I have solved the TMJ4 Brookfield Perkins "Dirty Dining" mystery that I've been writing about since December 2008. My TV viewing and radio listening habits kept me from finding out the truth sooner.
The "NEWS" on TMJ4 can be bought.
Last night, I was watching the 10:00 PM news on TMJ4.
As usual, Thursday means Courtny Gerrish targets a restaurant for her "Dirty Dining" feature.
As usual, it was another small ethnic place. This time it was Indian Rasoi, 1692 N. Van Buren St. on Milwaukee's east side.
After detailing the restaurant's gross health code violations, Gerrish reported on Fong's Garden. On February 19, 2009, she targeted the Oconomowoc restaurant. The usual sorts of problems were cited. In the case of Fong's Garden, however, the community rallied to support the establishment.
Gerrish gave an update:
Fong's in Oconomowoc has cleaned up its violations and received a great follow up review from health inspectors. Following our report, the community rallied around Fong's, even starting a facebook page to support their local restaurant. The owner tells us he's determined to keep his restaurant safe to serve all those customers.
Now, on to the Brookfield Perkins matter--
Here's where it gets interesting.
After the "Dirty Dining" segment, John Malan did the weather.
Blah, blah, blah. I'm not really paying attention.
Then comes some commercials.
Among them: Two Perkins commercials.
Yes, PERKINS IS A SPONSOR of the TMJ4 newscast.
I'm not sure of the exact airing time of the first commercial, but the second commercial ran at 10:24 PM.
Is this why the December 11, 2008, TMJ4 "Dirty Dining" report on the Brookfield Perkins, 585 N. Barker Rd., was removed from the "Dirty Dining" web page?
Is the fact that Perkins is a TMJ4 sponsor the reason that the TMJ4 website was thoroughly scrubbed of all traces of the "Dirty Dining" Perkins story?
I think it's certainly a very, very strong possibility.
Surely, Journal Broadcast Group sponsor Perkins would threaten to pull its ads if TMJ4 kept a story on its website that would steer customers away from the restaurant.
It all makes sense. It took me forever to notice that Perkins was a sponsor because I zone out during commercials. I usually mute the TV during commercial breaks.
So this is why TMJ4 gave Perkins the preferential treatment.
It's possible that Brenda Serio didn't know about the Perkins account when she sent me this e-mail about the Perkins story being removed from the "Dirty Dining" web page:
from: Brenda Serio <firstname.lastname@example.org>
to: Mary <email@example.com>
date: Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 4:57 PM
subject: RE: Dirty Dining
The news assignment desk is working on putting it back on the dirty dining web site. They weren’t aware that is had been taken off. Thank you.
It's also possible that she was just flat-out lying at the time. I hope that's not the case. I hope she discovered later the reason that the Perkins story was removed and would not be returned to the page.
The fact that Perkins is a sponsor would explain why the follow-up e-mail I sent to Serio was ignored.
It would explain why e-mail messages to Courtny Gerrish and Steve Wexler, Executive Vice President for Television and Radio Operations, Vice President & General Manager, WTMJ-TV, went unanswered.
It's all about money. Perkins is a sponsor so TMJ4 and Journal Broadcast Group personnel completely clammed up when questioned about the inexplicable disappearance of the "Dirty Dining" Brookfield Perkins story.
This is a blatant violation of the station's journalistic integrity. Rather than keep the "NEWS" story on its website, TMJ4 caved.
It's a sort of pay-to-play. It's definitely a CORRUPTION of the NEWS.
What a racket!
This also explains why the "Dirty Dining" segments nearly always hit small operations. They, of course, aren't going to be buying any advertising time on TMJ4. They're safe to hammer.
Here's the truth: Advertise on WTMJ TV or radio and you won't have to worry about being the subject of one of Gerrish's "Dirty Dining" reports.
"Dirty Dining" really is dirty. CORRUPT.