Slapstick Politics has an excerpt from a recent Entertainment Weekly article on Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth." It turns out documentary films about global warming have a way of making people cool. This should be encouraging news for science club high schoolers around the country.

Minds are being changed, all right, and not just about global warming. Miraculously, over the past few months, An Inconvenient Truth has accomplished something many people once thought inconceivable: It's made Al Gore cool. The somber policy wonk who campaigned for president in 2000 with all those bland speeches about lockboxes is gone. He's now a hip and trendy (in a wonky sort of way) ecological activist. While promoting the movie this summer, Gore has been connecting with crowds more effortlessly and comfortably — even charismatically — than he ever did as a politician. He even found his sense of humor; turns out it's been hiding all this time inside daughter Kristin, a former comedy writer on Matt Groening's Futurama and the one responsible for Gore's gag

Another friend sent a giggle with the HBO press release on Spike Lee's forthcoming Katrina documentary. Is Spike Lee seeking a "wide range of opinions"? Bayou Buzz has details, including this piece of the press release:

The line between old-fashioned objective reporting and opinion writing is blurry enough on the big subjects like the war on terrorism and the economy, but in entertainment journalism, it’s becoming nearly impossible to differentiate between the two, especially since those who deliver this product don’t, and won’t.

A colleague forwarded a press release from MTV titled "MTV News Presents: Iraq Uploaded To Air Friday, July 21st at 8PM (ET/PT)." The special will show how soldiers "document war" in Iraq and share it on the Web, but watch out for that "mujahideen" perspective:

Editors of the New York Times, along with their allies in journalism, are defending the publication of anti-terrorism programs by declaring their actions to be in the “public interest,” making them a watchdog against what they view as excessive government power and secrecy. But the tables need to be turned. What about excessive media power and secrecy?

You're the boss at the New York Times. The warden at the jail holding celebrity snoop Anthony Pellicano issued an order barring anyone other than family and lawyers from seeing him. Getting a scoop with Pellicano will certainly boost newstainment sales.

Do you:
A. Respect the order and write stories without talking to Pellicano.
B. Appeal to a judge to lift the order.
C. Send in a "reporter" with a 20 year old law degree and California State Bar credential card who may or may not have filled out a form stating "Purpose of the visit: legal" which forces Pellicano out of his cell and into "outrage."

If you answered C, you could be New York Times management.

The media usually leaves Hollywood out of the class warfare it engenders, but NBC's Michael Okwu found a sore spot among union members angry at Hollywood hot shots like George Clooney: Top dollar celebrities pulling down millions to voice over commercial spots.

“Let’s put it this way, there are some people that are making a million dollars an hour,” announcer Tom Kane griped. Okwu told viewers Kane is paid “a lot less.”

“Just go make your movies. Let us do our commercials and no one gets hurt,” Kane told Okwu.

Fair warning for those that are sensitive to vulgarity, for this post will need to use some to properly quote the individual involved. Comedian Robin Williams was on the “Tonight Show” Thursday, and used the occasion to make fun of Rush Limbaugh’s recent Viagra incident. To be sensitive to those that might be offended, all obscene quotes will appear in the "Read More" section.

Now, to be fair, I am a huge Robin Williams fan, and believe him to be an equal opportunity offender. Even Rush, who has a fabulous sense of humor, likely would think this was funny (video link to follow).

With that in mind, host Jay Leno nicely set up Williams by asking for his opinion about the recent Viagra story concerning Limbaugh. Williams answered:

The 70-year-old comic book superhero Superman has always had the longtime slogan, "Truth, justice, and the American way." But in the latest movie reincarnation of the Man of Steel, the slogan is a little different: "Truth, justice and all that stuff."

The makers of the movie claim that "the world is different" than it was in the 40's and 50's, and that the film has to be applicable for movie watchers around the world.

Says Hollywood Reporter:

While audiences in Dubuque might bristle at Superman's newfound global agenda, patrons in Dubai likely will find the DC Comics protagonist more palatable. And with the increasing importance of the overseas boxoffice -- as evidenced by summer tentpoles like "The Da Vinci Code" -- foreign sensibilities can no longer be ignored.
One of the writers of the screenplay, Dan Harris, says "the American way" doesn't mean the same thing anymore.

Should we look for Matt Lauer to close his next interview of Condi Rice by clasping her hands? Perhaps a verklempt Dick Cheney thanking Campbell Brown for "standing by me through every crisis"? Could be, judging by Al Roker's interview of Star Jones this morning.

From The New York Daily News:

A few hours after a televised display of saccharine warmth and affection between Barbara Walters and Star Jones Reynolds - who yesterday surprised her "View" colleagues by announcing she's leaving in mid-July - their relationship turned very chilly indeed.

Never mind Walters' previous public assurances that Jones Reynolds was welcome to stay on the show as long as she wanted. Yesterday, "The View's" alpha female - the show's co-owner and co-executive producer - told me that she lied "to protect Star" from the damaging news that ABC long ago decided not to renew her contract.

Remember, a lie is never acceptable from a public figure.

UPDATE: The View transcripts (via Drudge)

"The network made this decision based on a variety of reasons which I won't go into now. But we were never going to say this. We wanted to protect [S]tar. And so we told her that she could say whatever she wanted about why she was leaving and that we would back her up."

Well I'll be, The View is a news program after all. If she did this to protect someone she dislikes, just think what she's done to protect the people she likes.

As a veteran Couric watcher, I've recently come to follow [without actually watching] doings at The View, since Katie's replacement Meredith Vieira was for years a member of the show's cast. For those unfamiliar with it, The View is an all-female televised coffee klatsch and gabfest of which Barbara Walters is the creator, partial owner and a co-host.