Friday, February 19, 2021

A Hundred-Plus Years of Bozells

Having followed the rise of the Right since I was in college in the late 1970s (for instance, I have a button in my collection that says this, though the colors are different), I've been aware there was a person named L. Brent Bozell for quite some time. Was the one I knew of a Junior or a III? I'm not sure. 

Well, it turns out he could have been either, because it's more than one person, and there are actually four generations. Last night, Chris Hayes did a rundown on them from great-grandad to great grandson, because LBB IV was just arrested for participating in the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. 

Here's the summary of his elders.

Great grandpa, Leo B. Bozell, was one of those Midwestern ad men of the early 20th century. According to Hayes, he (or maybe his firm?) was responsible for a couple of iconic ad campaigns, but he also dabbled in right-wing politics, such as they were then... more mainstream, I suppose. American Legion, law and order. Anti-New Deal.

It was his son, L. Brent Bozell, Jr., who really took the family on the path to becoming Right-Wing royalty. As an undergrad at Yale, he was best friends with William F. Buckley, and married Buckley's sister Patricia, with whom he had 10 children. The Bozells are conservative Catholics and Junior (who was a convert) was an early anti-abortion crusader. 

Let's see... he was a big supporter of not just Senator Joseph McCarthy but also McCarthyism, calling it "a movement around which men of good will and stern morality can close ranks." He was a founding member of Young Americans for Freedom. He later moved his family to Spain in the 1960s because he liked Franco better than the U.S. It sounds like his overriding political thesis may have become the founding thought of people like William Barr, who have abandoned democracy in favor of theocracy, and particularly a certain kind of Catholic theocracy. According to his Wikipedia page, he also was bipolar, and wrote about it.

Number three in this creative naming scheme, L. Brent Bozell III, is a baby boomer (born in 1955) and one of those 10 Buckley/Bozell children. He founded a bunch of Right-Wing media-oriented organizations (including the innocuously named Creator's Syndicate, which had fooled me until just now). The best-known is probably the Media Research Center. He started out the 2016 election season as a never-Trumper ("God help this country if this man were president"), but as soon as the nomination was locked up, he began blaming the mainstream media for anti-Trump bias and in 2020 claimed that leftists planned to steal the election.

Now, his son, Leo Brent Bozell IV, has been charged with multiple crimes from January 6. Zeeker (yes, that's his nickname) is 41 years old, by the way, so he's no young person. He's from central Pennsylvania, and he's giving the Christian school that he (or his kids) seem to be affiliated with all sorts of trouble, because he was wearing their shirt while storming the Capitol. The school has a big statement disavowing him on the home page of their website.

The Chris Hayes clip is here.


Michael Leddy said...

I recognize the Bozell name. I think the one I remember is the III. I didn’t know about the IV.

I loathe theocrats. Catholic ones are esp. dangerous, as they cloak their contempt for individual rights in a venerable “Church” and its traditions — very different from evangelical types (even if they find common cause with them).

Daughter Number Three said...

I long for the days when I didn't realize there were theocrats in the U.S.