Bill To Rupert: Watch It, Mate

EX-EDUCATION SECRETARY William J. Bennett has attacked Time Warner for selling and promoting rap music with violent lyrics. Now, Bennett may move on to a new target: fellow conservative Rupert Murdoch and his Fox Broadcasting network.

Bennett's ire stems from a Fox programming incident earlier this year. He was with his 11-year-old son when a "trashy" promo for Beverly Hills 90210 flashed on the screen. "Damn. I was watching a football game with my kid, and I gotta see this crud?" griped Bennett. So he called Murdoch confidant Irwin Stelzer, an American Enterprise Institute economist, which led to an April phone talk between Murdoch and Bennett. "I said to him: `You've got real garbage on this network, and you should take it off,"' recalls Bennett.

Murdoch, who had seen the promo, told Bennett he had already banned such sizzling promos from sports programs. As for cleaning up the rest of the network, Murdoch simply said he would "think about it," Bennett says. Not mollified, Bennett informed Murdoch about his then-planned attack on Time Warner--and told him Fox might be next. Officials at Fox had no comment.