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Alan Pergament: Let's discuss some recent media controversies

This is what I'm thinking:

Some readers were stunned last week by the ballpark figure of salaries that reporters receive in Western New York that I revealed based on information from sources.

The readers were stunned by how low the salaries were.

According to a couple people in local TV, my sources were a little generous in saying reporters with less than three years of experience are likely to earn between $38,000 and $40,000 here.

The local TV members said reporters can start in the low-to-mid-30s here and are unlikely to get annual increases high enough over five years to reach $60,000, as I was told.

They didn't disagree with the premise: You don't get rich being on TV.

Tim Wenger, the operations manager and program director for WBEN-AM and other Entercom stations here, weighed in on this week's media controversy involving Fox News host Sean Hannity, after Hannity was identified as the mysterious third client of Michael Cohen, the lawyer for President Trump under federal investigation. Hannity also has a syndicated radio show on WBEN.

Fox News decided against punishing Hannity for failing to disclose his relationship with Cohen.

The Hannity disclosure led to the revival of a "60 Minutes" clip a year ago in which legendary newsman Ted Koppel told Hannity that he is "bad for America." Koppel was just answering a question proposed by Hannity: “Do you think we’re bad for America? You think I’m bad for America?”

“Yeah,” Koppel replied. “You have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts.”

I used to refer to meteorologist Don Paul as "Pope Don Paul" when he was at Channel 4 because I felt he considered himself the lone authority on weather. Paul, who now works at Channel 7, also writes digital content for The News, which means we are colleagues.

It doesn't mean we agree on the performance of TV weathermen.

Last weekend, Paul gave himself a new nickname, "Mr. Happy," and claimed to be "the guy you would like to get your hands on. Some rational people are ticked off."

It wasn't clear if Paul was addressing the awful April weather that has postponed spring, or his forecast of last weekend's ice event.

In any event, "Mr. Happy" wasn't happy with my critique of the weather coverage even though the headline was "Severe weather warnings: Understandable, but costly for businesses."

My column acknowledged meteorology is an inexact science, added my sympathy for those who practice it locally and concluded "weathercasters are in a difficult position when forecasting what look to be dangerous situations. They have to warn people that things can be bad. But those warnings can be so scary that they can have devastating impact on businesses and events."

Paul called my column predictable on Facebook. So were his complaints. It is another reason why I nicknamed him Pope Don Paul. I'm sure he has names for me, too.

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