The president is coming! The president is coming!
We heard it for hours before President Obama’s visit Thursday. Here’s what I noticed about local TV coverage of the event.
• New Channel 7 anchor Cole Heath seemed really interested in how Channel 7 anchor Keith Radford felt about doing his job. He first asked Radford about the security the media had to deal with before asking him to compare Obama’s trip with previous presidential trips here. Apparently sensing how little people care about the reporters’ discomfort, Radford smartly said security wasn’t bad at all.
He was more enlightening on the comparison question, saying President George W. Bush seemed more serious than Obama and that President Bill Clinton was in the middle. That’s one reason why it is good to have a news veteran around.
• Channel 2 and Channel 4 both put together panels of former local Democratic and Republican leaders, and they seemed to be in agreement that the president’s trip here was a success. Of course, former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Len Lenihan was the president’s biggest fan, saying the president hit “a home run.”
• Channel 4’s Diana Fairbanks anchored the station’s coverage, with Jacquie Walker on vacation, and did a strong job. Walker has been one of the station’s education experts and has two sons who have graduated college, so I’m betting she missed covering the big story.
• Channel 2’s Melissa Holmes also did a strong job anchoring her station’s coverage, but I had to laugh when she asked Maryalice Demler what she saw five minutes before the president arrived at Alumni Arena. “I see a lot of anticipation,” Demler said.
• Demler was the only one I saw bring up the president’s flub of making Rep. Brian Higgins the mayor of Buffalo before correcting himself and making a self-deprecating joke about his mistake. Demler asked Mayor Byron Brown about the presidential flub, and he took it well, adding he knows the president knows who the mayor is.
• The panel of experts on the stations couldn’t compete for analysis of the visit with the toddler who was asked by Channel 7’s Ed Reilly what he thought.
“It is so cool,” the kid said.
As if that analysis didn’t say it all, Reilly then asked a middle school girl what she thought.
“It was so cool to go back to school and tell my friends I got to see President Obama’s bus,” she said.
Not the president – the president’s bus.
After those interviews were played, Channel 7’s Heath said, “I think that little kid said it all. It was so cool.”
It sounded a lot cooler and a lot smarter coming from a toddler than from an anchor.