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How Much Moore Can We Stand?

Plus, a loss for big media

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You'd have to take some kind of exit poll to find out what the psychology of the "consumer" is, but the weekend box office win for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is a clear one. Thank heavens someone topped White Chicks.

Moore claims that his movie almost didn't get distribution, but you have to doubt that was really going to happen, judging from Moore's media blitz last week. On all the news shows, Moore was plugging his film with a thirst for the spotlight that would make Jessica Simpson blush.

It's encouraging that people bought tickets to see non-fiction that actually encourages some debate and dialogue. But is Fahrenheit 9/11 a "documentary"? Although there have been many award-winning documentaries with a strong point of view, some say that by definition, a documentary film should be factual and objective. Moore might have it right in some of the former, but surely not the latter, no matter which end of the political teeter-totter you're sitting on. Expect the debate to continue as to whether the film can have actual impact at the voting booths come November.

Big Media took it on the chin. In case you missed it, the US Court of Appeals in Philadelphia last week tossed out most of the FCC's hotly debated new rules for media ownership deregulation. A year ago, the agency voted to let companies own daily newspapers and broadcast stations in one market, and lifted caps on the number of TV and radio stations a broadcaster could own in the same area. There may still be movement in Congress to take this court ruling on, but it's a win for the public, which protested loudly about the FCC vote last year.

SPORTS ENTRANCES AND EXITS WCCB-TV News director Ken White confirms that the station and anchor Ari Bergeron will be parting ways by the end of August. Bergeron came to Fox Charlotte from an affiliate in Oklahoma City, but while sports fans here like to have a good time, the "hey dude, high five" tone of Bergeron's act seemed to fall flat.

Sandy Penner is returning to WFNZ-FM. The talker left Charlotte four years ago to host a show in Tampa. He returns to host a noon-3pm show here in July, which will send ESPN's Dan Patrick Show to WFNZ's brother station, WFNA-AM. Chris McClain will join Penner in the booth.

Stay tuned.

E-mail at Shannon.Reichley@cln.com.

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