I really had to watch this video and read the story several times, that’s how amusing and pathetic I found it. Maryalice Demler has been a news anchor at WGRZ-TV in Buffalo NY for some time. As with any TV personality, she’s both respected and reviled depending on your side of the issue. However, there is no questioning her ability. Which is why this story just turned into a comedy of errors on both her part and that of the TV station management.
Being hammered by local and National critics is part of the game, and part of life, no matter whether it’s in your professional or personal life. And it makes no difference where it comes from, the only smart thing to do is let it go. Don’t respond. Let your work speak for itself. Demler was not only wrong on so many levels to fire back, but station management also erred in seeking to do little more than get involved in a childish spat they can’t win.
Also, as a veteran broadcast journalist, her use of the over worn and trite phrase “outside the box” was poor writing at best, overblown hyperbole at worst.
There is no doubt the critic gets the last laugh here. Demler comes off looking like an egomaniac, noting her two Emmy Awards and seeking to justify her position. Foolish and useless.
INTELLIGENCE: WHEN CRITICIZED IN A PUBLIC FORUM, REFUSE TO LASH OUT AND SEEK TO GET “YOUR SIDE” ON THE RECORD. YOU BECOME LITTLE MORE THAN AN EGOMANIAC SEEKING PUBLICITY AND ATTENTION. YOUR IMAGE THUS BECOMES ONE OF A SELF-SERVING APOLOGIST.
WGRZ anchor Maryalice Demler and Buffalo News television critic Alan Pergament are at odds over the on-air commentary segments Demler delivers on the Buffalo NBC affiliate.
Demler, who co-anchors WGRZ’s evening newscasts, did a commentary segment on Jason Collins being the first openly gay NBA player last week. In a blog post, Pergament called Demler’s commentary “obvious and unnecessary,” saying the anchor should “stick to reading and reporting the news and stay away from commentaries that don’t say much.”
Here’s an excerpt from Pergament’s column at “The Buffalo News” which is no longer available via the newspaper website.
Demler’s Two Cents: Those three words make me cringe, and readers tell me I am not alone. For some reason, Channel 2 anchor Maryalice Demler feels the need to deliver occasional commentaries rather than just read and report the news.
This past week, she gave her take on the decision of National Basketball Association player Jason Collins to become the first professional athlete in the four major team sports to come out as a gay man. Demler’s heart was in the right place. But she delivered a painfully obvious and unnecessary commentary of support that ignored the fact that Collins initially was getting overwhelming support. Some so-called “experts” predicted some sort of eventual backlash, but it hasn’t happened at this writing. Someone at Channel 2 should tell Demler if she doesn’t have anything but platitudes to say, there is no need to say anything. We all know that we should be decent human beings. We don’t need a TV news reader to remind us. Besides, an anchor’s job is to report or read the news, not give opinions about it.
I wasn’t sure if Demler was advised by a consultant to do commentaries or if they illustrated her misguided self-importance, so I asked General Manager Jim Toellner. He said Channel 2 doesn’t use consultants.
“We do know, however, through regular viewer research that opinion and debate is something viewers like and would like more of in local news,” wrote Toellner. “That is why we started the ‘2 Sides’ show and regularly bring in experts on opposing sides of topics for debate within our shows. We have also made it known to our anchors that the opportunity for them to opine is there when they feel so inclined. Maryalice’s occasional commentaries have had strong and overwhelmingly positive response.”
It is a good idea for Channel 2 to bring in outside so-called experts to debate issues. But having a news anchor deliver commentaries that say next to nothing is a bad idea even if some viewers seem to like being preached at. Who would debate Demler’s stance that we need to be good and accepting human beings? I suppose it could be worse – Demler’s co-anchor, Scott Levin, could feel the need to add his two cents occasionally.
In her commentary this week, Demler delivered a lengthy response to Pergament’s criticism, saying the segments are the sign of an evolved newsroom. “What you see before you is a 21st century news anchor,” Demler said. “My job — like our newsroom — has evolved over the past 30 years.” Watch:
In a column published Wednesday, Pergament called Demler’s response a “unnecessary, inappropriate, hilarious waste of news time,” saying he hasn’t “laughed out loud so much about local TV news since watching ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.’”
Demler’s latest commentary was an astonishing display of ego and self-importance, even by the standard of news anchors. I was almost waiting for her to claim that she was a woman who invented the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower instead of Burgundy.