Bozell's Column

Rhetoric aside, the entertainment industry has been largely indifferent to private and public-sector concern over the societal impact of graphic material in movies, television shows, music, and video games. At times Congress has made noise about becoming directly involved in the matter, leading to industry pledges to deal with the problem, resulting in...nothing. Those supposed cleanup efforts have been so flaccid as to be doomed from the beginning. For example, in 1997, the television networks adopted age-based and content ratings for their programming in order to inform parents which shows they should keep their kids away from. What happened? The... continue reading
Call it the conservative media critic's Y2K problem. As the year 2000 creeps up, the networks are seeking to sum up the century, and their review of history isn't any fairer than their coverage the first time around. ABC anchorman Peter Jennings stands at the helm of a massive undertaking titled "The Century," which began as a best-selling book by Jennings and Todd Brewster, a former editor and writer with Life magazine. The book is being cross-promoted with excerpts on as well as twelve hours of recently aired specials on ABC and sixteen hours on The History Channel. The... continue reading
Last September, Will Truman of the debuting NBC comedy "Will & Grace" became the first explicitly homosexual male lead character on a prime time television series. On April 8, a lesser but still important milestone was reached when Will became the first gay lead character on a series airing in the first hour of prime time. Welcome to the family hour, 1999. In terms of eroding what's left of the family hour, NBC's move of "Will & Grace" to 8:30 Thursdays packed the punch of a hurricane, given that the show depicts the gay lifestyle as innocent joke fodder, not... continue reading
With the conservative movement splintered into many confusing camps on issues from Kosovo to the coming presidential campaign, it's touching to know The Washington Post still fears the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Months after the incredible shrinking impeachment trial, the Post erupts now with a massive two-part series on the demonic figure known as Richard Mellon Scaife, known to Clinton-lovers as the Grand Imperial Wizard of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. They announced they had undertaken a massive investigative project that took many months and a baseball team of reporters and researchers to compile. Previous media reports attempted to get to... continue reading
The National Rifle Association has already won, hands down, the distinction of having the worst luck of any lobbying group in politics this year. Days before a big three-day NRA convention would begin in Denver, the Columbine High School massacre shocked and outraged the nation. What to do to contain the public-relations nightmare? Cognizant that the national media always shower blame on the NRA after a high-profile shooting, the NRA cancelled its plans for a large gun exhibition and just retained its core "meeting of members" and an awards dinner on May Day. While that may have stopped hordes of... continue reading
Most people try to be especially compassionate in the event of tragedy. Most people. Then there's Howard Stern, the sewer jockey who was at his vilest the morning after the Littleton, Colorado school massacre. I've read his remarks several times, and part of me can't believe he made them. But then I'm reminded who this man is and how obnoxious he can be when he puts his mind to it. Referring to video footage of the terrified students fleeing Columbine High School, Stern commented, "There were some really good-looking girls running out with their hands over their heads. Did [Eric... continue reading
The early reports on the afternoon of April 20 sounded just too familiar: shots fired in a school, children wounded, children dead. Then it emerged that the death toll at Littleton's Columbine High School would be far higher than those in several similar incidents over the past year and a half. One week later, we're still shaking our heads in disbelief - I hope. As we near the end of both the century and the millennium, increasingly it seems that our society is not merely frayed or torn; it's been ripped apart. In the case of the Littleton killings, the... continue reading
When Johnny Chung arrives to testify before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee about the Chinese plot to gain U.S. military technology through espionage and political contributions, will the mainstream media show up? Or will they repeat the pattern of 1997, when testimony like Chung's wasn't fit for broadcast, unlike the really important hearings on Capitol Hill like the one on "road rage"? Critics within the media elite find nothing wrong with this utter lack of interest at Chung's charges or the evidence that establishes a China connection to the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign.Committees of... continue reading
The high volume of pro-homosexual propaganda on today's entertainment television may have caused you to forget TV's once-frequent liberal preachments on that other hot-button social issue, abortion. To be sure, there was no galvanic, "pro-choice" equivalent of Ellen's coming-out. But for the past fifteen years, prime time's entertainment faucet has steadily dripped abortion advocacy. The pro-abortion messages weren't subtle. A character on ABC's yuppie whinefest, "thirtysomething," lamented that in George Bush's "kinder, gentler America, [a pregnant woman] may not have a choice." NBC's "Law & Order" more than once caricatured pro-lifers as fanatics. The title character of CBS's "Murphy Brown"... continue reading
The Whitewater scandal seems like such a distant issue to most Americans that it takes eternal vigilance (and political incorrectness) for someone to put it in perspective. When Susan McDougal was acquitted of criminal contempt charges by a Little Rock jury April 12, somewhere between the media cheerleaders, the Landmark Legal Foundation's Mark Levin got what should be the last word. On MSNBC'S "InterNight," Levin was double-teamed by Susan's fiancee Pat Harris and Susan's brother Bill Henley. When Henley demanded that Levin list his donations from conservative benefactor Richard Scaife, Levin deadpanned: "We don't loot S&Ls for our money. We... continue reading