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'Crossfire' clash still smolders

NEW YORK -- How's this for a feud that straddles the line between politics and entertainment? CNN's bow-tied conservative, Tucker Carlson, vs. "The Daily Show" host, Jon Stewart.

Yesterday, Carlson fanned embers still hot from a "Crossfire" confrontation, saying Stewart looked ridiculous in his CNN appearance and was a sellout for backing John F. Kerry.

Stewart, appearing on the debate show Friday, angered Carlson by saying "Crossfire" is "partisan hackery" that does little to advance the cause of democracy.

And that was the mild stuff.

"You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably," Stewart said.

Carlson replied: "You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think."

"You need to go to one," Stewart shot back.

Carlson said Stewart had lobbed softball questions when Kerry appeared on "The Daily Show" last month.

Later, Carlson told Stewart he was "more fun" on his Comedy Central show, and Stewart called him a jerk -- although he used a more vulgar term.

"I thought that he looked ridiculous," Carlson said in an interview yesterday, "and I think the tape makes that clear."

Carlson said Stewart had continued lecturing the "Crossfire" crew after the show went off the air. "I wasn't offended as much as I was unimpressed," he said.

Stewart wasn't talking about the confrontation yesterday, a spokesman said.

Stewart hasn't gone out of his way to endorse Kerry. Last week in New York, he was asked whom he would vote for, and he said he would back the Democrat.

Harding to shift to 11 p.m. news

WCVB-TV (Channel 5) announced yesterday that it had chosen Ed Harding, who serves as coanchor of the station's early-morning "EyeOpener" newscast, to replace Anthony Everett as anchor of its 11 p.m. newscast with Liz Brunner. Everett will continue to coanchor with Natalie Jacobson on the 5 p.m. newscast and with Brunner on the 5:30 p.m. newscast.

"We have an extraordinary team of talented professionals at Channel 5 and have taken the opportunity to make changes in key positions in order to serve the long-term interests of the station," general manager Paul La Camera said in an announcement to the staff. In another change, meteorologist JC Monahan will handle the weekday "EyeOpener" and "Midday" newscasts, while David Brown provides forecasts for the weekend evening newscasts.


Fox is fined $1.2m for 'Married' show

Never has whipped-cream foolery been so expensive.

It's not that the Fox series "Married by America" cost a lot to make. Or that it caused a ruckus with its use of dessert topping. The reality series finished No. 102 out of 178 series in the 2002-03 season and averaged only 7.4 million viewers. It concluded in April last year and will never return.

But last week, the Federal Communications Commission found indecency in the April 7 episode. Male and female strippers frolicked at bachelor and bachelorette parties. It voted to slap a $1.2 million fine on Fox stations. The fine stands as the largest against a television broadcaster. The FCC hit CBS last month with a $550,000 fine for Janet Jackson's breast-baring at the Super Bowl.

The FCC has stepped up the fines this year, proposing $3.35 million so far.

Globe on NECN

Here's what's happening on "Around the Globe" today on NECN:
* 9:30 a.m.: "Talk of New England"
* 12:30 p.m.: "Globe at Home" Stephen Smith of the Globe and Dr. Alfred DeMaria of the state Public Health Department talk about "superbugs" beyond the reach of many antibiotics.
* 4 p.m.: "Around the Globe"
* 6:30 p.m.: "New England Business Day"
* 8 p.m.: "NewsNight" Schedule is subject to change.

Talk of the dial

6 a.m. WBIX-AM (1060) -- "Early Exchange." Guest: Robert Stiller, president and CEO, Green Mountain Coffee.
2 p.m. WBNW-AM (1120) -- "PM Magazine." Guests: Jon Najarian, ChangeWave market analyst; Alexander Belenky discusses the history and viability of the Electoral College; Lou Dobbs, CNN anchor, author of "Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed is Shipping American Jobs Overseas."

Other radio highlights

9 a.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) -- Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23; Kuhlau's Piano Concerto in C.

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