Bozell's Column

The left has used entertainment celebrities as spokesmen for years, and for good reason. Tightly scripted and expertly packaged, they advance public policy initiatives far more effectively than do Washington wonks. But what happens when those stars are left to their own devices, to speak (and think) for themselves, to give the world their expert opinions on the issues of the day? Flip through some recent issues of the celebrity magazines and judge for yourself. Ask a rock star to conduct a political interview and you get what you pay for. In the March 6 Rolling Stone, English singer Morrissey,... continue reading
Brokaw Brags, But About What? by L. Brent Bozell III February 27, 1997 For years, the scariest sentence in the English language was "More Americans get their news from ABC News than from any other source." Now the factually shallow world of TV news is being taken over by "NBC Nightly News." Don't shed a tear for Peter Jennings. But you should worry about where the already-fluffy network news is headed. As the news universe expands - today's news consumer can spend most of the day tracking news on cable, talk radio, or the Internet - the network news keeps... continue reading
In the late 1980s and early '90s, liberal political advocacy was commonplace on prime time television. "Head of the Class" constantly belittled conservative personalities and causes, from Ronald Reagan to Dan Quayle, from SDI to the Second Amendment. "L.A. Law" presented leftist spins on abortion, the U.S. invasion of Panama, and the Los Angeles riots, to name just a few issues. "Designing Women," "A Different World," "MacGyver," "thirtysomething"?the list of ideologically charged series was long and depressing. With the arrival of Bill Clinton, political bashing all but disappeared from the small screen (though cultural activism continues unabated). On February 17,... continue reading
In 1995, America and Oscar generally agreed on the movies that deserved recognition. "Apollo 13," "Babe," "Braveheart," "Il Postino," and "Sense and Sensibility" all were box-office hits, all had uplifting and traditional values-friendly messages, and all were nominated for best-picture, with Mel Gibson's stirring "Braveheart" snaring the statue. By contrast, early '90s best-picture winners like "Dances with Wolves," "The Silence of the Lambs, " and "Unforgiven" proffered downbeat efforts denouncing America's treatment of the Indians, glorifying sadomasochism and depicting the worst in depressing Western fare. The list of 1996 Oscar nominations was announced on February 11, and indicates how very... continue reading
Mrs. Graham, Do Liberals Exist? by L. Brent Bozell III February 20, 1997 Former Washington Post reporter David Remnick writes in The New Yorker that Washington Post owner Katharine Graham's personal memoir underscores "how ridiculous is the right-wing image of Graham as the matriarch of the liberal-media conspiracy. Her allegiance to democratic capitalism is no less firm than that of William F. Buckley Jr., and her inherent faith that the establishment elites will do the right thing is nearly absolute." It makes you wonder: What possesses men like Remnick to write such foolishness? A simple challenge to provide the list... continue reading
No Scrutiny for the Tax Man by L. Brent Bozell III February 13, 1997 In 1170, King Henry II asked of his followers "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" They responded by murdering Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Last November, Bill Clinton sounded a similar note in election-night remarks in Little Rock, as quoted in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "I'm going to devote a lot of my time in the next four years trying to cut the cancer out of American politics" to put an end to "the kind of systematic abuse so many people here have... continue reading
NPR: Radio's Voice of Hypocrisy by L. Brent Bozell III February 6, 1997 National Public Radio hasn't shrunk from presenting itself as the scourge of corporate bigotry. Recently, NPR reporter Jim Zarroli and others reported at least ten news stories and three commentaries on the Texaco racial discrimination controversy, employing the familiar formula of guilty racist corporation versus heroic left-wing activists (never labeled that way, of course) like Jesse Jackson. "All Things Considered" host Robert Siegel even rehashed fifty-year-old stories about Texaco supplying the Nazis with oil. On "Talk of the Nation" December 30, NPR host Ray Suarez gave the... continue reading
Once upon a time political conspiracy theories were the province of extremist conservatives. No more. From the Christic Institute's flaky Secret Team lawsuit in the mid-'80s to the hysterical San Jose Mercury News CIA/crack series last year, cockeyed hypotheses involving shadowy, nefarious, ultrapowerful, right-wing figures are consistently afforded a hearing on the left - though, to be sure, not always acceptance. Even the Clinton administration, with its "Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce" report that alleges an international right-wing media plot, is in they're-out-to-get-us mode. The most common ideology in Hollywood is the Barbra Streisand/Warren Beatty/Norman Lear variety of liberalism, but... continue reading
The "Last Liberal" in Washington? by L. Brent Bozell III January 30, 1997 Despite the triumphal rhetoric of the last couple of years, the era of Big Government is clearly not over. James Bovard lines up the numbers in the latest American Spectator: spending, taxes, and regulation have all skyrocketed since Ronald Reagan launched his revolution in 1980. The number of federal lawsuits and administrative penalties have soared. In the last ten years, the Endangered Species Act has led to an ever-broader federal claim on private property. Washington reporters have another item to add to the endangered species list: liberals!... continue reading
Muckraking or Muckfaking? by L. Brent Bozell III January 28, 1997 What do you call it when an undercover reporter working for a national television network, investigating the sanitation of a grocery store with a hidden camera, films a dirty meat slicer and then mutters obscenities when an employee ruins the fun and cleans it up? Or when, posing as a worker in the store's meat department, puts what she knows to be spoiled chicken on sale and then instructs a cameraman to film it? Or when her network airs footage of an employee talking about cooking out-of-date chicken, but... continue reading