Bozell's Column

The television industry often defends its objectionable fare by insisting it is only a) reflecting reality or b) supplying market demand. At times this is true, though an explanation does not a justification make. But neither line can explain why the networks continue to ignore the topic of religion. And two studies released during Holy Week document the degree to which Hollywood has lost touch completely with the public on this issue. The first study was the fourth annual "Faith in a Box" issued by the Parents Television Council. Some of the findings: Last year, there were 436 treatments -... continue reading
Downplaying Another Poll on the Liberal Media by L. Brent Bozell III April 3, 1997 The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) has released a new "workforce survey" of newspaper reporters, in which 61 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as "Democrat or liberal" or "leaned" toward that view, while only 15 percent called themselves "Republican/conservative" or "leaning" that way. In their magazine "The American Editor," ASNE stressed the findings were "similar" to a 1988 survey. But those results pegged the liberal-to-conservative ratio was 62 to 22 percent. That means conservatives at newspapers have declined by a glaring one-third in... continue reading
TV News to America: God is Off Limits by L. Brent Bozell III March 27, 1997 Earlier this year in the National Journal, two Washington Bureau Chiefs called for a less narrow-minded approach from the media to the subject of religion. Time's Dan Goodgame claimed "I don't want someone who thinks going to church twice a week is aberrant behavior. While it may be in Cleveland Park or pick-your-own Washington suburb, it's not in the rest of the country." Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times said his main concern has been a "cultural gulf" between the public and "disproportionately... continue reading
In its March 29 issue, TV Guide released a fascinating survey which finds, among other things, that more than two-thirds of Americans would like to see increased religious content on prime time television. At the same time, CBS, the network currently doing the best job by far serving spiritually minded viewers, is surging in the Nielsen ratings. Coincidence? If you think so, please explain this other coincidence: CBS's comeback is powered by "Touched By an Angel," prime time's most faith-friendly program. On March 9, "Angel," now in its third season, earned its highest rating ever and was the top-rated drama... continue reading
The NEA's Savior: Censorship by L. Brent Bozell III March 20, 1997 The Republican Party collapse continues. Once slated for the ash heap of art history, the National Endowment for the Arts has overcome a lackluster GOP attempt to zero it out, and now hopes to get back to the everyday Washington pattern of unending budgetary growth. How has this happened? How can members of Congress, Democrat and Republican alike, summon network bigwigs to Capitol Hill and lecture them about the need for V-chips and family-friendly programming, then turn around and fund the NEA, the Foundation for Filth? Maybe it's... continue reading
Figures from the February sweeps period indicate that the broadcast television networks continue to lose prime time viewers - specifically, more than a million households in that month. As usual, the networks' response to the decline was to complain about the information-gathering methods of the Nielsen ratings company. "I don't trust their numbers at all," groused NBC's west coast president, Don Ohlmeyer, in a New York Times interview. "They're trying to measure 21st-century technology with an abacus." Now the webs have gone beyond whining. ABC, CBS, and NBC have helped finance the development of a not-yet-ready alternative ratings system called... continue reading
Koppel Biased? Let Me Count the Ways by L. Brent Bozell III March 13, 1997 No doubt feeling like a pair of Daniels in the lion's den, ABC's Ted Koppel and NBC's Tim Russert bravely trod into the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 7 to defend their industry against the charge of liberal bias. While Russert was solicitous, Koppel would have none of it. "It's nobody's business whether I'm a liberal or a conservative," he snapped, then added: "I make a challenge to any one of you here...if any one of you wants to point to a particular broadcast... continue reading
Broadcast television producers like Steven Bochco will tell you that because they have to compete with no-holds-barred cable fare, their shows have to include ever-increasing quantities of rough language, sex, and even nudity. True enough, the raunchier the program, the more appealing it will be to society's lowbrows. Any sense of guilt for the harmful impact this has on an impressionable audience is lost. How else to explain "Married... With Children" being on the air for ten years? Also lost on some of Hollywood's mavens is the responsibility to tell the truth. This explains why Dick Wolf, executive producer of... continue reading
Lying Al Gore: Will the Puff Pieces End? by L. Brent Bozell III March 6, 1997 Al Gore is the anti-Quayle. From the day he was added to the Clinton ticket, reporters have presented Gore as the cerebral antithesis of his predecessor, as well as half of the "gold dust twins" (Time magazine). So Bob Woodward's March 2 Washington Post story exposing Gore as the Democrats' "solicitor-in-chief," an aggressive shakedown artist of business donors, must have come as a shock. Weird, isn't it, that Gore seems to be getting his first vetting more than four years into his vice presidency?... continue reading