Bozell's Column

The other night I was tuned in to NBC, watching the Mel Gibson movie "Braveheart," clearly one of the best films in recent years. Next door on Fox they were airing the annual Emmy Awards extravaganza, clearly one of the dumbest shows television has to offer. Go beyond the hoopla - the dresses, the stars, the winners and losers - and ask yourself this simple question: Just what are they - we - celebrating here? There are exceptions, of course, but as a rule there's just so little to cheer about, really, with a television industry that quality-wise is in... continue reading
With the Waco fiasco back in the headlines, one of two conclusions concerning this Attorney General of ours is inescapable. Either Janet Reno is the most corrupt A.G. in memory, or the most incompetent. It also says something about the political press that has slobbered all over Ms. Reno for years, most notably over her handling of the Waco disaster back in '93. Let's take a trip down Memory Lane, when Reno took responsibility for the disaster, even though her department's supposed number-three man, Webster Hubbell, was more involved than she was. Far from burying Reno in charges of incompetence,... continue reading
One of the awful things about the dog days of summer is that with the political class on vacation, the pundits have nothing to write about - and it shows. It's bad enough when they're analyzing hard news but it's far worse when there's no real news to talk about and they're left to their own devices. The Bush cocaine nonstop nothingness was one such venture, but the world finally tired, and the pundits had to move on. But move on...where? To the two presidential frontrunners, quite possibly the two most boring candidates in the history of the republic? I... continue reading
They say nothing happens in Washington in August. Well, that wasn't true last year (President testifies to grand jury, then bombs Sudan and Afghanistan to nudge along the news cycle) and it wasn't true this year, either. August was the month the media opened fire on George W. Bush. The month began with Tom Daschle, the Senate Minority Leader, suggesting to reporters the need to devote more resources to researching unsubstantiated rumors that GOP front-runner George W. Bush had snorted cocaine in his allegedly wild youth. Suddenly, out of thin air, "questions" were "haunting" the Bush campaign. Anchors cited the... continue reading
In the midst of the media's obsession with the George W. Bush cocaine non-stories and Hillary's non-campaign campaign for New York Senate, one explosive story is going completely unreported by the liberal broadcast television media. Not only is it newsworthy, it also reveals much about President Bill Clinton and his calloused political maneuverings. And the media lid of silence speaks volumes about their treatment of his presidency. On August 11, the Associated Press reported on Clinton's decision to offer clemency to 11 members of a militant Puerto Rican independence group. Here is an excerpt from that story: "President Clinton offered... continue reading
With the Iowa straw poll behind us and Bill and Hillary on vacation, the political press is settling in for the annual summer doldrums. Suggestion: why doesn't someone out there use this time finally to do a serious piece on the views of Senator Bill Bradley, Al Gore's very credible challenger? Perhaps the biggest reason Bradley is closing the gap on Gore is that he's unencumbered by the ailment known as Clinton fatigue. But Bradley is also the recipient of some high profile support (Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson are donors), and the beneficiary of some exceedingly favorable press. These... continue reading
The idea that corporate America is as responsible as anyone for the greatly increased sewage that has become prime time television took some time to sink in, but sink in it has - at least in certain quarters. Hollywood can produce as many raunchy sitcoms and dramas as it likes, but if no one bought time on them, they'd never reach the airwaves. It's true that some, most notably the Rev. Donald Wildmon and his American Family Association, have been targeting irresponsible sponsors for a long time. Wildmon's campaigns, like those of all boycotters, are reactive: they find an objectionable... continue reading
I'm getting ready for my annual vacation to the beach with my family. This year it's going to be special. I was at the Charlotte, North Carolina airport late the other night waiting for a connecting flight to take me home after a rather grueling day on the road. I was on the phone with my son, explaining that the crush of business had caused me to miss a flight and that I wouldn't be getting home until the middle of the night. Nothing extraordinary; these things happen all the time, unfortunately. Just as I was hanging up I heard... continue reading
Last week's news was dominated by Hillary Clinton's preposterous claim that her husband's childhood traumas made him the serial adulterer he is. She found it amazing he became this tremendous leader of our country after all the "abuse." The White House back-pedaled furiously from Hillary's remarks, trying to deny the obvious poor-abused-Bill tenor of her remarks. By week's end, frothing attack dog James Carville was back on national TV, ridiculously offering $100,000 to anyone who could prove the First Lady ever said what she said. (While anti-Clinton media critics rarely, if ever, get air time, when the Clintonistas bash the... continue reading
There's nothing quite so strange as the press corps announcing the removal of their own watchdog's teeth. On July 31, Washington Post reporter Charles Babington triumphantly reported the birth of a new Clinton era: "With the news media and Congress taking their cue from a public weary of questions about presidential scandal, President Clinton is free to devote his final 18 months in office to issues he sees as crucial to his legacy." Babington noted the way reporters have abandoned scandal questions in press conferences, and "have turned their focus to federal budget surpluses, Medicare expansions, and other topics the... continue reading