Daily Archives: April 16, 2009

Made for TV

Richard Belcher with guest

Richard Belcher with guest

The Atlanta Tea party Wednesday was a legit story.  But it carried lots of baggage, mostly because of its heavy embrace by the Fox News Channel.  And two stations had ties to the event’s host, an unabashed partisan who jumped at the chance to do interviews.  Observations:

Though he’s obviously a fan, Richard Belcher approached his interview with Sean Hannity with skepticism.  “What am I — Alan Colmes?  I can’t get a word in edgewise,” Belcher muttered as he closed his four-minute interview with Hannity in WSB radio’s studios.  WSB-TV only aired a soundbite, but put the unedited interview on its website.  Belcher asked great questions and Hannity delivered his famously nutty charm.  Grade:  A-

Loved Kevin Rowson’s 6pm live shot at the Capit0l (which followed a solid Paul Crawley preview piece).  “So it was an hour and a half ago, Ted.  I was there in the studios with you.  And I was told to go down to the Capitol and tell us what the traffic is like, right?  An hour and a half later, at 5:59 I just walked up to this spot.”  It spoke volumes about TV’s inability to make rational planning decisions for events that are planned weeks in advance.  Grade:  B+

"This rally's been planned for how long...?"  Kevin Rowson, WXIA

"This rally's been planned for how long...?" Kevin Rowson, WXIA

Ditto, Rowson’s piece on WXIA at 11pm on the rally itself, tag-teamed with John Cater’s coverage.  Rowson’s piece mentioned that the entire event was staged by Fox News Channel, and both men declined to name Hannity during their pieces (though Rowson allowed a small child to do so, which delivered the “ugh” effect Rowson doubtless sought).  Made sense, since the story was about the rank-and-file true believers who showed up.  Cater closed by showing a teabag, saying “I guess I’m supposed to throw it away.”  Grade:  B+

John Bachman’s 6pm piece on WSB was a little cringe-inducing.  If Bachman had any skepticism about the event, it didn’t show.  Grade:  C+

WAGA sent Tom Haynes to talk with Hannity.  It’s not fair to compare Haynes’ edited interview with Belcher’s raw interview, because Haynes’ piece was edited for TV.  Haynes wasn’t exactly in the tank with Hannity.  But he was too easy on him, starting by asking Hannity a softball question about his rise as a radio star in Atlanta.  And he allowed Hannity to say, without challenge, that Rush Limbaugh “never said that” he wanted the Obama presidency to fail.    Unlike Belcher, Hannity apparently outmaneuvered Haynes.  Grade:  C-