Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Sex and the City, Batavia Style
How did local news handle “Sex and the City, Batavia style?”
Of course, I’m talking about the case in which city police said a 41-year-old married Batavia woman was found by a police officer having sex on a park picnic table with a 29-year-old Oakfield man.
Suzanne M. Corona and Justin M. Amend were charged with a misdemeanor – public lewdness. She also was charged with adultery, a charge that occurs less often than New York State passes a budget on time.
The “Sex and the City” story certainly was much sexier than the budget crisis, giving the local TV stations a dilemma: Do we lead with a sex story or a money story? Do we lead with a sensational story or a more important story?
In the case of news leader Channel 4, sex won at 6 p.m. Monday. Reporter Luke Moretti’s story topped the newscast. At 11 p.m, Channel 7 was the only station that went for sex over money, leading with the sex story.
That lead to one of the more amusing recent transitions, with anchor Joanna Pasceri saying something like “now on to the state budget.”
She might as well has said “now on to more important but less sensational news.”
Channel 2 practically buried the sex story by local TV standards, making it the third story at 11 p.m. after the state budget crisis and the latest news involving Carl Paladino’s underdog attempt to become governor.
As far as importance, the sex story was vastly overplayed by local TV news. Take a look this morning at where it landed in The Buffalo News. It is down in the bottom of page B1 of the City & Region section and jumped to page B2.
That’s about right. Believe me, people will find it. And they also will find that it explains how rare the charge of adultery is in New York State. According to reporter Denise Jewell Gee, state records show it is the first time the charge has been leveled in four years and only the 12th time in 38 years.
Of course, the sex story easily will be the most talked about story at the water cooler this morning. Heck, it wouldn’t be surprising if it made Letterman or Leno’s monologue tonight.
* On CBS’ Sunday Morning, Chief White House correspondent Chip Reid speculated that President Obama’s slow response to the massive oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico could put a second term in jeopardy. Of course, Reid isn’t the only reporter doing that.
However, I’m guessing that Reid’s remark may be one reason that the President chose “Today” show co-host Matt Lauer on NBC this morning to play defense during an interview. To his credit, Lauer asked some tough questions and didn’t easily accept the President’s weak explanation of why he hasn’t spoken to Tony Hayward, the head of BP, directly. The President certainly spoke to him indirectly through Lauer, saying he would have fired Hayward for some remarks he has made during the crisis.
Lauer was much softer in the second half of the interview when he quizzed the President on the forced resignation of 89-year-old White House correspondent Helen Thomas over her remarks on Israel. Finally, Lauer threw a soft ball and asked the President about Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s decision not to award a perfect game to a Detroit Tigers pitcher, Armando Galarraga, who lost that achievement by a bad umpire call. For the record, the President said he thought Thomas made the right call to resign and Selig made the right call, too.
*I didn’t always tell Buffalo News readers when local residents appear on game shows because it happens so often and there are space considerations. But, hey, they and their family members are potential hits on my blog now. So here it goes. Michael Frank, a 44-year-old warehouseman and substitute teacher from North Tonawanda, appears on “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” on Thursday, June 17. He is a 1984 graduate of North Tonawanda High School. His wife Kelly sat in the audience during the show, which is shot in New York City. The show is carried locally at 1 p.m. weekdays on WNLO-TV.