Bozell's Column

Last April Fool's Day, at a press conference announcing his weekly late-night television program, Howard Stern remarked that broadcast standards were "at an all-time low" and that he was "here to represent" that state of affairs. He was too modest. Week-old garbage has a better stench than the thoroughly repugnant "Howard Stern Radio Show," which has now aired twice and easily qualifies as the most disgusting show in the history of broadcast television. The premiere, on August 22, opened with Stern telling his audience what President Clinton should have said during The Speech: "My penis is swollen bigger than Rosie... continue reading
Amateur psychoanalysis of public figures is one of the most annoying excesses of modern journalism. Media bigwigs would no doubt claim that the heinous beast, the Twenty-Four Hour News Cycle, requires eschewing the hard facts in favor of putting the news in "perspective." But in a commercial environment where news producers assume tedious concepts like executive privilege or articles of impeachment spell death by remote control, it is simply easier - and more fun - to carry forward the trite human-interest angles of the story. Hence the ongoing media love letters to Hillary Rodham Clinton we are witnessing - at... continue reading
"Would you allow your daughter to be in a room alone with Bill Clinton?" Never mind the obvious answer: That the question would be asked in reference to a President of the United States pretty much tells you what this man's legacy is going to be. Those job approval ratings may still be holding, but to most of America the man's ethics are repugnant. "Most of America," of course, doesn't include the entertainment industry, which now is feeling closer to Their Man Bill than ever before. When there was doubt about Clinton's actions with Monica his defense fund couldn't find... continue reading
If the media coverage of the aftermath of Clinton's counterfeit confession were a TV commercial, it would sound like this: "Ken Starr, you've just presented the evidence to force the President of the United States to admit he's lied to the country for seven months. Won't you now please leave for Disney World?" Minutes before the speech, CNN's Jeff Greenfield predicted Clinton's address would cause a surge in his polling numbers since all presidential addresses trigger that reaction, rendering the poll meaningless. Too bad no one at the networks was listening. Within minutes, Dan Rather was reading the result of... continue reading
So the president has delivered his mea-sort-of-but-not-really-culpa regarding Monicagate and fled to the resort region of coastal Massachusetts, a place so reflexively pro-Clinton that one resident told Mary McGrory he was sure that famous dress stain was actually salad dressing. Until the First Philanderer gets back to town, we'll attend to a nagging question: Q.: What's worse than the media's coddling of Clinton? A.: That same coddling accompanied by the media's vilification of his adversaries - Linda Tripp, for example. Pertinent to this is James Hattori's exploration, on the August 6 edition of CNN's "NewsStand," of whether mockery of public... continue reading
Outside of hermits in Montana mud huts, no one could assert the TV networks haven't followed the saga of Monica Lewinsky. This story is giving last year's "Death of a Princess" bonanza a run for its money. (Which is not to say coverage is unbiased, or that they've pursued every angle, as in Linda Tripp's story of Clintonite threats and surveillance.) Unfortunately, the Clinton scandals without talk of "genetic material" are still going largely ignored. Exhibit A: the fundraising scandal. Remember that? The House Government Reform and Oversight Committee had to prepare and pass a citation against Attorney General Janet... continue reading
At a time when cognitive dissonance is the rule in the political world it's a welcome breath of fresh air to hear someone - anyone - speak clearly. When it comes from a liberal it is all the more welcome. And one of them is lobbing truth grenades at will. Her name is Camille Paglia. Best known as the author of the 1990 book "Sexual Personae," she's 51 and teaches in the humanities department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Every other week in the online magazine Salon she responds, usually at considerable length, to readers' questions about... continue reading
Last week Washington, D.C. twice came to a halt as two U.S. Capitol police officers were laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. The statistics were impressive: Both funeral processions were some 14 miles long, with over 1,000 vehicles in the motorcades; hundreds of police came from as far away as California and Puerto Rico to pay homage. The visuals were emotional: motorists pulled over, silently standing outside their cars with hands over hearts paying tribute as the motorcades came by; little children holding little American flags, not really understanding the importance of the event and awestruck by the grandeur... continue reading
It has become impossible to read a story about this administration and not conclude we are witnessing the disintegration of the integrity of the presidency. Now turn the pages to the news in the world of entertainment. What you'll find is, well, pretty much the same thing. Lesbo-a-go-go is, mercifully, lesbo-a-gone-gone. In July, ABC broadcast the last two previously unaired episodes of "Ellen." The series went out with guns blazing and with the finale taking the promotion of homosexual marriage to new lows. Right before the ceremony in which Ellen's parents are to renew their vows, Ellen "proposes" to her... continue reading
Occasionally, a gifted person strays from the field in which he excels in order to dabble in something for which he has far less aptitude. Take Albert Einstein, a scientific colossus but an international-relations mushbrain. Or Michael Jordan, probably the best basketball player ever but a baseball bust. Perhaps nowhere is this principle more in evidence than in the entertainment world. Have you noticed how frequently those with performing-arts talent grace us with at best ill-informed and normally just plain asinine political statements? -Not long after the Supreme Court upheld a decency test for federal arts grants - a commonsensical... continue reading