Bozell's Column

Last month the Kaiser Family Foundation released yet another report on television's continued slide into the moral sewer. A primary focus of the study was the subject of responsibility. It found that of every hundred sitcom episodes containing sexual material, on average only three mentioned what the report called the "risks and responsibilities of sex." It gets worse. The study looked at 88 scenes in which sexual intercourse was "either depicted or strongly implied." How many of those scenes included even a passing reference to sexual risks or responsibilities? Not a single one. Two characters' decision to engage in sex... continue reading
When the Juanita Broaddrick rape story exploded, my wife expressed the thoughts of millions of people in disbelief that this country is choosing to snooze while the most corrupt president in history continues to wreak havoc on an institution we once considered hallowed. "Won't this stick? It's a good question. The statute of limitations is up, so there's no legal recourse against Bill Clinton. The House is far too preoccupied with Republicans in self-flagellation mode, and the Democrats are too busy laughing at the GOP meltdown (not to mention their own oaths) to bother. And one doesn't waste his time... continue reading
Just in case anyone thought the media's passionate long-standing love affair with the Clintons was threatened by impeachment, witness the fawning frenzy over the suggestion that Hillary might run for the U.S. Senate in New York. How perverse is this speculative bubble? Let me count the ways. 1. The media are once again signaling their sado-masochistic streak. Lie to us! Lie to us again! Throughout this administration, Mrs. Clinton has been the hate-filled leader of the screw-the-press faction. It was Hillary throughout the past year who orchestrated the seven-month avalanche of lies about Monica Lewinsky, kicked off unforgettably by her... continue reading
Poor Ken Starr. It's going from bad to worse. The steady drip of anti-Starr bias in the news media was joined last week by a bucketful from the world of entertainment, as the NBC drama series "Law & Order" and "Homicide: Life on the Street" teamed up to depict the independent counsel as an unprincipled, sex-obsessed demagogue. By way of background, "Law & Order," which airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern and is set in New York, and "Homicide," which airs Fridays at 10 and is set in Baltimore, have done several two-part "crossover" episodes in which characters from the... continue reading
Despite the Senate's predictable collapse into acquittal of a guilty Bill Clinton, everyone can agree that the impeachment and trial was historic, and will become the first sentence in every Clinton encyclopedia entry. But if conservatives feel dissatisfied with the media's slanted first draft on impeachment, wait until you see how historians are distorting it further. One of the most disturbing imbalances in the media's coverage of the impeachment aftermath is the stifling liberal uniformity of the historians who've chiseled their way into the networks' Iron Rolodex of experts. Hours after the vote on CNN, we were treated to Robert... continue reading
This month, HBO is showing another George Carlin comedy special - he's been doing them for the network since 1977 - thereby allowing us to witness the further decline of what used to be an entertainer. For quite a while, Carlin, who turns 62 this spring, was about as mainstream as it got, making a total of 29 appearances on Merv Griffin's program and another 22 with Mike Douglas. Even in the 1970s, when he habitually discoursed on the sociology of gutter language, he could be amusing and observant, if irreverent. For many years now, however, his act has consisted... continue reading
If NBC's recent four-hour miniseries "The '60s" was intended merely to provide boomers with a soothing soak in the bathtub of nostalgia, I suppose it succeeded. But assessed as a history of the time, it was pretty insubstantial. "The '60s" touches on the civil-rights movement and subsequent black militancy but centers on a middle-class, white, Catholic Chicago family, the Herlihys. The father, Bill, is a barber and an old-style Democrat of the type that later voted in large numbers for Ronald Reagan; the mother, Mary, is (what else?) a housewife. Their oldest son, Brian, joins the Marines out of high... continue reading
The judgment is in. After three and a half years of investigation, the IRS has cleared Newt Gingrich and his allied nonprofit groups of any violation of the tax laws in the controversy over his television history course "Renewing American Civilization." So after having run countless news reports highlighting the accusations that ultimately forced Gingrich to pay a $300,000 fine, did the media correct the record with a decent airing of the decision? Are you ready? ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted exactly zero seconds to Newt Gingrich's vindication. Only CNN's Brooks Jackson filed a decent TV report, on the early-evening... continue reading
Pesky Internet gossip Matt Drudge is badgering a national news outlet again. Last year, it was Newsweek sitting on a story about some obscure intern named Lewinsky. This year, it's NBC News spiking an interview with Juanita Broaddrick, identified by the Paula Jones legal team as "Jane Doe #5." Broaddrick has claimed and retracted and now reasserted she was raped by then-Attorney General Bill Clinton in 1978. After Drudge started scooping the juicy rumors (Tom Brokaw threatening to quit if they aired the interview?), others began looking for answers. On MSNBC, Don Imus asked Tim Russert about it. "If and... continue reading
The February 1 Weekly Standard contained a piece by David Brooks about the moral apathy that explains, among other things, high approval ratings for our pathologically mendacious president. Brooks traces the condition not to an economic or intellectual elite, but rather to the middle class. "Bourgeois man," he writes, is "content...with giving the belly priority over the soul. [He] never seem[s] to look up from [his] quotidian concerns to grapple with great truths or profound moral issues." Bill Clinton is the most prominent figure getting away with misdeeds these days, but he's not the only one. There's also broadcast vulgarian... continue reading