Bozell's Column

The Espy Blackout, One of Many by L. Brent Bozell III August 28, 1997 On October 3, 1994, Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy resigned after it became clear he had cashed in on his Cabinet position with frequent trips home to Mississippi and free football tickets and goodies from companies regulated by his department. The next morning, CBS reporter Bill Plante concluded: ""White House officials hope now that with Espy's resignation, this story will simply be over." After Espy resigned, and each network did its obligatory single evening news story, the White House got its wish, as usual. Until Espy was... continue reading
This fall on Monday nights, NBC will offer four racy, idiotic female-oriented sitcoms. Adults seeking intellectual stimulation are advised to turn to ABC's "Monday Night Football" instead. And children should be forbidden from watching the Nothing But Coitus network altogether. Look at what NBC will air in the family hour alone. At 8 o'clock Eastern and Pacific, there's the second-year Brooke Shields vehicle, "Suddenly Susan." Not so long ago, Ms. Shields was practically the Miss Chastity of show business, speaking out against abortion and in favor of premarital virginity. But any hope that her show would endorse - heck, even... continue reading
Drudge in the Media Bullseye by L. Brent Bozell III August 21, 1997 That straw-hatted head you see in the center of the media bullseye belongs to Internet troublemaker Matt Drudge. His electronically-mailed "Drudge Report" and Web site has drawn cannon fire for having reported that liberal journalist-turned-White House aide Sidney Blumenthal had abused his wife, citing nothing but anonymous sources and supposed court documents. That Drudge report should be condemned. A personal accusation based on anonymous sources is nothing short of a reprehensible smear: the accused simply cannot defend himself against accusers who won't reveal themselves. This is true... continue reading
uring the recent television ratings system debate, few wanted to tackle the thorny question: Wasn't it logical to assume that those in the television industry agitating for more raunch would finally get their way, thanks to a ratings system? Might not this proposed "solution" to the problems of rampant obscenities, sexual content, and violence actually... backfire? Just turn on the idiot box these days. Already the evidence is in: With the ratings system in place, prime time television content is worse than ever. After the ratings went into effect this past January, sexual references and foul language increased somewhat, but... continue reading
About three years ago I was visiting with some executives from NBC Entertainment. Asked why their network wasn't airing any family drama series, one vice president gave me this extraordinary explanation: "Ever since Michael Landon died, we just can't make that format work." Several months later, CBS launched "Touched By an Angel." Like Landon's "Highway to Heaven," it featured an angel in the lead role, yet the new series was far more spiritual in nature, and ultimately far more successful in the ratings. Some folks just don't get it. They just don't understand what the public wants - and doesn't... continue reading
CNN: Looking More Pro-Clinton Every Day by L. Brent Bozell III August 12, 1997 We heard the shrieks of horror from the national press corps when CBS had the audacity to hire perky Republican Susan Molinari to anchor their Saturday morning show. Why, there's a line between politics and journalism! So how do you suppose these sophisticates reacted when one of their own, who clearly has been working on both sides of the line, has now been named President of a major network? ABC executive Rick Kaplan, ongoing adviser and Friend of Bill, has just been named president of CNN/USA... continue reading
Budget Stumps an Honest Reporter by L. Brent Bozell III August 7, 1997 - Good morning, boss, thanks for making time for me. Hope I'm not bothering you. - Not at all, Smithers, but it has to be short. I've got that appointment for a round of golf with the Prez, you know. How's the new assignment going? - Well, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I thought covering the national political scene was going to be pretty cut and dried - I mean, that's what most reporters think - but the more I look at this... continue reading
Brennan Eulogies Wrong on Rights by L. Brent Bozell III August 5, 1997 The recent death of long-time liberal Supreme Court Justice William Brennan drew predictably glowing media tributes. Certainly, we should hope that major American figures would be remembered upon their deaths with some humanity and grace (to witness the opposite, see the notices for Lee Atwater). But respect for the truth should be as much a media practice as respect for the departed. The wave of Brennan tributes were not completely untrue. Conservatives would be foolish to object to the media's suggestion that Brennan was an enormously influential... continue reading
News Magazines: Also AWOL on the Hearings by L. Brent Bozell III July 31, 1997 The networks' decision to ignore the Senate fundraising hearings - not just by electing not to give any live coverage, but also by failing to even summarize them most nights on the evening news - is becoming painfully apparent to everyone. On CNN's "Reliable Sources," Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz was blunt: "The real significant failure here has been by NBC and ABC, which have simply blown off these hearings, just blotted them out of their evening newscasts, which is their 'front page,' on many,... continue reading
A July 22 New York Times story focused on the trendy Hollywood belief that families no longer want to see what most people think of as "family movies," but instead want more adult-oriented product. It merits discussion. "The traditional family film," wrote the Times' Bernard Weinraub, "is quietly dying as the industry feeds an increasingly restless audience with... provocative themes and stories with an edge unheard of even a decade ago... Studio executives [have] acknowledged that the film industry is, in many ways, lagging behind the tastes of children and their parents, whose appetite for more sophisticated and even violent... continue reading