Bozell's Column

Your mother may have taught you that it takes two to start a fight, but that's not the way the media have presented the Senate's impeachment battles. Partisanship is apparently a one-way street on which the Republicans are forever letting the innocent Democrats down. For example, take the nightly news shows on Saturday, January 23. ABC's "World News Tonight" began with anchor Elizabeth Vargas declaring: "It was a contentious day in the Senate as the split between Democrats and Republicans seemed to grow. The Democrats cried foul after Judge Norma Holloway Johnson today ordered Monica Lewinsky to answer more questions... continue reading
The news that the great director Elia Kazan will be presented with a life-achievement Academy Award at this year's ceremony surprised and delighted many, myself included. It had long been widely assumed that Kazan, now eighty-nine, would forever be slighted in terms of formal recognition for his career, all because he was far ahead of his show-business brethren in grasping the hideous truth about Communism. That's not quite how his critics would put it, of course. To them, Kazan is secondarily the gifted artist who made "On the Waterfront," "East of Eden," and "A Streetcar Named Desire" and primarily the... continue reading
All the media pom-pom shaking over Clinton's latest State of the Union address almost makes me nostalgic for a return to the Reagan years, when the press mercilessly (and, usually, unfairly) slammed the Gipper at every opportunity. At least there was an attempt at journalism. Go back a dozen years. In 1987, ABC's Jim Wooten analyzed Reagan's State of the Union address this way: "During the Reagan years, the number of poor people in America has gone up by 23 percent, while federal help to the poor has gone down by nine percent. And if the President has his way... continue reading
Recently, the broadcast television networks took a little time off from worrying about viewer desertion to host the nation's TV critics on their annual winter visit to southern California. One network executive, WB CEO Jamie Kellner, made waves - of sorts. In the days of the Big Three - ABC, CBS, and NBC, in case you've forgotten - were an executive to claim he didn't care if his web ever finished first in the overall Nielsens, he would have been shown the door. Yet Kellner expressed just such a sentiment to the critics. According to the Washington Post's Lisa de... continue reading
As the President's impeachment trial begins, some of the 89 percent pro-Clinton establishment press are, to put it bluntly, out of control. Their latest partisan attack on the Republican Party is perhaps their most intellectually and ethically dishonest one yet. The House prosecutors are now being blasted for being white. And male. And Christian. On the "CBS Evening News," reporter Phil Jones relayed the latest propaganda line: "Democrats believe House managers are conservative zealots, and some Republicans agree." To validate that slam, Jones turned to one of the most liberal Republican members of the House (but not labeled as such),... continue reading
Heard any good lawyer jokes lately? If you have, most likely you didn't hear them in a movie or on a prime time television show. While the general public tends to disdain trial lawyers, Hollywood loves them. "A Civil Action," co-produced by Robert Redford and starring John Travolta, is the latest in a line of movies this decade in which heroic trial lawyers attempt to bring down evil businessmen or other powerful scoundrels. The movie is based on an actual case in which residents of Woburn, Massachusetts sued Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace for polluting local wells with trichloroethylene (TCE),... continue reading
ABC's "Good Morning America," desperate after sinking near the bottom of the morning TV ratings pile, has announced that network veterans Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer will return "temporarily" to the morning routine. This "temporary" placement is also a permanent shove-off for current hosts Kevin Newman and Lisa McRee. It's about time. In all the coverage surrounding GMA's plummeting fortunes, predictably absent was a discussion on what had to be a primary cause: Lisa McRee was an out-of-control leftist whose outrageous pro-Clinton propaganda made a mockery of the notion of objective journalism. Don't get me wrong. McRee didn't just serve... continue reading
As the Year of Our Intern heads ignominiously for the history books, revisiting the political biases of the press in the last 12 months revolves almost entirely around the events and the players in Monicagate. The media's performance since the story erupted last January 21 makes a mockery of the suggestion that they were somehow playing "Gotcha!" with Bill Clinton during this time. Within days of the nation's introduction to Monica Lewinsky, the media were already tired of it. Time's Nancy Gibbs employed her typically overripe prose in recounting Clinton's what-me-worry State of the Union Address as a glorious respite... continue reading
As 1999 begins, we ought to take stock of 1998 and ask ourselves what the Year of Our Intern taught us about television. Conservatives tend to think of the TV news divisions like a fourth branch of government; that personnel is policy; and the network personnel are unquestionably liberal. But in a recent series of talks, cultural critic Michael Medved has been asking a different question: Isn't television itself, not the personnel, but the experience of television, part of the problem for conservatives? Follow Medved's thinking here. "I think there are elements about television as a medium that predispose the... continue reading
Watching the crass commercialization of Christmas, people of faith shrug and resign themselves to the fact that the "public" is lost, in the death grips of a cultural secularism that simply forbids the celebration of Christmas as the birth of Jesus. We shake our heads and wonder why the "public" can't see things as clearly as we do. Maybe it's because "we" aren't much different from the "public." Every year at the Media Research Center, which I head, we have to tackle the Christmas Card Conundrum. The staff will assemble the Christmas card catalogs and recommend - better put, find... continue reading