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A columnist's latest dirty secret? He watches TV to get his news.

But this excuse rings false to Leo. "Readers don't give a crap about columnists' or reporters' problems," he maintains. "The old journalistic bromide goes, ŒShow, don't tell.' Well, Œbutt-ugly' was all tell, and his show was minimal and erroneous."

An anonymous correspondent raised many of these issues in a January 24 e-mail addressed to Temple and sent separately to me. Nevertheless, Temple says he didn't learn of questions about Johnson's column until February 2, when he received an e-mail on the topic from Rocky media columnist Dave Kopel. The correction followed the next day.

Temple, who has a policy against divulging personnel matters, won't say what punishment Johnson received. If the correction was his sole reprimand, it raises important questions -- like, for example, "Does Johnson have nude photos of Rocky executives?" Whatever the truth, Temple continues to laud the columnist for his work in general. "Bill has reported from war zones twice, and the military has always felt great confidence in his ability to accurately portray their experiences," he points out. "He's fully capable of the highest level of journalism."

Mark Andresen

That may be so. But in these instances, he fell waaaay short.

Kobe redux: Back in 2004, filmmaker Brian Malone created a surprisingly poignant portrait of a figure known principally to locals: Blinky the Clown. For his latest project, however, he takes on universally recognized subjects. Breaking News, which debuts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, February 17, as part of the Boulder International Film Festival (visit for details), examines today's media through the prism of court cases involving Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson. Even so, Malone feels the film "isn't only about Kobe or Michael or even celebrity trials. It's about how the forces of profit and big corporate broadcasters have contributed to the erosion of good journalism."

During Malone's visit to this year's Sundance Film Festival, Films Transit, a Montreal firm, purchased Breaking News's broadcasting rights for everywhere other than the United States. He expects an hour-long version of his opus to screen in as many as forty countries by year's end, and folks worldwide will almost certainly adore it, since it makes lots of American media types look terrible.

Clearly, Malone has a gift for working with clowns.

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