Someone wants to kill Richard Belcher.
Ok, that’s not exactly a new story. Somebody or another always wants to kill Richard Belcher.
Since he is actually a very nice guy (especially for an investigative reporter), I suppose this just confirms the fact that the man is very good at what he does. Trust me, if you are ever getting out of your car, and you look up and see Richard Belcher walking toward you with some documents in his hand and a videographer already rolling tape, it is a safe bet that life as you know it is about to come to an end — or at the very least change forever.
(First, a disclaimer. I am friends with Richard and for many years worked with him at WSB-TV Action News, a station I still love, respect and occasionally even ask for a favor. So, take me at my word when I compliment both his investigative prowess and the station’s shrewd marketing.)
At any rate, the target of Belcher’s latest investigation is this truly fabulous old geezer:
WSB-TV Action News aired this absolutely spellbinding promo for Belcher’s investigation as often as possible, and, over and over, the man reaches for Belcher’s throat and snarls, “You better (bleep) watch it, man. I can break your neck!”
It is brilliant. Truly.
No lie, I could watch this clip 100 more times. It’s just that entertaining.
But do I care about the particulars of Belcher’s investiation? Does it really matter to me what those documents prove about this small town public official and why he’s so darn upset?
I mean, he’s the city manager (or something like that) in Braswell — wherever that is. At first, I thought it was Braselton, the town Kim Basinger famously bought and later sold, but I was wrong — as is so often the case.
So, unless you happen to be one of that town’s 14 or 15 residents, or unless it turns out the mean old fool is actually D.B. Cooper and he’s been hiding in rural Georgia all these years, chances are excellent that your life is not going to be affected no matter what wrongdoing Belcher has uncovered. (From the looks of it, I’d guess something to do with meth, but I’d probably be wrong again.)
Thus, the caption under this promo on the WSB website says, “SNEAK PEEK: Man Threatens WSB-TV Reporter.”
The actual investigative story — whatever it might be — is completely overshadowed by the fact that the camera was rolling when this clone of Walter Brennan became agitated enough by the impending destruction of his career to go crazy in the street. (Does Braswell have more than one street? Not sure.)
As all of you in the business already are aware, this is what is referred to in newsrooms as “Good TV.”
The phrase is a bit of a misnomer, obviously. It is “good” not because it contributes to the betterment of mankind or anything like that, but because people will want to watch it.
In seeming recognition of that fact, the WSB website goes a step farther than ever before — posting a full minute and a half of unedited videotape from the incident. (You’ll find it if you scroll down on the same page as the promo above.) Why bother watching the news story itself, when you can see the entire hilarious confrontation like a clip from “America’s Funniest Home Videos?”
The caption says, “RAW VIDEO: City Manager Threatens Richard Belcher.”
And, yes. Yes, he does just that. The city manager of Bumblewherever threatens Richard at length.
(If for some unimaginable reason you still want to see Belcher’s investigative report and bore yourself with the evidence he’s expertly uncovered of some kind of wrongdoing, you’ll find it on the site, too. The caption reads, “Tiny Community Embroiled in Big Dispute Over Taxpayer Money.” The introductory graphic, however, just says, “Outraged Official.”)
I really don’t want or need to watch it, though. Belcher’s reputation is impeccable. I trust that that he got the goods (whatever they may be) and this raving coot is the local scumbag, or a reasonable facimilie thereof.
The particulars just don’t matter.
And so, viewers are saved the trouble of wasting time watching an actual news story, thanks to wsbtv.com and the “Good Parts” version. Once again, Action News has beaten the competition by pioneering a new frontier.
— CB Hackworth