Brent Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center
Lecturer, syndicated columnist, television commentator, debater, marketer, businessman, author, publisher and activist, L. Brent Bozell III is one of the most outspoken and effective national leaders in the conservative movement today.
Founder and president of the Media Research Center, Mr. Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America. Established in 1987, the MRC has made “media bias” a household term.
He is the author of the books Collusion: How The Media Stole the 2012 Election And How to Stop Them From Doing It In 2016 (with Tim Graham), Whitewash: What the Media Won’t Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will (also with Tim Graham), and Weapons of Mass Distortion: The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media.
He is also the publisher of CNSNews.com and chairman of ForAmerica.
Latest from Brent Bozell
The Christmas season is also that time of year when the business world implores us to consider the material as more important than the spiritual, all in the spirit of “the holidays.” So we celebrate instead the arrival, on Christmas Day, of iPods and DVDs.
This year there’s a new twist. The Nativity scene has become commercialized – but in a way you would never imagine.
Is CNN capable and professional enough to host presidential debates? After last week’s CNN-YouTube debate fiasco, even Tim Rutten, a media writer for the left-leaning Los Angeles Times, was giving CNN a big fat F for failure: "In fact, this most recent debacle masquerading as a presidential debate raises serious questions about whether CNN is ethically or professionally suitable" to host debates. CNN had the opportunity to perform a journalistic swan dive. Instead it produced an enormous belly flop. It’s far worse when you realize this mess of a production was the highest-rated primary presidential debate in history.
Back in May, after the Democrats stiff-armed the Fox News Channel invitation to debate, many conservatives believed the Republicans should return the favor with CNN and its proposed CNN-YouTube debate. I disagreed. I suggested in this space that Republicans should accept debates on CNN, but be more forceful in setting the terms and selecting the hosts. It seemed correct to assume at the time that CNN would attempt to be more fair and balanced simply because so much was riding on the outcome, namely CNN’s very credibility as an impartial observer of the political process.
I was wrong. We can’t expect CNN to be an honest broker.
In the musty but hallowed halls of the Old Media, the first item for target practice is often the New Media, the ones formed and made popular by the atrocious biases of their predecessors. The Old Media continue watching their numbers bleed away; continue to paint themselves as fair and balanced, despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary; and continue to smear the New Media, especially talk radio, as the divisive haters and fact-manglers ruining civil discourse in America.
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw is on the publicity tour for his new book "Boom!" about the 1960s. On the November 26 Laura Ingraham show, when he was challenged with his soundbite broadsiding talk radio as "instantly jingoistic and savagely critical" of war protesters, Brokaw quickly put his anti-radio rant back into rotation.
He suggested incivility was a "big cancer" on America, and talk radio is the number one tumor. Front and center in Brokaw’s pathology was Limbaugh: "My problem with the whole spectrum is there is not -- you know what Rush’s, what his whole drill is. He doesn’t want to hear another point of view. Except his."
For decades now, the national media have insisted in each presidential election cycle that voters should ignore the liberal wizards hiding behind the curtain of the Democratic Party. Each plausible Democratic presidential contender is a "moderate" or "centrist," be he Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis or John Kerry. But now to describe Hillary Clinton as a "moral conservative" is so upside down and backwards it sounds like.... "This is your brain on drugs."
The Hillary Clinton juggernaut likes to try and run over every new threat, especially the ones they can call "old news." Every new book on her life, personal and political, is dismissed as "old news" – unless the person retelling and reshaping the "old news" is Hillary. Her recounting of her life is minty-fresh. Every other book smells like a reopened casket.
Whenever – if ever – authors of Hillary books are introduced by the national media, the tone of the interviews focuses in on Hillary’s talking point: "Why should anyone care?" From the start, the message is that these books belong in the garbage can, not in the library. The books that have come out this year have provided interesting new material that should in some way shape the media’s understanding of Hillary. Yet even liberals like Carl Bernstein or the New York Times duo of Jeff Gerth and Don van Natta have seen their books presented not as "news," but as a pernicious attempt to change Hillary’s narrative.
