Tuesday, May 1

Mean is as Mean Does

I’ve talked here about mean bosses. I guess I forgot to mention me!

Honest to God, I’ve never considered myself mean. Often straightforward, sometimes blunt, always demanding, but never (at least to my way of thinking) mean-spirited.

There’s a story that refutes that claim. My-right-hand-on-the-Bible, I don’t remember this at all; but I’m told it’s true by an absolutely unimpeachable source: Jerry Giesler. Jerry was a reporter and anchor when I was news director for WEEK-TV in Peoria in the mid-70s. He’s since gone on to an excellent career in news and station management. Last I heard he was running a station in Ft. Wayne.

Jerry swears this story is true, and who am I to doubt him? But if called upon by a Congressional committee, my answers would all be along the lines of, “Senator, I don’t recall.” “Not that I’m aware of, Senator.” “It depends on your definition of ‘is,’ Senator.” Or maybe just a plain, “Who, me?”

And I don’t recall the circumstances: but apparently Jerry and his photographer had just made a major gaffe on a big story and were returning to the Channel 25 newsroom after having pretty badly screwed the pooch.

I’m told (“…by reliable sources, Senator”) that I reached them on the two-way radio and had a conversation that went something like this:

“I want you two to pull over to the side of the road.”


“Pull over to the side of the road.”

“Pull over to the side of the road??????????????”

“You heard me.”


“Don’t ask questions, just do it.”

“Uh, wait a second.”

“I don’t have a second. You need to pull over to the side and stop.”


“Are you stopped?”

“Yes. Why did you have us stop?”

“Because we have a company policy that only station employees can drive station vehicles.”

LLLoooooooonngg pause.

As I say, I have no recollection of any such incident, Senator. But if it did happen—and Jerry Giesler is an honorable man, who can doubt him?—it was kind of funny, wasn’t it? A little bit, maybe?