Daily Archives: March 5, 2008

when “exclusive” means: nobody else cares enough to do it.

  • I recognize that WGCL, CBS-46 has to do something to set it apart and draw an audience.  Perennially fourth in the ratings, the station has decent talent and instincts that are as sharp as any station’s in town, but not many viewers.  For several years, 46 has tried this approach:  “CBS 46 is the only atlanta television station to put restaurant cleanliness on the front burner every single week,” intones the anchorman named Bill Gaines.   This signals the start of a report by a young reporter named Adam Murphy who, week after week, treats restaurant sanitation with the gravity of government scandal.  Behold– a restaurant whose workers handle food with their bare hands.  Even better, an inspector spotted a cockroach.  And it all shocks the sensibilities, because we all eat out.  This leads the intrepid Mr. Murphy to the confrontation:  A hapless restaurant owner, on his own property– with a camera in his face and a reporter demanding answers!  It’s a formula that sells– except for the fact that it is completely out of proportion to the problem.  Doesn’t the health department rating system penalize (i.e. close) restaurants if they fail to correct their deficiencies?  Then– aside from the sheer glee of potentially destroying a small business– what’s the point of having a TV reporter publicize it?  If the health department failed to close chronically bad restaurants, that would be a story.
  • Observation one:  Apparently restaurant owners don’t realize that if there’s a camera crew on their private property, they are entitled to ask them to leave immediately.
  • Observation two:  Remember the old Thelma’s Kitchen, uprooted by the construction of Centennial Olympic Park?  Cockroaches were part of the ambience, and the restaurant remains beloved to this day (in a cleaner location on Marietta St.)