The Daily Grind

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Hometown heroes

Back in June, when Fahrenheit 9/11 was breaking box office records for documentaries, John Young, opinion editor for the Waco Tribune-Herald, got to wondering why Michael Moore hadn't brought his opus to central Texas. So Young penned an open letter to Moore in the pages of the Tribune-Herald (circulation 41,000), instructing the director to send a DVD version of the film in a paper bag.

Young's hope was that Fahrenheit could then be screened to Greater Waco's minuscule community of liberals. "He took me up and sent the film in July," says Young. "We had a showing and 3,000 people showed up. Michael Moore was going to show up, but he elected not to, which is good. There were some anti-Moore protesters there, and things might have gotten personal." That's because Greater Waco includes Crawford—Bush's adopted hometown."It's a community that's extremely sensitive to any type of criticism of the president," says Carlos Sanchez, editor in chief the Tribune-Herald. "There is an expectation of benefit, with having the president present in the community, and when stories arise that are critical we frequently get criticism from the community that we're going to displease the president."

Since coming to the Tribune-Herald in 1984, Young has made habit of staying on the wrong side of a right-wing community. "I describe it as creative-tension galore," he says. Yet Young, whose picture is in the paper, says he rarely gets harassed. In fact, he sometimes gets a pat on the back. "There is a modicum of acceptance," he says. "Probably the best compliment I ever got was from some guy who said, 'Mr. Young. Everyone in my office hates you, but I think you're wonderful.' "

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