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Holiday Media Roundup (100 Percent Free Of "War On Christmas" References!)

All right, I know you're all getting antsy for some holiday relaxation, but before you head out the door to celebrate, I've got a little homework for you. Don't worry – it's the good kind.

First off, let me recommend this piece by (my friend and former colleague) Felix Gillette. I'm not going to summarize the topic, because this sentence from the piece does a better job than I ever could:

And with each passing day it seems more and more likely that the story of bin Laden's cell phone is destined to take its place in history alongside the story of Hitler's supposedly missing testicle -- a slippery detail in the life of a tyrant that manages to escape a singular, satisfying explanation.
Onward: a Joe Strupp doubleheader, with a piece in which "Original 'Embeds,' Three Years On, Discuss Iraq War Coverage, Then and Now," as well as a list of 2005's top newspaper stories. From the latter:
1. More than 2,000 newspaper jobs lost…at least.

Using the bizarre premise that newspapers can bring back lost circulation and ad revenue by making their products WORSE, top executives at major chains from The New York Times Company to Tribune took a butcher knife to staffing with buyouts and layoffs that appeared almost epidemic. Although some claim to be adding jobs on the business side for the purpose of boosting revenue and circulation, the loss of hundreds of jobs at so many major newspapers -- most of which are making tidy profits -- does not bode well for the industry's future and shows the dangers of the recent corporate takeovers of the business.

Howard Kurtz has a nice roundup of coverage of the New York transit strike. The New York Post featured a front page with "union chief Roger Touissant behind bars with the screamer "JAIL 'EM," while Andrea Peyser 's column was titled "Miserable Crooks Doing What Even 9/11 Couldn't." Steve Gilliard ain't having it:
It's funny how the media found every disgruntled worker and board member, people who wanted to continue a city crippling strike, but neglected the fact that the TWU gave unprecidented support to their leadership.

The "militants" were the same people who took vacation time while demanding 10 percent increases a year. Only MTA board members get those kinds of hikes.

But the story you largely won't see in the papers is that both the mayor and the governor badly miscalculated the support the union had in the city. The Daily News and Post, lapsing into racial code word attacks, made them look especially silly.

Hotline's Blogometer, meanwhile, sums up the year in blogs. It was, apparently, "The Year Of Blogging Dangerously." (Who knew?) Here's the opening:
If 2004 was the year that blogs broke into the mainstream, 2005 saw an acceleration of this trend -- even without a presidential election to focus on. Unlike 12 months ago, the word "blog" itself is almost a household name. Those annoying wire stories that reiterate the fact that "blog is short for web-log" are definitely on the way out.
And finally, kiddies, some business news: " NBC Universal announced today that it has reached a deal to acquire majority control of MSNBC, the 24-hour cable television news network, from Microsoft," as the New York Times informs us. The paper says that "Within NBC, executives complained that they did not have enough control of the network's budget to hire the right talent and market its programs." From TV Newser:
This move could clear the way for MSNBC to be renamed the NBC News Channel. It's an opportunity that has several benefits and drawbacks, NBC execs say privately. It would give the network a fresh start -- perhaps on its 10th birthday -- but could dilute the connection between the network and the Web site.