Bozell's Column

Prime time television's ratings leader, NBC, last Monday [note to editors: May 12] became the first network to announce its schedule for fall 1997. The peacock web has long prospered despite airing minimal family programming, and judging from what it has planned, it apparently believes that if the bottom line ain't broke, don't fix it: once again, shows suitable for all ages are the exception to the rule. In other words, "Must See TV" is a must to avoid for those concerned about cultural sewage. An ongoing and disturbing trend at NBC over the past few years has been to... continue reading
I Couldn't Believe My Ears by L. Brent Bozell III May 14, 1997 The other day, I watched Rep. Dan Burton's extraordinary "Special Privilege" address to the Congress on C-SPAN. He laid out, methodically and decisively, the incredible record of Clinton administration criminal activities, lies, obfuscation, and stonewalling that his committee had prepared, and which the mainstream press, with particular emphasis placed on the networks, has ignored. What, I wondered, could these media mavens say now? What Burton did was to slam the book shut on mere speculation by offering a chronological accounting of facts that simply bury this administration... continue reading
The Media's Budget Approach: Spare the Facts, Ma'am by L. Brent Bozell III May 8, 1997 There are really two debates unfolding over the federal budget. One is political-Democrats versus Republicans, or the dealmakers in the "middle" versus the "extremes" on either end who oppose the deal. The other debate is clarity versus confusion. In a new Joint Economic Committee report, economist Hayden Bryan notes that "the complexity, duplication, and drawn-out nature of the formulation of budget policy make the public's understanding of policy, and policy makers' accountability for decisions, less clear." In a process now fraught with ambiguity and... continue reading
Journalist, Heal Thyself by L. Brent Bozell III May 7, 1997 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... continue reading
Dan Burton in the Media Bull's Eye by L. Brent Bozell III May 1, 1997 In today's competitive, rapid-fire communications industry, reporters don't tell the world what happened today, they try to predict what will happen tomorrow. So it wouldn't be prudent to wait and see how Dan Burton's Government Reform and Oversight Committee undertakes its upcoming investigation or what it discovers about Democratic fundraising. The media are already vilifying Burton as something just this side of Cro-Magnon. Al D'Amato and Newt Gingrich can tell him this is just the beginning. The media pile-on is under way for a simple... continue reading
The heavily promoted Big Coming-Out Episode of "Ellen" is now, Deo gratia , over. Most people (this writer included) were long since sick of the hype. But still the question lingers: Why did they do it? The mantra within the entertainment community, conveniently trotted out every time it causes trouble, is that it's "giving the market what it wants." In this case, however, the market flatly rejected the lesbian cha-cha-cha. A recent TV Guide survey found that by a margin of more than 3 to 1, respondents believe it's a bad idea for a series to have a homosexual lead... continue reading
Democrats: No Ties to "Merchants of Death"? by L. Brent Bozell III April 24, 1997 Big Tobacco is to the 1990s what Big Oil was to the 1970s: the media's Public Enemy Number One. The networks breathlessly lead the newscasts with details of the latest negotiations between Big Tobacco and the Attorneys General of 23 states seeking Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Tim Lamer of the Media Research Center's Free Market Project did the mathematics on this issue last year: from August 1, 1995 to July 31, 1996, tobacco and smoking were the subject of 413 morning and evening news stories,... continue reading
Quiz time: This group was small. It was based in southern California. Its beliefs were outside the mainstream. It drew a flurry of news coverage when, recently, it ceased to exist. Can you identify it? No, it's not Heaven's Gate - but close. The correct answer is the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, the hyperfeminist show-business PAC which doled out almost $6 million to liberal candidates since 1984. The HWPC folded its Armani tent on April 12 with the typically self-righteous huff that it "will no longer collaborate with a system that promotes the buying and selling of political office." True,... continue reading
Where's the Obvious Analysis? by L. Brent Bozell III April 17, 1997 As the news business changes to an every-minute, 24-hour news cycle, all our media outlets claim they have to change their style to compete. Hard news is passe - by the time they get around to it, networks, news magazines, even morning newspapers claim hard news is old news. Therefore, they must reward us with analysis, synthesis, perspective on the news. But when it comes to the Clinton scandals, we're getting precious little of either. Obviously, the newspapers deserve credit for getting on the fundraising scandal beat last... continue reading
Something - principle... desperation... a spring breeze... - has motivated Newt Gingrich to stiffen his spine on the topic of federal arts funding. The Speaker may revert to what some claim to be an all-too-frequent jellyfish mode, but for the time being, the right feels encouraged. After talking tough to the thugs who run China, now comes the hard part: Gingrich proposes to stand up to the arts establishment and call for the elimination of the NEA. Though he deserves credit for speaking out, let us remember that it was only two years ago, in the heady days of the... continue reading