Bozell's Column

The old year is slipping away, but there's still time for one more parade. Join me in the reviewing stand as Tinseltown's Winners and Losers of 1997 march by. Winner: "7th Heaven." This wholesome Monday night show from the fledgling Warner Brothers network is now the fastest-growing drama on prime time television. The conventional wisdom in Hollywood is that family-oriented programming is as popular as the 8-track tape; WB chief Jamie Kellner gambled that the conventional wisdom was wrong - and he was right. Loser: NBC entertainment boss Warren Littlefield. The new raunch ("Union Square") isn't drawing like the old... continue reading
Put yourself back in 1985. Imagine Ronald Reagan's HUD Secretary has just been indicted on 18 felony counts of lying to the FBI about payments he made to a mistress. Imagine it was the second Reagan cabinet official to be indicted that year. (For good measure, imagine a third Reagan cabinet member who most assuredly would have been inidcted but for a fatal plane crash.) Now imagine the press reaction, the magazine cover stories, the shrieking network leadoffs. Of course, nothing of the sort ever happened on the Gipper's watch and yet the media's operative phrase, repeated countless times year... continue reading
This past June, the Media Research Center's Free Market Project reported on prime time television's portrayal of business and the workplace. The study found that television "shows a cynicism toward business that it does not show toward any other" institution, that corporate executives frequently are depicted as either buffoons or sadists, and that the treatment of capitalism is "almost universally hostile." If this sounds like an exaggeration, you've not watched the NBC sitcom "Working," which somehow manages to put all of these hostilities toward entrepreneurialism on display. "Working" debuted this fall and wasted no time in offering a highly negative... continue reading
1997's Notable Quotes In Review by L. Brent Bozell III December 11, 1997 Political news seems trapped between the off-year, lame-duck-White-House blahs and the tabloid temptations of negligent nannies and surging sextuplets. Nevertheless, political reporters and pundits still can't resist displaying their liberal passions. Fifty-seven judges nationwide have just voted on the Media Research Center's "Best Notable Quotables of 1997." The desire to drive up the negatives of conservatives still runs strong. In the "Quote of the Year" category, Sam Donaldson came close to winning by telling Jay Leno in January that he thought Newt Gingrich is "like Lenin. They... continue reading
I was in a Blockbuster video rental shop the other day and as I made my way to the counter to pay for my video I happened to walk by the "Classic Movies" section. Though virtually all the films selected as "classics" were box office successes, this isn't a qualifier; you won't find "Jaws" or "Jurassic Park" here. What you'll find is what the film industry considers its tours de force, from "Ben Hur" and "Lawrence of Arabia" to "Casablanca" and "The Longest Day." The walk down the "Classic Movies" section is a stroll down memory lane, back to a... continue reading
Media Hot Air on Climate Change by L. Brent Bozell III December 4, 1997 If you believe what you hear on network evening news shows, you should by now be in a panic over global warming. CBS correspondent Scott Pelley has warned that "scientists are already measuring the destruction, from floods in American valleys to vanishing ice on world peaks." You've heard NBC's George Lewis forecasts "wild swings in the weather, from heavy rains to prolonged droughts, ruining crops all over the earth." ABC's Peter Jennings keeps insisting that runaway global warming is just around the corner, that "it would... continue reading
The major television networks have been losing viewers since the malaise days of Jimmy Carter. Since 1980, in homes with the widest range of TV options - pay cable, basic cable, and broadcast - basic cable's audience share has climbed from four percent to 31 percent, while the Big Three's piece of the pie has been sliced from 56 percent to 32 percent. It's not hard to explain this slow collapse. Oh, the networks will point to increased competition from (primarily) cable, but that's really not the reason, especially when two new broadcast networks, UPN and WB, have been launched... continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, a major television network made an announcement about its lowest-rated weekly series, whose subject matter had insulted tens of millions and led to a national boycott causing dozens of sponsors to pull their advertising dollars. If you're assuming the announcement dealt with the show's cancellation, you are blessed with common sense and, therefore, are unfit to be an ABC executive. Yes, Disney/ABC has renewed its virulently anti-Catholic, rarely watched drama "Nothing Sacred" for the rest of the season. To examine this situation is to understand the arrogant nature of the Michael Eisner empire. 1. Defenders... continue reading
Spendthrift GOP? Blame Them - and the Media by L. Brent Bozell III November 26, 1997 Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute shouldn't expect too many invitations to congressional receptions. Moore, one of those invaluable wonks who devotes his life to actually burrowing through the hundreds of pages of one the nation's least-read books - "Budget of the United States Government" - has taken on the Republican Congress with an uncomfortable statistic: "In their first three budgets (FY 96-98), the Republicans have increased domestic spending by $183 billion compared to a $155 billion increase in the three years prior to... continue reading
Still No Objectivity on Race Relations by L. Brent Bozell III November 20, 1997 As baby boomers who grew up on Bull Connor brutality and the civil rights struggle, reporters learned early that objectivity was a concept detrimental to the noble pursuit of justice: how could a reporter not take sides as blacks risked everything seeking the right to vote? The debate has shifted far beyond the original demand for color-blindness into the black Left's onerous demands, through virulent race-baiting politics, for racial entitlements - and still reporters hold just as reflexively to the cause of the "civil rights movement."... continue reading