Share this article

print logo

Some 'Stranger Things' in the local media

With apologies to the Netflix series of the same name, call this my "Stranger Things" column.

I've witnessed and been a part of some strange happenings in the media over the last 10 days or so.

I watched a Channel 2 story on Friday which mentioned the veterans being taken care of at Beechwood Homes. Kathy Simme, the director of human resources for Beechwood, said the facility has a World War I veteran as a resident.

This led me to advise Channel 2 co-anchor Scott Levin that would make the veteran at least 115 years old. In other words, not very likely. Levin wrote back in a text that he and co-anchor Maryalice Demler thought the same thing when they heard the comment.

"We looked at each other in dismay!" he wrote. "Perhaps this person has found the fountain of youth. Now that's the Real Story."

I saw the brief happy talk after the interview and "dismay" was hardly the word I would have used. Levin and Demler appeared to accept the startling comment as fact, though they were amazed by it. And it would have been amazing since the last-known survivor of World War I reportedly died five years ago. I joked to Levin: "Is there a Civil War veteran there, too?"

Levin then made me laugh out loud in a humorous return text.

"I hear the food is very good at Beechwood," he wrote. "Perhaps the protein shakes are better than ever! I think Kathy meant to say 'we've had' (a WWI veteran), not 'we have?' "

Perhaps. After all, it is easy for anyone being interviewed to make a harmless misstatement in a quick sound bite.

I don't blame Simme. You would have hoped whoever did the interview for Channel 2 quickly would have done the math and realized she misspoke and allowed her to correct it.

"Live TV," wrote Levin. "It's all part of the good dance we call life!"

I make errors of omission, too. My review of local election night coverage led to a strange, public Twitter debate with Christopher Grant, a Republican consultant who is the former chief of staff for Rep. Chris Collins and now is his adviser.

I noted that Channel 2 didn't identify a woman named Andrea or Alan Bedenko, who were acting as election experts. I knew Bedenko as a prominent blogger but didn't know who Andrea was or the spelling of her last name.

Grant was not happy about that.

He wrote in a public Twitter message to me: "The “woman” Andrea on @WGRZ last night is @AndreaBozek. Former NRSC, NRCC Communications Director. Your employer has profiled her a few times. Not to mention national experience which puts us all to shame. GOOGLE IT."

WNY native Bozek key in GOP's fight to keep Senate control

Andrea Bozek, former communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, outside the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in 2015.

I tried, but it is hard to Google someone if you don't know how to spell their last name and Channel 2 never spelled it in a graphic.

But Grant buried the lead: Bozek is his wife, which I suggested might be pertinent. After all, he is a more well-known, prominent Republican around here.

"That's preposterous," he tweeted. "She's a superior national operative in her own right. You wouldn't ask a man who he's married to. And I have certainly never been asked who I'm married when I've appeared as an analyst. #doublestandard"

When I mentioned Democrat James Carville and Republican Mary Matalin often are identified as husband and wife when they are on TV, Grant became more outraged.

"Dear god, man," he wrote. "Quit digging. Do your homework. Your sexism and laziness is brutal here. They were explicit in who she is - who she's married to is irrelevant."

Actually, Channel 2 never mentioned who Bozek was. And whether who she is married to is relevant journalistically is debatable.

The final strange thing to happen is that Spectrum Cable did not air CTV's second airing of the film "Long Time Running" about the late Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip on Nov. 12.

The reason it didn't air is the same reason that the Oct. 20 airing of the film didn't run on Spectrum: A failure of CTV and Spectrum to communicate.

A CTV spokesman wrote: "I can confirm this was not blacked out by Bell Media and that the direction did not come from Bell Media. Suggest you check in with Spectrum."

So I did. A Spectrum spokesperson wrote: "We have a standing non-duplication for that time period and received no notice to alter it."

To borrow a word from Grant, that's preposterous.

This might sound like a strange suggestion to Spectrum. But with all the money people pay for its service, you would think that it could hire someone to look at the CTV schedule to see if it has changed and it doesn't need to cover certain time periods with paid programming.


There are no comments - be the first to comment