U.S. WITHDRAWS FROM IRAQ -- REPORTERS, THAT IS

Cutbacks at the major TV network news outlets have forced them to pull all of their full-time correspondents out of Iraq in order to cover the growing conflict in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported today (Monday). The newspaper, citing unnamed network employees, said that the Baghdad bureaus of the networks "are a shadow of what they used to be." (CNN and Fox News have each assigned one correspondent to Baghdad.) Michael Yon, an independent reporter, told the Times: "Some news organizations just cannot afford to be there. ... And the ones who can are starting to shift resources over to Afghanistan." Mike Boettcher, who left NBC after the network refused his proposal for a "permanent embed" in Iraq, told the Times, "Americans like their wars movie length and with a happy ending. ... If the war drags on and there is no happy ending, Americans start to squirm in their seats. In the case of television news, they began changing the channel when a story from Iraq appeared."

EISNER DROPS CNBC TALK SHOW

Michael Eisner is giving up his low-rated CNBC interview show. According to today's (Monday) New York Post, Eisner wants to devote more time developing the assets of his new company Tornante Co. The show had averaged only about 100,000 viewers this year, a figure that the Post attributed to sporadic scheduling.

THE DIGITAL JOHN LENNON

The charitable foundation One Laptop per Child is rolling out a new commercial featuring the image and apparent voice of John Lennon. Through most of the commercial, the voice is heard over graphics, but at the end Lennon appears to be speaking to the camera. "Imagine every child, no matter where in the world they were, could access a universe of knowledge. They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want," Lennon appears to say. A Reuters article on Sunday said that Lennon's voice and image had been manipulated digitally in order to produce the spot, which has been approved by his widow, Yoko Ono. The spot was created by Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT's Media Lab. A spoof website argued that the voice is really that of an impersonator and cited one Tom Logan of the "British Association of John Lennon Impersonators" as saying, "John Lennon impersonators have always been committed to ending poverty and promoting world peace so we were more than happy to endorse this project. ... We'll never really know if the real John Lennon would have supported it, mainly because his last known whereabouts was a jar on Yoko Ono's mantelpiece."