Bozell's Column

Just a few months after owner Marty Peretz bounced Michael Kelly for being too tough on Bill Clinton, The New Republic finds itself with an even greater embarrassment to its reputation. Associate Editor Stephen Glass, hailed by magazine staffers as a brilliant, mercilessly accurate young journalistic ace, has been exposed as a total fraud. The staff of Forbes Digital Tool exposed Glass's final New Republic article, a cheeky look at young hackers who, it turned out, did not exist. Oh, what irony. To the dismay of all those high-faluting liberal Internet bashers from the print press, it was online journalists... continue reading
Yet another major article about prime time television's malaise appeared on the front page of the May 11 New York Times. The networks, it seems, are in a state of panic. They've been watching, for some thirty years, their audiences drop, but now it's a free-fall. In the past four years, the broadcast networks' share of the prime time audience has dropped from 68 percent to 58 percent; it is the first time ever it has fallen below 60 percent. Something desperately needs to be done to prevent, in Times reporter Bill Carter's words, "a future of shrinking influence and... continue reading
Every year, the University of Georgia's journalism school announces the winners of its Peabody Awards for "distinguished achievement and meritorious public service" in television and radio. The awards for 1997, thirty-four in all, were presented on May 11. Six were given to shows on the commercial broadcast television networks, and half of those speak volumes about the political proclivities of the Peabodys. Three of the broadcast network awards went to programs, or installments of programs, that had no ideological ax to grind. Until 1998, NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street" had too much dramatic integrity to indulge in sociological crusading... continue reading
Recently Disney/ABC Television boss Michael Eisner penned a thoughtful piece in the Wall Street Journal excoriating his fellow television programmers not to hide behind the First Amendment in their seemingly relentless pursuit of the dumbing down of culture. "How many times," Mr. Eisner asked, "have you seen entertainment executives justify the release of vile programs and repugnant lyrics by sanctimoniously proclaiming 'freedom of speech'?" The First Amendment, he maintains (correctly), was envisioned as a restraint on government's censorship temptations, not as a license for producers to "encourage barbarism." He acknowledges that there "is a constant tension between allowing artists who... continue reading
Am I dreaming? Has the whole world gone mad? Are the liberal media really running down Congressman Dan Burton for a lack of objectivity, and the use of selective editing? Let's be clear here. These are not offenses if you're working for this country's "objective" press. They're cherished professional requirements. How could the liberal media get through the day without tendentious bias and selective editing? If you take the coverage of Dan Burton himself and his release of prison transcripts starring Webster Hubbell, the shameless crook who was once the number-three law enforcement official in America, these three media tactics... continue reading
A Tale of Two Sundays by L. Brent Bozell III May 5, 1998 I know I'm all alone on this one, but I've never been able to stomach Barbra Streisand's voice. To me it sounds at times like an untuned banjo. Still, I'll vow to listen to her music for as long as she wants if in turn she will promise to stop producing her boorishly PC movies. Three years ago, Streisand produced the heavy-handed "Serving in Silence," an NBC film which advocated an end to the military's ban on open homosexuals and portrayed as bigots those supporting it. Last... continue reading
One of the most annoying contemporary forms of liberal media bias is the insistence that the reporting of the 89-percent pro-Clinton press is objective journalism, and the reporting of the emerging conservative media is not journalism, but episodic outbursts of raw hatred toward our President. Exhibit A: the coverage of philanthropist Richard Scaife, whose foundations have funded the investigative journalism of The American Spectator. Mr. Scaife has been an important figure in the conservative movement for decades, but he never emerged as a media target until the Clinton White House handed out 330-page Xerox packets charging a bizarre-o right-wing media... continue reading
'Ellen': Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish by L. Brent Bozell III April 28, 1998 It's a rite of spring in Hollywood when the television networks unveil their schedules for the next season. ABC won't announce its fall lineup until May 19, but this much we do know: "Ellen" will not be part of it. Hallelujah. Cancellation of the lesbianfest had been foreseen long ago, but ever mindless about public opinion, the Disney-owned network refused, until now, to admit what a disaster this show had become. What a difference a year makes. In April and May of '97, "Ellen," and Ellen... continue reading
Allow me to escort you on another strange ride through the incredible moral relativism of the Left today. The publishing house Verso is suggesting that all communism needs to improve its sagging image is a little plastic surgery, a high-class Manhattan makeover with a dash of wit and panache. An annoyingly cheeky Washington Post feature recently noted Verso's new glossy coffee-table edition of the Communist Manifesto, with Verso managing director Colin Robinson entertaining reporter Paula Span with visions of mannequins with fists in the air in Barney's department store window and Marx and Engels replacing Gideon Bibles at finer New... continue reading
Prime Time Religion: The Continuing Schism by L. Brent Bozell III April 21, 1998 Much has been written of late regarding entertainment television's Great Semi-Awakening, the surge in religious content in the middle and late 1990s. It's less than meets the eye. For the past five years, the Media Research Center has released an annual analysis of prime time network television's handling of religion. In quantitative terms the growth is most definitely there. The MRC's first report, covering 1993, noted there were 116 treatments, defined as anything from a one-liner to a plotline, on prime time. By 1997, that number... continue reading