A television thought for today:
"The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing."
That's the sarcastic sentiment which H.L. Mencken once attributed to 17th century French statesman Jean Baptiste Colbert, but why is it as appropriate today as in the 1600s? Because local taxpayers are hissing.
Although it has not been a particularly arousing off-year election season in Maryland, WMAR-Channel 2 tonight taps an issue which seems to have transcended the general apathy: disenchantment with taxes.
"Town Meeting: The Tax Cap Issue," at 8 o'clock, takes an hour-long look at the proposed ballot issue seeking to establish a ceiling on the property tax rates in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties. Reporter Kim Skeen hosts the live broadcast, and a studio audience will question representatives involved in the issue.
Unhappiness over taxes, however, might be replaced in the minds of many Channel 2 viewers by distress over a missing "Matlock." The NBC series is pre-empted by tonight's news special, and it is a somewhat special show: the first of a two-parter that marks the 100th episode of the mystery series with Andy Griffith.
Channel 2 says tonight's "Matlock" will be taped and re-broadcast, but not until late Sunday, a half-hour past midnight. That's what VCRs are for, at least for viewers unable to tune in "Matlock" tonight from Washington's Channel 4.
TALKING TO PEOPLE -- Speaking of local TV news developments, have you noticed recent efforts at WBAL-Channel 11 to occasionally incorporate elements of two-way talk radio into the 5 p.m. portions of its daily newscast?
Most recently, Media Monitor recalls co-anchor Camilla Carr taking calls from viewers posing questions about an economic recession to studio guests. Just as in talk radio, more than once she turned to a caller who was no longer there. But the segment offered lengthier consideration of a single issue than is common at that time period.