Conservative commentators have branded the upcoming movie Hoot, which features teenage environmentalists sabotaging a development project in order to protect the habitat of burrowing owls, "soft-core eco-terrorism." CNSNews.com, a unit of the conservative Media Research Center, noted Monday, "The teenagers in the PG-rated movie face no repercussions for the illegal acts and instead are portrayed as [heroes]." It further noted that the burrowing owl is not on the endangered or threatened species list and quoted Brian Mealey, president of the Institute of Wildlife Science, as saying that they have adapted to housing developments. "These owls immediately started moving into the front yards of people's homes. And that was the first step in the urbanization of these owls," Mealey said. Other conservative commentators scored the Today show's Katie Couric and Matt Lauer for endorsing the film during an interview Monday with singer Jimmy Buffett who appears in the film. Lauer referred to the burrowing owl as an endangered species, while Couric called the film "a movie with a message" and said that she "can't wait to see" it. It is due to open on Friday.
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