Bozell's Column

As much as the imploding impeachment trial may have demoralized cultural conservatives, it's important to consider that demoralization is also evident on the cultural left. It's also very different, as The Nation's recent issue focusing on Hollywood politics demonstrates. The magazine's designated editor for this issue, Peter Biskind, interviewed prominent Hollywood liberals and found lots of dismay with where politics is going in the late Clinton era. Alec Baldwin, just a few months after chanting for Henry Hyde to be stoned by an angry mob, is still willing to demonize his opponents in the impeachment collapse: "They were on their... continue reading
Ever since the funny-money scandal at the Democratic National Committee became public in the fall of 1996, the national media have established an ironclad pattern. National newspapers break new investigative ground. Network TV "news" operations studiously ignore it. But the greatest outrage yet in the networks' see-no-evil suppression campaign came on Easter Sunday, when the Los Angeles Times reported that "The chief of China's military intelligence secretly directed funds from Beijing to help re-elect President Clinton in 1996, former Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung has told federal investigators." No reasonable person, no journalist worth his salt, would ever suggest this wasn't... continue reading
For decades, teenagers' taste in entertainment has served to distress their parents. Alice Cooper in the '70s, Madonna in the '80s, and Marilyn Manson today - all were personifications of values colliding with acceptable cultural behavior. Each act arrived on the scene and found an entertainment industry prepared to allow walls of tradition to be leveled if there was a profit to be found. Those days have ended. Hollywood no longer needs to be pushed. A look at the crop of teen movies so far this year demonstrates this sad truth. It tells you something that almost all of the... continue reading
Most political consultants would warn that running commercials 19 months before the election isn't the most effective use of funds. But it paid off tremendously for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) when they took to the airwaves with ads attacking the abortion records of Republican candidates George W. Bush and Elizabeth Dole. It was the oldest trick in the book. NARAL ponied up just a few thousand dollars for the ad buy, but what they were counting on - and got - was hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free publicity, thanks to the networks... continue reading
Despite the media's love affair with anniversaries, the 20th anniversary of the Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network, better known as C-SPAN, has come and gone with little notice. In the same time frame, two network morning shows celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Barbie doll. Perhaps we shouldn't expect other television channels to celebrate C-SPAN, but they should. In an age when the network news panders to tabloid tastes (do we have a murdered six-year-old beauty queen for you!) and soccer-mom paranoia (learn how to keep your kids away from getting a high off the barbecue grill!), C-SPAN offers what... continue reading
Watch how the audience reacted to Kazan at the Oscars. Since the beginning of Monicagate, we've heard terms like "betrayer" and "backstabber" applied again and again to Linda Tripp. Recently, however, Tripp was temporarily replaced as unofficial national snitch by director Elia Kazan, who on March 21 was presented a life-achievement Academy Award. In 1952, Kazan, whose best-known pictures are "On the Waterfront" and "East of Eden," gave the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) the names of eight Communist Party members. He thereby became, and remains to this day, a pariah to many Hollywood leftists, who strongly objected to... continue reading
When George Stephanopoulos first helped Bill Clinton to victory in 1992, he became an instant celebrity. As the first press spokesman of the first Democratic President in 12 years, the media embraced him with excessive warmth. Time's Margaret Carlson cooed, "His power whisper makes people lean in to him, like plants reaching toward the sun." After George helped carry Clinton to victory again in 1996, he announced his plans to join the private sector. Again, the media reaction was overwhelmingly positive, with ABC, CBS, and CNN fighting for his services. ABC got him for a reported six-figure sum. Newsweek grabbed... continue reading
The second week of March brought two superficially unrelated news stories that, when more closely examined, both turned out to illuminate the ongoing fall of self-restraint and taste, and the ongoing rise of self-indulgence and vulgarity. First came the death of Joe DiMaggio, whose grace on and off the field was exceptional and inspirational. Many great athletes forget, or never understand, their obligation to the public. They develop a bloated sense of entitlement based on talent alone. DiMaggio knew how superb a player he was, but no matter how well he hit, ran, and threw, he was always cognizant of... continue reading
We've heard it for months - from the White House, from Democrats in Congress, from the push polls - the American people were aching to "move on" and get on with "the nation's business." But once the impeachment trial came to its ignominious end, what did the biggest champions of "moving on," the media, move on to? Social Security reform? Medicare financing? The Broaddrick scandal that goes ever deeper to the core of Clinton's character? The China espionage revelations that threaten our national security? Naah. First, the national press gave us two weeks of "Run, Hillary, Run" cheerleading. Now we're... continue reading
The major entertainment television networks are all in free falls. Audiences are leaving by the tens of millions and at this rate we'll see one or more web crash and burn. What will save ABC, CBS, and NBC from financial ruin? Try common sense. The story actually begins in early 1995, when CBS's "Touched By an Angel," then in its first season, was on the verge of cancellation. Concerned viewers rallied behind it, and now "Angel" is a monster hit that has triggered other pro-family, pro-religion efforts - one of which is "7th Heaven," now the most popular show on... continue reading