We approve of WGCL’s investigation into what sounds like a drive-through plastic surgery clinic in Atlanta, with branches across America. WGCL says it spent three months looking into complaints about “The Lifestyle Lift.” The story, produced by Michelle Glorieux and fronted by anchor Stephany Fisher, describes a clinic for patients who want Cher results but can’t afford Cher prices. A cut-rate clinic, as it were.
The process sounds a bit grisly. You walk in one day, get scheduled for surgery the next day. The patient is then herded into a room with other freshly cut-and-bandaged patients. Then, they’re shown the door en masse. One woman laments on camera that her jowls and turkey-neck remained despite the surgery. The video is certainly convincing.
This piece is also an excellent example for folks boning up on their bad PR skills. The clinic offered the clinic’s owner, David Kent, for an interview with WGCL. A smooth-talking and rather condescending-sounding sort, he offered to fix the turkey-neck lady with a return visit. (She says she’s afraid to return and wants a refund instead.) He explained that his is a discount operation, so to speak. The implied message is that you get what you pay for.
But then the owner bailed out on the interview, midway as Fisher was asking “the tough questions.” The on-camera walk-off made Kent look like a weasel and undid whatever damage control he might have sought to do by consenting to the interview. (We have to give a finger-wag to the photog behind Kent, though. He’s wrapping his mic wire, while he ought to be shooting the interviewee stalking off. Good thing his counterpart in the two-camera shoot had the presence of mind to widen the shot and keep rolling.)
Our only complaint: WGCL put a bed of music under the first part of its investigative series. Call us old fashioned, but Mike Wallace or Lesley Stahl never did that at 60 Minutes. It’s cheesy and unnecessary. But overall, this is a solid consumer / health investigation, the kind of stuff that audience research shows is a winner on local TV news. Grade: A-