Bozell's Column

When it comes to entertainment-industry defenses of Bill Clinton, boilerplate like "We elected him president, not Pope" and "It's no one's business but his and Hillary's" just doesn't work when the charges are perjury and obstruction of justice. So it's time to lower the bar again to try, try to absolve this very corrupt man. How, now, to explain Clinton's raunchy behavior with Monica Lewinsky? Enter Marshall Herskovitz, co-creator of "thirtysomething," the Bush-era series that deserved a special Emmy for pretentious pointlessness. In Bernard Weinraub's September 29 New York Times report on yet another Clinton fundraising visit to Los Angeles,... continue reading
The fledgling cable network MSNBC has made itself into the 24-hour Monica Scandal News Broadcasting Company. You can just hear the liberals: so much obsession with Bill Clinton's wretched affairs proves the fallacy of a liberal bias in the news media, does it not? Well, no. Obviously, a channel in complete obedience to the White House would be a 24-hour change-the-subject channel, showing Clinton meeting with world leaders and kissing small children who pledge not to smoke. Surely you can't say that about MSNBC. But anyone who watches MSNBC quickly learns that while the subject may not be the liberals'... continue reading
Last week's issue of the New Yorker reported that "recently, the [television] networks have begun to ask themselves a novel question: What if we take a stab at the fresh, the daring, the alternative? Not long ago, NBC's entertainment president, Warren Littlefield, gave all his executives granite stones engraved with a single word: 'Risk.'" Having watched as much as I could stand of the first two nights of NBC's premiere-week programming, and then taken a much-needed shower, I can conclude only that Littlefield picked the wrong four-letter word to engrave on those stones. A far more appropriate choice would have... continue reading
Thanks to the almost hourly network tracking polls, we know that even as the public grows more assured every day that the President has committed perjury in a civil suit and before a grand jury, large majorities continue to affirm his performance as President. Anyone who tells a pollster he agrees with both notions - that Bill Clinton is a liar, a cheat, and a perjurer and is doing a great job - is either amoral or a complete idiot. While elected officials of both parties try to regain bipartisan composure after the Clinton videotape release, the rest of us... continue reading
The Emmy awards on September 13 offered the television industry a golden opportunity to present truly topical humor to a national audience. Remember when Dan Quayle was Emmy's whipping boy in 1992? His Murphy Brown speech was endless fodder for political satire from an industry that relishes the chance to pillory politicians in Washington. So the timing of the release of Kenneth Starr's report, two days before the Emmys, was perfect. Surely the one-liners at Bill Clinton's expense would flow; laughter would trump politics; surely we would cringe at the bawdy double entendres that would come from this very irreverent... continue reading
The hard news on the Starr report, with all its damning detail, is now over. Here comes the spin - for the news media, they call it "analysis" - and the response of the President's most devoted media lackeys is to focus on what's not in it: the final word on Whitewater, Travelgate, and Filegate. And they're making James Carville look reasonable by comparison. Geraldo Rivera, soon after announcing the Starr probe was threatening to make him "suicidal," exemplified this approach on CNBC: "Whitewater mentioned two times! Travelgate not once! Filegate not once! Not even a reference to the infamous... continue reading
The Ken Starr report says many things about this president of ours, and his most ethical administration in history. The public reaction to the report also says something about the rest of us. Namely, we - pundits and public alike - are just about as hypocritical, cynical, and shameless as Bill Clinton. Twenty-four hours after the press got its hands on the report came the inevitable backlash. In one national news report after another, and on the (endless) talk show circuit, the question was raised: Did Starr have to be so graphic? "Did this report have to be that detailed,... continue reading
Vice President Al Gore will once again toe the gay-left line on September 19 when he appears as the keynote speaker at the Human Rights Campaign's annual Washington dinner. President Clinton made headlines last year by being the first President to speak to a gay activist event. The Washington Post noted in July that Dick Gephardt is also wooing the gay left, including speaking to an annual Human Rights Campaign dinner in Denver. One HRC activist said: "I have taken note that in the last six to 12 months he has been much more clear and forthright on gay and... continue reading
The online magazine Salon was launched in November 1995 and is a high-quality product. Time chose it as the best Web site of 1996, and Advertising Age has named it "Online Magazine of the Year." Its Table Talk section is the second-largest conferencing area on the Internet. It is referenced in endless reports as an authoritative news source. Small wonder. It is also the most shameless pro-Clinton propaganda outlet on the market today. The activism of this magazine - founded by megabucks Clinton fundraiser William Hambrecht - has been two-pronged. On the one hand it frequently publishes articles, columns, and... continue reading
To watch press coverage of Bill Clinton for the past three weeks is to have an eerie feeling that even among the heretofore hardened 89-percent pro-Clinton media, there is a growing feeling that the gig is up. For five years, the networks enforced an anti-Clinton scandal rule: nothing this administration ever did was presented as damaging to Clinton's impregnable war-room defenses, no matter how serious. He was slick. But not corrupt. When Monicagate erupted, the media paradigm shifted: within hours, reporters were quickly parsing the gaps in a flustered Clinton's legalistic remarks like "there is no sexual relationship." But it... continue reading