Bozell's Column

Bob Woodward, one of Washington's sacred cows, is on another triumphant book tour. He glides along through interviews, without any heartfelt challenge from his colleagues to his journalistic practices. A few ask about his sourcing, but readily accept his refusal to discuss sources. As Salon's Jake Tapper exclaimed, "it's because he occupies a higher journalistic plane than the rest of us." His new book, "Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate," is mostly about the Clintons and their parade of lies through the Lewinsky scandal. But the book needed a larger thesis than just that sex-and-perjury melodrama, and so... continue reading
The broadcast television networks, which set records for raunchy program content this past season, are on the ropes. Last summer, for the first time ever, basic cable pulled in a bigger audience share than did they. Broadcast network executives predictably sniffed that this was but an aberration caused by the summer rerun season. With the new shows unveiled in the fall, all would be well. True, the broadcast networks regained a majority share of the audience in the past TV season, but it's a shrinking majority. It now stands at 55 percent, down from 69 percent just five years ago... continue reading
Don't let those pom-poms fool you. Those media cheerleaders for Hillary Clinton's impending Senate run in New York are also carrying brass knuckles. It all began with a Neil Lewis dispatch on the front page of the June 13 New York Times, where Starr aides said a final report could be "blistering." Liberal reporters and pundits started landing blows on Starr, saying he should not be allowed to create political damage. How inappopriate for a supposedly nonpartisan officer of the court! For a reality check, please remember the utter lack of liberal outrage when Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh re-indicted Caspar... continue reading
The aftershocks from the massacre at Columbine High School continue. Now it's the politicians' turn to step up to the bully pulpit. In one sense, Washington's interest in the issue is healthy. What happened in Colorado is symptomatic of a cultural rot that is eating away at the moral foundation of American society. No topic should take precedence over this for our nation's leaders. Ultimately, however, this is not a political matter, and no quantity of government regulations will solve the mess. Bill Clinton grabbed headlines by pressuring the National Association of Theater Owners into requiring that moviegoers who look... continue reading
Gun rights defenders often wonder how the media can be so hostile to the Second Amendment to the Constitution, while they so hallow the First Amendment. But do they really revere freedom of expression? Liberal media stars are starting to think it's time to "modernize" our classical understanding of free speech. Democracy, they say, can't function when wealthy corporations and individuals can buy more speech than the average American. Just as liberals have always wished to redistribute the wealth to achieve a rigidly enforceable equality, so too would speech be redistributed to address the economic inequities of our awful capitalist... continue reading
PTC Action Alert: Watch two video excerpts of "It's Elementary" In 1996, Hillary Rodham Clinton's book "It Takes a Village" argued for greater non-parental influence in the lives of children. That same year, a documentary film called "It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School" offered an example of the Hillary Doctrine in action. In the movie, administrators and faculty, stepping into the moral tutor's role historically filled by moms and dads, advocated to youngsters in grades one through eight the oh-so-enlightened position that Gay Is OK. Now "It's Elementary" has come to public television. Some PBS stations have already... continue reading
Why is it, I wonder, that Dan Rather is incapable of keeping his opinions to himself when reporting news? Nobody's forgotten Rather's warm wishes for Bill Clinton at a CBS affiliates meeting on May 27,1993: "If we could be one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we'd take it right now and walk away winners...Thank you very much and tell Mrs. Clinton we respect her and we're pulling for her." Rest assured Rather's love affair with the Clintons continues. He's betrayed it twice this year on "60 Minutes II." First came his... continue reading
On the heels of Littleton, some in Hollywood finally - finally! - are acknowledging the obvious: there is a connection between entertainment media messages bombarding impressionable youngsters and their subsequent behavior. CBS won't air (for now) its violent new series, "Falcone." Fox is scrubbing (for now) its graphically gory "reality" TV shows. Barry Diller, whose Studios USA owns "The Jerry Springer Show," has promised (again) that on-set fistfights will no longer be permitted. Some are suggesting this is but symbolic posturing on the part of network executives, and they might be right. But I don't think so. I think the... continue reading
When Rep. Christopher Cox was tapped by Newt Gingrich to head a nine-member special committee to probe Chinese espionage, he pledged to conduct a serious inquiry without public hearings. The New York Times and other media outlets filed admiring profiles of this oh-so-restrained Republican. The reporters applauded because Cox apparently wouldn't behave like those other undiplomatic crazies who insisted on public hearings to air Democrats' dirty laundry (see "Burton, Dan"). A smart move, a better media strategy? After all, how much coverage did the national media like to give Dan Burton's persistent probe into Asian fundraising, anyway? How much did... continue reading
Have you noticed how the media regularly declare the Republicans to be on the political ropes, while the Democrats never seem to have a bad week? The second week of May was a case study. Print and broadcast outlets alike pronounced the Republican Party battered and bloody by their deadly ties to the NRA. But it was also the week Al Gore quietly named a new campaign chairman: Tony Coelho. What? You mean, Tony Coelho, the ex-Congressman who resigned in disgrace ten years ago rather than face any investigation of his sweetheart loan deal with an S&L executive to buy... continue reading