As the movie studios gear up for a big Christmas movie season, one trailer that looks like a blockbuster is “The Golden Compass,” which must be trying to cash in on the “Narnia” movies. It has flashy special-effect polar bears in armor and a young heroic damsel in distress facing off against evil forces. The casting is top-notch, led by Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, the current star spy in the James Bond movies.
Let’s face it: the Clintons will say anything in their quests for the presidency. Just as Bill Clinton railed against Republican corruption in 1992, promising his would be “the most ethical administration in history,” Hillary Clinton now is presenting herself as the antidote of the Republican “culture of corruption,” and the antithesis of the Bush administration’s penchant for secrecy. What makes this argument all the more laughable is that secrecy has always been their modus operandi, and their key method of their scandal damage control.
There have been a number of stories in the press in recent months about Geographically Challenged America. None tops the report about Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder confessing he hadn't known that people spoke English in London.
"I couldn't find London on a map if they didn't have the names of the countries," he explained. "I swear to God. I don't know what nothing is. I know Italy looks like a boot."
If the "peace" movement holds a protest and no one in the press covers it, does it still exist? If Americans are sick of the war, they’re also sick of the "anti-war." Even the media have grown anti-war-weary. Rallies on October 27 drew only perfunctory news mentions.
The peaceniks have now become a bipartisan political problem, now that the Democrats who control Congress haven’t dared to placate the radicals by cutting off money for the troops. Cindy Sheehan is threatening to run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But suddenly – surprise, surprise – the media aren’t interested in Sheehan’s new crusade. Crusades only have a point when it’s an anti-Republican point. Camping out against Bush during his Texas vacation was news, fun news, important news. But running against Speaker Pelosi is not news. It’s a sign your fifteen minutes of fame are all used up.
The tie-dyed, drug-soaked post-war babies that populated that muddy plain are now approaching Social Security age, and the aging hippies that made their way into the establishment want to imbue the notorious excesses of their youth with respectability. The New York Times said the Bethel complex would be "what Cooperstown is to baseball" – a hippie Hall of Fame.
I liked that music. I still do. Then as now, I simply ignored the cultural and political messages. Many others didn’t.
The bohemian worldview of Woodstock Nation is in some ways dominant, and in some ways passe in our popular culture. Hallucinogenic drugs are no longer the rage, but the "free love" spirit of "if it feels good, do it" still runs strong, especially in our entertainment world. And yet, burbling beneath a noisy culture of sexual excess and self-love, there’s a quiet undercurrent in our movies carrying subtle, and even obvious pro-life themes.
As much as liberals decry major corporations that act as if they’re above the law, there’s always quiet when the subject is Planned Parenthood, America’s number one corporate provider of abortions. During its 2005-2006 fiscal year, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed a record 264,943 abortions, reported a tidy profit of $55.8 million – and received a record high in taxpayer funding of $305.3 million.
This is one corporation the media hold in the highest regard. They’re not "merchants of death." That would be the tobacco companies, or gun manufacturers, or hamburger joints. These are the heroic "providers" of "a woman’s right to choose."
They’re also sleazy in their business practices. In Aurora, Illinois, Planned Parenthood planned to build the biggest abortion clinic in the country, but they lied by omission to the city. Throughout the construction process, the McDonald’s of the abortion industry applied for permits by listing the owner as "Gemini Office Development," not as Planned Parenthood.
Twenty or thirty years ago, the Nobel Peace Prize was considered to be among the most prestigious awards in the world. It helped make historical figures out of Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, and Lech Walesa. But in the last twenty years, its prestige has lessened as its political correctness has hardened.
What did Rush say? In a September 26 conversation with a caller to his program who claimed the media never interview "real soldiers," but just people out of the blue, Rush added for emphasis, "the phony soldiers."
