So, what’s the lead story on the late news Tuesday? Could it be the Pennsylvania primary? Not on WGCL. Thankfully, for those of us who revel in the clownish tendencies of local TV news, WGCL had a much more creative lead: An “exclusive” story about a scion of a prominent Atlanta business family who barricaded himself in a Waffle House bathroom, and had to be pepper-sprayed and extricated by Atlanta police.
The young man’s situation was vividly reported by Harry Samler, a day after-the-fact. Samler’s photog trained his camera on the door of the women’s room as Samler emerged from the john on-camera, intoning that the young man was found “holding one of those metal toilet paper dispensers. And, he was naked.” The public restroom standup always adds a touch of class to any TV story.
Samler’s piece contained a revealing line, saying the family “is dealing with a personal crisis.” The family released a statement (which WGCL failed to convey in a graphic) saying the young man’s erratic behavior was not due to drugs or alcohol, indicating a deeper medical issue. Yes, it was all in the public record. But was it more newsworthy than the Pennsylvania primary– if it was news at all?