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Sun Aug 24 2003 16:10:31 ET

Fox News Channel senior vice president John Moody has ordered an end to Schwarzenegger movie puns in news rotations, according to a report set for Monday release.

"Total Recall," "The Governator," and "Running Man" may be but a few of the never-ending examples on-air Schwarzenegger cuties - but Moody's had enough.

NYT media watcher Jim Rutenberg is preparing to root out a memorandum posted recently in the Fox News computer system: "The urge may seem irresistible to play off Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting career," Moody wrote. "Resist it. Otherwise the effect is often to belittle the candidacy of the front-runner for one of the most important offices in the U.S., and that's not fair and balanced. No more references to 'Conan,' 'Terminator,' and 'Kindergarten Cop' as shorthand for the candidate.... Certainly don't suggest he is part of a 'circus' or lump him in with novelty candidates" like Gary Coleman... Ask yourself if your clever turn of phrase is suggesting that Schwarzenegger's candidacy isn't a serious one. That's exactly the case his political opponents want to press. We need to play it down the middle."

Fox is the only one of the three major cable networks so far to draft such a policy, reports Rutenberg.

John J. Stack, the Fox News Channel vice president for news gathering said of Schwarzenegger, "People do recognize him from his films, but he is now undertaking a very serious mission and we want people to be told all about it."

Besides, he said, California voters, faced with huge economic problems, are by now getting bored with the frivolous aspects of the campaign.

"The circus component is starting to subside. People have gotten their yuks about the porn star and the sitcom representative," he said, "but I think people want to get down to dollars and cents."


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