Rooney misses Pyle style

Terre Haute, Ind. -- Author and "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney questions whether embedded news reporters assigned to military units during the war in Iraq are proving their worth.

"What about just letting the reporters go where they want to?" Rooney said Wednesday. "It was done in World War II."

"And you could talk to anyone you wanted to," he said. "You could talk to privates. Mostly, the people you see being talked to are majors or colonels or generals. I don't think Ernie Pyle would come out of this war."

Rooney knew Pyle, a war reporter from nearby Dana, Ind., who specialized in telling ordinary soldiers' stories.

Moore chose hard way

Rochester, N.Y. -- Filmmaker Michael Moore said he almost decided not to turn his Oscar acceptance speech into a political statement.

"The thought crossed my mind that the easy way ... would be to soak up the love," Moore told about 1,000 students at the University of Rochester's Strong Auditorium Wednesday.

The documentary maker won his first Oscar Sunday for "Bowling for Columbine," an exploration of gun violence in America.

"I would have ridden the high right out of the building to the Vanity Fair party," he said. "The other voice (in my head) says, 'No, you have a responsibility. People are dying, and they're dying in your name."'

Benefit cans Sarandon

St. Petersburg, Fla. -- Actress Susan Sarandon said she was disturbed by a charity's decision to cancel her appearance at a fund-raising event because of complaints about her antiwar views.

The United Way of Tampa Bay was to feature the 56-year-old actress as keynote speaker at an April 11 women's leadership event designed to inspire volunteerism in the community.

But organizers this week scrapped the $75-a-plate event after the charity got three dozen complaints about Sarandon's selection.

Robin Carson, chairwoman of the board of directors, said the event had the potential to become "divisive."

In a statement Friday, Sarandon said that "considering the depletion of federal funds for community programs and the faltering economy, it is disturbing to me that the United Way is letting partisanship determine its support base.

Madonna pans pop market

London -- Madonna has blasted manufactured pop acts and a stream of TV talent searches, saying they're homogenizing the music world.

In excerpts released Thursday from an interview with British music magazine Q, the 44-year-old singer accuses record chiefs of choosing new acts based on their marketing potential instead of their talent.

Referring to singers Pink, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, she said: "I'm not saying those girls can't grow into something, but I really don't know where we're going with the world. Everything's so homogenized."


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