Day in mayor's life shows Schmoke at his smoothest

April 18, 1991|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

Kurt L. Schmoke is one media-savvy mayor.

He has his regular radio shows on WBAL-AM and WJHU-FM and a monthly television show on WNUV (Channel 54). I can't remember him ever coming off poorly in a radio or television interview.

Schmoke turns the image-making up a notch tonight at 10:30 on Channel 54, with a special edition of "The Mayor's Show" titled "A Day in the Life of the Mayor."

The cameras pick Schmoke up at 7 a.m., as he gets in his car to go to City Hall, and they stay with him 14 hours, leaving him in his office burning the midnight oil.

It is a smooth half-hour of Schmoke looking so good, so concerned, so smart and so in control that it could be a political commercial crafted by an image consultant.

It is, for all practical purposes, just that. The program is co-produced by Channel 54 and the Mayor's Office of Cable Communication. You think the Mayor's Office of Cable Communication is going to let Schmoke look anything but great?

Let's be blunt: This is television used as a political tool. Schmoke says he does the weekly shows to make himself accessible to the public, to communicate with the citizens of Baltimore. Those shows surely have the potential for that.

But tonight's program does not have much to do with access. It has more to do with showcasing.

The use of TV as a political tool doesn't just happen in Washington with George Bush and Roger Ailes. It happens at the local level, too. It needs to be recognized.

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