Bozell's Column

Earlier this month, two Catholic-themed movies, "Dogma" and "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc," opened on the same day. Although one is a comedy set in the present and the other a drama set in the 15th century, both serve to remind us that where cinematic portrayals of the Church are concerned, we've come a long way in the wrong direction since the era of "Boys Town" and "The Bells of St. Mary's." It's likely that some orthodox Catholics, unaware of the uncongenial message of the relatively underpublicized "Messenger," wasted their time and money on it. (I did.)... continue reading
Our nation's most influential journalists claim to hate moralists who snoop in people's private lives with their narrow-minded little prejudices. But rarely will you find a news report on the tobacco industry that isn't filled with evangelical fervor about the objectionable private choices people make, and how they must be stopped in spite of themselves. In a one-year study of TV news before the 1996 campaign, Timothy Lamer found tobacco and smoking were the subject of 413 news stories. The stories were stacked against tobacco, featuring 270 soundbites favoring more regulation to just 116 opposed. Eighty-five of those stories focused... continue reading
The usual first complaint about campaign news coverage is the constant fixation with the horse race and the absolute dominance of the polls. And yet, can there be a time for complaining polls aren't reported enough? If you're following the only Senate race in America - in the eyes of the press - the answer is yes. Reporters virtually threw word-processed flower petals in Hillary Clinton's path when she decided to emerge as an unprecedented First Lady non-candidate for the Senate in New York. They touted her intimidating popularity. First-blush polls showed the First Lady crushing potential rival Rudy Giuliani... continue reading
We could debate from dusk till dawn just how far to the right this country has moved in the '90s, but it would be exceptionally hard to argue that the activist rap/rock band Rage Against the Machine has moved at all. Rage Against the What you ask, happily ignorant of what passes for popular music today. You will do well to learn more about this band, its message, and its impact on the young. Rage hit the scene in 1992 and since then has sold more than 5 million records in the U.S. alone. It has always carried a left-wing... continue reading
The national media made the grisly murder of Matthew Shepard a national issue. With the exception of The Washington Times, the New York Post, and Fox News Channel, they quietly exposed their overwhelming bias in favor of the gay-left agenda by refusing to cover the death of 13- year-old Jesse Dirkhising after he was bound, gagged, and sodomized by two gay men. Now one national media voice has broken the silence. Sadly, what he has to say is a shocking defense of an indefensible double standard. On the Web site, Jonathan Gregg suggested the Dirkhising story "received relatively little... continue reading
Last month the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.hosted the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The award recipient was comedic genius Jonathan Winters, and a bevy of entertainers was on hand to pay him tribute, a tribute that was taped for national broadcast in January on Comedy Central. There were a number of good presentations, but the show-stopper came in the middle of the program when the ageless Sid Caesar, with actor/comedian/author/composer Steve Allen serving as his straight man, performed his famed foreign language double-talk routine, one he's been doing for a half-century. Perhaps it was... continue reading
CBS News President Andrew Heyward doesn't buy the complaint that Bryant Gumbel is a liberal activist masquerading as a journalist. He calls him "fair, but tough." Inside the liberal media, Gumbel defenders are constantly calling Gumbel "the best live interviewer on TV." But that's not how the TV critics saw Gumbel's interview with Bill Clinton on the splashy debut of his new job as host of "The Early Show" on CBS. "Soft and unsurprising," declared the New York Times. USA Today wrote: "When Gumbel got around to the legacy question, he never mentioned the word 'impeachment.' He did, however, inform... continue reading
Every so often a new sitcom or drama hits prime time television and becomes the rage. Normally it starts with rave reviews from TV critics, which drive puff-piece People magazine and "Entertainment Tonight" stories, which in turn drive audiences to the program. When all the plugs are firing correctly the resulting combustion brings about the "hit," the craze du jour which best defines the popular culture's taste at that given point in time. The newest rage is Fox's "Ally McBeal," and what this says about the state of popular culture today is rather dreadful. In the October 25 season premiere,... continue reading
When Matthew Shepard died on October 12, 1998 at the age of 21, five days after getting into a pickup truck with two goons who beat him mercilessly, he had already become a huge national news story that continues today. It made the cover of Time magazine with the headline "The War Over Gays," with reporters predictably using the occasion to blame religious conservatives and call for hate-crime laws and other gay-left agenda items. But when Jesse Dirkhising died on September 26 at the age of 13 from suffocation after being bound, gagged with underwear in his mouth, blindfolded, taped... continue reading
Reporters all over Washington and New York were angry. They wailed, they moaned, they gnashed their teeth. They railed against the poisons of partisanship and how partisan interests were outweighing the national interest. This means only one thing. Conservatives had won something. The U.S. Senate had voted down the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, the clearest defeat of a liberal proposal since Clinton's second term began.The news magazines fancifully imagined that this was horrendous political news for the Republicans and Bill Clinton. Time's headline was "Mutually Assured Destruction," while U.S. News & World Report echoed "A Mutually Assured Destruction." Predictably, journalists... continue reading