The left saw its opportunity and pounced with a vengeance. Led by the George Soros-funded and Hillary Clinton-inspired Media Matters outfit, it unleashed a scorched-earth attack on Limbaugh for insulting the military, stating that any servicemen or women who might oppose the war in Iraq had been defamed by the talk show host as "phony soldiers."
The television networks, newspapers, and leftist blog sites were ablaze with stories about Democratic outrage. There were calls for his show to be yanked from the Armed Forces Radio Network. There were demands that Clear Channel make Rush apologize, and that advertisers pull their sponsorship.
The other day, CNN’s "Reliable Sources" show sought to explore Hillary’s Sunday morning interview blitz of September 23. Why do the media pine for her so? Michelle Cottle of the New Republic gave the typical liberal answer: "She's a celebrity. She and Bill have passed some point where they're no longer just politicians. They're rock stars."
Rutgers University is known as the birthplace of college football, but in the last few weeks it’s seemed more like the deathplace of sportsmanship. On September 7, Rutgers hosted Navy’s football team. What respect was shown in the wake of the Midshipmen’s forthcoming service to the country and the approaching September 11 anniversary? The rowdy student fans of Rutgers hurled obscenities at Navy, thoroughly embarrassing their college and their town.
Howard Kurtz, the longtime Washington Post media reporter and CNN media-show host, inadvertently defined exactly what’s wrong with our political culture when he was asked in an online chat about actress Sally Field blurting out in her Emmy victory speech that if women ruled the world, there’d be no [expletive deleted] wars. Kurtz said awards shows might not be the best slot for political analysis, "but she said it at a live news event, so in a way Fox was censoring the news."
This is "news"? Sally Field’s incoherent rant, delivered after a series of stammers, is somehow on par as newsworthy with what your average senior diplomat, military officer, professor, public policy expert or congressman has to say on the subject of war?
Nearly everyone with a television can make jokes about TV awards shows, especially the speech-making. How many times have people made the hoariest jokes about thanking the "little people," or mimicking Sally Field’s Oscar speech: "You like me! You really like me!" But Kathy Griffin, the comedienne with the self-satirizing "My Life on the D-List" show on that D-list network Bravo, took the ritual to a new low when she won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program.
She mocked Jesus Christ.
As America headed into the weekend before the sixth anniversary of the horrific September 11 terrorist attacks, the latest purported video from Osama bin Laden reminded the country that the war on terrorism is still a real and persistent battle. But some people despise the whole war-on-terror concept. They believe that commemorating 9-11 is getting tired and dated and even psychologically harmful to the country.
As hard (or as easy) as it may be to believe, The New York Times, situated just miles from Ground Zero in Manhattan, published a typically portentous Sunday article asking: "As 9/11 Draws Near, a Debate Rises: How Much Tribute Is Enough?" Times reporter N.R. Kleinfeld suggested the whole rigamarole was tedious, and perhaps distasteful: "Again there will be the public tributes, the tightly scripted memorial events, the reflex news coverage, the souvenir peddlers. Is all of it necessary, at the same decibel level -- still?" Amassing the usual anonymous mass of radicals who are allergic to expressions of national unity or love of country, Kleinfeld insisted "many people feel that the collective commemorations, publicly staged, are excessive and vacant, even annoying."
"Excessive and vacant, even annoying." Come to think of it, that's a pretty good motto for the masthead of The New York Times.
It was not exactly a plum assignment for a Republican to go on network television to discuss the alleged foot-tapping ways of the soon-to-be former GOP senator from Idaho. But Republicans also could easily see the delight in the eyes of the liberal media when word of Sen. Larry Craig’s Minneapolis airport arrest broke. The press went right back to last year’s smash-mouth Foleygate talking points about how this wasn’t just about the moral turpitude of one member of Congress, but it was about the impending end of the Republican Party, and potential doom for American conservatism.