Bozell's Column

What's the quickest way for a candidate to make a national reporter squirm? Bring up religion. George W. Bush's decision in a December debate to name Jesus Christ as the philosopher with the most impact on him gave reporters the willies. NBC's Tim Russert is a devout Roman Catholic who has spoken publicly and profoundly about his faith. Yet when the Republican candidates met again in January, he felt it necessary to question repeatedly if Bush's faith in Jesus somehow translated into Christian theocracy: "I think people watching, some want to hear your God is Jesus Christ, they don't have... continue reading
Last August, the national media pounced on George W. Bush over swirling rumors that he used cocaine in his youth. Reporters echoed The Washington Post, which urgently suggested to Bush "We need to ask the cocaine question." Even though the Post and others searched far and wide for any hint of evidence, no witness, no accuser stepped forward. But when Newsweek magazine (the Post's corporate cousin) spiked an excerpt from its own reporter Bill Turque's biography of Gore dealing with Gore's use of marijuana, a witness did speak out. More damning still, John Warnecke was a friend of Gore's for... continue reading
Once upon a time you had to be not just respectable but downright admirable to be a paid endorser of a commercial product. By attaching itself to a positive role model the advertiser enhanced its image to the public. It speaks volumes about the decrepit state of our popular culture that this rule of thumb has now been turned upside down. Our advertisers are willfully seeking out some of society's greatest degenerates to serve as their spokesmen. Apparently this is what the public wants. A few years ago a national survey asked young teens to name their role models. Not... continue reading
You can tell presidential contenders Steve Forbes and Alan Keyes have gotten a big bounce from their strong showings in the Iowa caucuses. Overnight, reporters went from ignoring them as ego-tripping non-factors to portraying them as the extremist right-wing factors that will ruin George W. Bush's chances with reasonable voters in November. Can you imagine the internal fury of these two candidates at the media? They hammer away at the issues with substance and passion, day after day, ignoring the who-cares approach of the media mass. Their tireless public speaking and political organizing created surprising results in the Iowa caucuses... continue reading
Two recent media controversies in the news - the AOL-Time Warner merger and the discovery of White House-funded anti-drug message placement within prime time network sitcoms and dramas - suggest that the liberals' greatest problem with the major media is with... the liberals who run it. The AOL-Time Warner merger caused great hue and cry from liberals claiming the impending media monopoly threatens to leave only the voices of the so-called media moguls. Left-wing critics always automatically assume that these powerful plutocrats are some sort of proto-capitalist Steve Forbes supporters. In this merger, the biggest financial player is Ted Turner,... continue reading
Last week yielded episodes 5,471 and 5,472 - approximately - of the long-running, appalling, fascinating soap opera "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind?" The first episode centered on Dr. Laura Schlessinger, whose social conservatism complements Rush Limbaugh's political conservatism for millions of radio listeners. Next fall Schlessinger launches a weekday syndicated television program, "Dr. Laura," which Paramount will distribute. This does not make some liberals very happy. Given that Schlessinger's traditionalist approach to morality in general and homosexuality in particular is highly unpopular in anything-goes Hollywood, it's not surprising that some at Paramount, according to Brian Lowry's column in the January... continue reading
I am one of those who find prime time broadcast television to be a vast wasteland of gratuitous sleaze and stupidity. Watching it, you can almost hear your brain cells decompose. But I do like to watch television, so I normally find something worthwhile on cable outlets like the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, or A&E, these networks being rich in classic movies, documentaries, and the like. The only problem with these otherwise fine historical presentations is that one must be constantly on guard against the left-wing activist using his show to make the Great Political Statement. Mercifully, it doesn't... continue reading
In an unforeseen development, political reporters came down from their sugar high from all the sweet talk on John McCain's presidential campaign bus, the so-called "Straight Talk Express." It began with a Boston Globe story on January 5. McCain, who still has a day job as the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, had written a to the Federal Communications Commission on the pending sale of a Pittsburgh public television station involving entrepreneur Lowell Paxson. The Globe noted that Paxson and his law firm have given $20,000 to McCain's campaign, and the day before he sent one letter to the... continue reading
The protagonist of Tim Robbins' first movie as a writer-director, "Bob Roberts" (1992), is a criminally corrupt conservative Republican U.S. Senate candidate who, thanks in large part to his talent for media manipulation, defeats the noble liberal incumbent and thereby serves the interests of the thieving, drug-running military-industrial alliance that really runs this country. Back then, propaganda was what one expected from the outspokenly leftist Robbins, who had made an acting name for himself in films like "Bull Durham" and "Jacob's Ladder" and a lesser political name on causes like "abortion rights" (for) and the Gulf War (against). Around the... continue reading
In much the same way that 1998 could be designated the Year of the Intern, 1999 was the Year of the School Shooting. On December 17, ABC collected a time capsule to declare who we were for the Americans of 2100, Diane Sawyer muttered "perhaps nothing worries Americans more about who we are than the issue of school violence." Reporter Judy Muller wondered: "As we bury the time capsule today, we can only wonder what Americans will make of all this a hundred years from now. Will they be appalled that weapons were once so accessible? Will there be stricter... continue reading