Think back to 1988, and the endless barrage of news stories condemning the independent pro-Bush ads focusing on Willie Horton, the convicted murderer who was released on a weekend furlough and traveled to Maryland and raped a woman. It didn't matter that the Bush campaign didn't produce the ad. Throughout the entire Bush presidency (and even beyond), the major media vented their collective spleen at Republican race-baiting, the exploitation of white fears of black crime. The National Association... continue reading
You can sense the desperation in the Al Gore camp. Liberals in the press are now complaining that media somehow hate Gore. "For Gore, there's zero tolerance for anything but the literal truth," whines Margaret Carlson. "If these slips had been made by any other politician, they would have caused barely a peep," snips Jonathan Alter. How much must be overlooked to claim the media have "zero tolerance" for Gore's lies, errors, and scandals? Let's help them along with a partial list of things the media have invariably ignored or downplayed from the man whose every speech is a clinic... continue reading
Now both presidential contenders can let out huge sighs of relief. They made it through the presidential debates without the race blowing up into a foregone conclusion. But were the debates fair? The moderators - PBS anchor Jim Lehrer for the presidential matches, and CNN anchor Bernard Shaw for the genteel vice presidential seminar - were sober and serious in eliciting information, and gave the candidates great latitude to discuss the issues without directing the attention to themselves. That is good. But as the debates progressed, how could viewers miss how the questions started tilting seriously to the left? Shaw... continue reading
Much like Al Gore, the media have responded to the swing in the polls toward George W. Bush by moderating their partisan ardor between the first and second debates. Gores's tall tales have (finally) become an issue for the press. It doesn't mean, however, that they're handling it correctly. One developing media strategy in the spin around the second debate is to fuzz over Gore's wild exaggerations and lies by trying to blur any distinctions between Bush and Gore on the issue of truthfulness. The morning after the Wake Forest debate, ABC's Jack Ford pointed out to Governor Bush that... continue reading
Democrats are desperate and afraid. The reality that their nominee for President has a compulsive tendency to make things up to make himself look good is sinking in. The image was sealed by the tall tale he told in front of 46 million Americans in the first presidential debate: that he traveled to the fires in Parker County, Texas, in 1996 with federal disaster czar James Lee Witt. As with creating the Internet and suggesting he and Tipper were the inspiration for Love Story, it was not true. This was not the story line the national media pressed after the... continue reading