Readers of this space– too many to count– already know that February is a big ol ratings book month. The most audience-friendly “investigative” efforts of TV stations are always on display. Two examples popped up this week– both kinda silly, but to varying degrees. First, a fine reporter at WSB-TV named Tom Regan phoned in a report purportedly exposing a waste of tax dollars. Done in the anti-science tradition of former Sen. William Proxmire (R-WI) and legions of evolutionists, Regan displays a prospectus for which “metro Atlanta taxpayers” spent nearly $200,000 for a study on walking. Listening between the lines, one senses a serious health effort behind the study. But Regan’s report focused somewhat snickeringly on the price tag and the absurdity of a study on the obvious. To his credit, Tom lent some evenhandedness to it. But conveniently, he never mentioned America’s obesity epidemic. And it was never clear whether “metro Atlanta taxpayers” were footing the bill, though a graphic so indicated. Flip over to WAGA, where Dana Fowle, another fine reporter, has been milking an investigation– apparently for months– over the shockingly unsanitary practices of hotel maids. Unlike the Regan report, Dana’s report appeared to be a clean hit. It was entertaining. It was a nice “gotcha,” apparently shamelessly copied by TV stations around America. But the bottom line is: Dana’s exposing dirty dishes. Not even dirty dishes– but dishes not properly cleaned. Call me a news snob, but I’d prefer to see the resources of Atlanta’s finest investigative unit pursuing official corruption and valid abuses of taxpayer funds–and please, something a little more convincing than WSB’s cheap shot on the study of walking practices.