Bozell's Column

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
Here we go again. "Medical horror stories - are they a sign of a health care system in crisis?" This question from ABC's Forrest Sawyer opened the June 18 broadcast of "Nightline," and his response was predictable: "You remember all that talk of health care reform a few years ago. It died away with little accomplished and with it went most public attention to the issue. So in case you haven't noticed, since then things have only gotten worse." People will remember 1993 as the year that socialized health care came to the fore on the American political scene. But... continue reading
The CNN-Time "NewsStand" fiasco over false allegations of U.S. forces using nerve gas in Laos in 1970 is clearly one of the decade's ugliest cases of leftist media dishonesty. CNN might not have come clean without The Washington Times, Newsweek, and the Weekly Standard blowing away Peter Arnett & Company's shabby reporting and exposing how CNN should have known its story was a farce, and how they mangled and misquoted military experts to create false impressions. But CNN did come clean in a most public manner and deserved the wide praise it won for its retraction. In covering the retraction,... continue reading
I submit respectfully that the Left needs to stop worrying about how global warming is affecting the rest of us and start pondering how mental meltdown is afflicting its ranks. Headline: Once Again, Jane Looks East for Wisdom. You've probably heard that on June 24, Jane Fonda accused the leaders of the Christian Coalition of indifference to children who "don't look like them... [who aren't] white, middle-class Christians." That was Fonda's most newsworthy utterance that day, but it may not have been the most outrageous. Asked about China's notorious forced-abortion policy, she defended it: "We've got to remember something. China... continue reading
William Donohue, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, probably wishes you had never heard of him or his organization. The attention he's getting defending his church speaks volumes about the lamentable frequency of Catholic-bashing in late 20th-century America. In the past year or so, the Catholic League has been everywhere in the news. First there was the ABC drama "Nothing Sacred," finally dropped thanks in large part to the League's efforts. Then, on April 7 - Tuesday of Holy Week - another ABC entry, the sitcom "That's Life," aired a truly vile installment featuring references... continue reading
Watching and reading the virtual non-stop barrage of "news" stories concerning Steve Brill's "bombshell" about Ken Starr's "leaks," I've concluded one thing's missing. "Twilight Zone" music. We have now moved beyond the ridiculous and into the realm of the truly bizarre. Consider: 1. Can Ken Starr be attacked from absolutely any angle? Journalism professor Ted Smith wrote many years ago about the media's talent for "omnidirectional" criticism. They began this year by positing as fact that Starr was hopelessly inept at public relations, which no doubt spurred him to be more receptive to reporters, including Brill. Now the media are... continue reading
A front-page article in the June 6 New York Times claims that thanks to Monica Lewinsky and Viagra, "the subject of sex and the language describing sex and sex organs have been nudged a few inches closer to the conversationally commonplace." Reporter Janny Scott added that such phenomena as the writings of Masters and Johnson, the gay-rights movement, and media coverage of Marv Albert's escapades caused previous nudges toward greater explicitness. This analysis is correct as far as it goes, but it largely neglects perhaps the most important - and impactful actor: prime time television. Here is, essentially, Scott's entire... continue reading
One of Washington's open secrets is that everyone, including the 89-percent pro-Clinton news media, believes Bill Clinton is guilty of acts of congress with Monica Lewinsky. That means he's also guilty of perjury, not to mention lying through his teeth to the American people. That's why media figures are fanning out to the evening chat shows to insist that presidential perjury about sex doesn't matter. Newsweek's Eleanor Clift yammered on Fox News Channel the other night that "I think if a married man commits adultery, lying sort of goes with it, and committing perjury in a civil case that's been... continue reading
Last month, CBS entertainment boss Leslie Moonves told the New York Times that "three of four networks... probably aren't going to make any money next season, and [profits for] NBC... will probably be down to $100 million [from $500 million]. It's all ugly." He added, "How do you build for the future audience? I don't know. If I was a young [programming] executive, I don't know if I would come into the [broadcast] network business." How bleak is the outlook? According to a recent piece in Advertising Age, a decade ago better than forty percent of prime time series on... continue reading
Nothing, as Victor Hugo might have said, is more pitiful than an idea whose time has passed. That goes double for Warren Beatty's "Bulworth," which seeks to exploit two threadbare phenomena: rap music and political liberalism, both of which peaked years ago. Star/director/co-writer/co-producer/longtime lefty Democratic activist Beatty presumably hoped his movie would help reinvigorate a party whose current flirtation with centrism on some issues he bewails. But his efforts backfire, as "Bulworth" winds up not persuasively advocating liberalism but rather illuminating its intellectual and moral bankruptcy. As the film begins, it's 1996, and sixtyish Sen. Jay Bulworth (D-Calif.) is a... continue reading